Three Things Every Diner Should Know Before Sitting Down to a Fancy Feast

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Proper posture. Napkin folding. Chewing with your mouth closed.

The rules of dinner table etiquette can be a burden to remember. Really, they’re not so much rules as “rules” — social constructs shaped over many years of practice designed to elicit a very proper way to conduct a dinner ceremony. That might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not. Proper dinners truly are ceremonial. Why else would we go through the trouble of using multiple utensils when one knife and one fork would do?

Say you’re out shopping for a contemporary dining room set for sale. What are you looking for? You probably have an entire cabinet full of priceless heirloom china just waiting to be broken out during the fanciest of occasions in your dining room. But you keep shopping because you like to experiment with your home furniture designs. You like the idea of long beautiful brown tables and vintage chairs that might as well double as museum artifacts.

We, as a people, love ceremony. That’s why it’s important to understand the “rules” of proper dinner engagements. They just might help you decide on which dining room table set is best. For example…

Working your way in.

Salad forks go on the outside of the dinner forks. Soup spoons lie to the right of dessert and coffee spoons. It’s all about working your way into the cutlery, and from the fanciest restaurants on New York’s Upper East Side to the tiniest greasy corner diners in Smalltown, U.S.A., you can count on the silverware layout to be the same. Remember that common sense actually goes a long way when it comes to dining out — or when it comes to planning and executing your own dinner party with a formal dining room set.

Sticking to real, not digital, conversation.

The next time you’re perusing the local department store for a brand new dining room set for sale, keep in mind that the focal point of your meal (besides the food) should always be the conversation. That means the real words that are happening all around you, not the blue text bubbles on the tiny screen in your hands. Do yourself a favor and pause a moment before you begin passing the plates and remind everyone how rude it is to text at the dinner table. Then, everyone should turn off their phones and be on their merry meal way.

Wining and dining.

A juicy rare steak isn’t quite as flavorful without a dark glass of red wine to accompany it. But like the ancients believed, everything in moderation — and that goes double for dinner parties. A glass of wine before dinner isn’t a bad move, but half a glass is better. There’s always room at the end of the meal for some extra booze, especially sweet white wines served chilled alongside sorbet or some specialty pastry.

Additional etiquette pointers or shopping tips for folks out looking for a new dining room set for sale? Talk about them in the comments section below! See this reference for more.

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