Need to brush up on your table manners? These students will guide you

A group of student members of the King’s Young Leaders Group at St Margaret College Secondary School Verdala, Cospicua, recently learnt about good table manners
Senior school teacher Martin Azzopardi, SDC, founder of the King’s Young Leaders Group, teaching students about good table manners.

Good manners and etiquette, especially good table manners, are an important part of everyday life.

The following table manners are worth considering each time we assemble for meals at home or outdoors:

1. Come to the table with clean hands. A person should always wash up his hands before dinner time not only for personal hygiene purposes, but also to show respect to others around the same table.

2. Follow the formal setting of the table. Bread and milk always go on the left and water on the right, whereas the fork goes on the left and the knife goes on the right.

3. Watch the host to see when you should unfold your napkin. If the person hosting you puts his napkin on his lap, you can put your napkin on yours.

4. Before starting to eat, wait until everyone is served. A person should never start eating until everyone is seated and served.

5. Never chew with your mouth open. While eating, chew food with your mouth closed and don’t talk to others with your mouth full.

6. Never stuff your mouth. When eating we should learn to take small bites and never stuff your mouth with food.

7. Do not interrupt when someone else is talking. A person should learn to wait for their turn to speak when others around the table are talking.

8. Never reach to get something. If a person at a table needs to get salt or bread or anything else placed on the table away from them, they should adopt the habit of asking table mates to pass things to them.

9. Put the napkin on the chair and not on the table. If someone needs to use the bathroom, they should excuse themselves for leaving the table for a while and always put their napkin on the chair and not on the table.

10. Always push the chair in when finished eating. One should always push their chair back against the table when leaving the table or finishing a meal.

When it comes to tea etiquette, we normally follow the British way in Malta. Photo: Shutterstock.com

When it comes to tea etiquette, we normally follow the British way in Malta, which implies the following good manners:

a. If sitting at a table, the proper manner to drink tea is to raise the teacup, leaving the saucer on the table, and to place the cup back on the saucer between sips.

b. It is correct to pour each cup of tea one by one − always use a cup and never a mug, in this context − and pass each cup to the recipient before pouring the next. Never pour lots and then hand them out.

c. Milk and sugar are passed round and everyone adds their own; it is essential to remember that milk is added after the tea has been poured, never before. Milk is added to black tea, such as Assam, but Lapsang tea is usually enjoyed with a slice of lemon. Sugar is added last, after the milk, and the tea is stirred by moving the teaspoon back and forth in an up-and-down motion. The teaspoon is placed lengthways along the back of the saucer.

d. Sit up straight and spread out the napkin on your lap. Hold the cup by the handle and bring it up to your mouth − avoid leaning forward to drink. Never cradle the cup in your hands and avoid raising your little finger. Take small sips and don’t slurp, and/or blow on hot tea to cool it. The cup is put down on the saucer in between sips.

During this interesting practical lesson, students were asked to watch the following documentary about basic dining etiquette at home.

Senior teacher Martin Azzopardi said: “Insisting on good etiquette at the dinner table means that a person becomes a pleasant dinner companion for the whole family and friends during meals. When you teach a person good table manners, you are giving him important tools for social interaction that will serve him for the rest of his life. Good table manners, like good manners in general, will be appreciated by people who come into contact with you.”

This article was written by  St Margaret College Secondary School Verdala Form 3/4 (Year 9/10) studentsIsaac Mifsud, Mark Musienko and Ethan Schembri with the help of their Senior School teacher Martin Azzopardi, SDC.

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