Table Manners RSS

Table Manner Tips That Would Make Mom Proud

No, we’re not in the buttoned-up 1950s, and you might not eat many dinners where there’s a question of which fork to use. Considering how many of us eat at

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The End of Table Manners

I’m sad to say that this will be my last Table Manners column, since I am leaving to pursue another project. Plus, as the mom of a one-year-old, I am

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How to Charm Your Sushi Chef

Dear Helena, I am on a quest to find great sushi, but I have found dining at a sushi bar to be frustrating. I am bothered by this nagging sense

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Loud Music in Restaurants

Dear Helena, I was at a restaurant the other night and asked the server to turn the music down. She seemed irritated. She launched into a long speech about how

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Passover Etiquette Dilemmas

Dear Helena, Last year some friends invited me to what was billed as a “casual Seder.” This turned out to mean over four hours of religious readings and questions, and

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Are Manners Getting Worse?

Dear Helena, I don’t want to sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but I feel like things just aren’t what they used to be. People are getting ruder and have less

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No Drinks = Bad Service

Dear Helena, Last Saturday I went to a new pizza place and it was packed. The waiter asked if we wanted drinks and we said, “No, just tap water.” When

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The Real Aphrodisiacs for Valentine’s Day

Dear Helena, I’m making dinner for my girlfriend this Valentine’s Day. I want to make something that will be delicious, but will also create the right romantic atmosphere. What do

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When Should Bartenders Cut You Off?

Dear Helena, The other night I was sitting at a bar having a glass of wine and catching up with my girlfriend, and this guy leaned over to listen to

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Faux Pas: The Chef Was Texting

Dear Helena, The other day I went to a restaurant with an open kitchen. I was psyched because I got what I consider to be prime seating, at the counter

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Servers: Eat in Secrecy, Please

Dear Helena, Restaurant work is not exactly my vocation (I am a nursing student), but I’ve been a server for a few years and think of myself as fairly professional.

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Servers Drinking on the Job

Dear Helena, An online review of the restaurant where I work complained about “smelling alcohol on the server’s breath.” The review mentioned a distinctive feature of mine (my neck tattoo),

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Don’t Be a Diet Bore

Dear Helena, I’ve resolved to drop 25 pounds in 2012 by strictly limiting portion sizes and cutting out refined carbs, red meat, and sugar. The other day I went to

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Dealing with Food Hoarders

Dear Helena, Every time I go home to my parents’ house, the state of their kitchen drives me nuts. They are crazy food hoarders. They often have moldy bread, packets

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Home Tours: Tacky?

Dear Helena, I recently attended a party where the first thing the hosts did was offer a tour of their palatial pad. My husband and I live in a modest

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The Hazards of Sharing Small Plates

Dear Helena, The other night I went out to a restaurant with a couple of friends and ordered a bunch of small plates. All the plates were beautifully composed with

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Holiday Party Dress Codes

Dear Helena, Every December, I throw a fabulous holiday party. And I mean fabulous. I have an eight-foot tree. I make three kinds of cheese balls, and I decorate the

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How to Circulate at Holiday Parties

Dear Helena, Last year I went to a friend’s annual holiday party and spent the evening standing in the corner of the kitchen, chatting and joking with the two people

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Is “Foodie” a Put-Down?

Dear Helena, I work in food media, and knowing my job, people often ask me, “Oh, are you a foodie?” I am not sure what they mean by this. Sometimes

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Who Should Pay for the Office Holiday Party?

Dear Helena, My office has a holiday party every year, with an open bar. This is funded by a collection beforehand, to which everyone contributes based on his pay grade.

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Phone Etiquette at the Table: The Rules Have Changed

Dear Helena, My brother has accused me of always being “glued to my phone.” He claims that I had the phone on the table at Thanksgiving dinner last year, which

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