Everything these days is a rush. We take our coffees in our travel mugs and get out the door while we check our email. Lunches are quick in a take out bag with a napkin – rarely a knife and fork. And we do lunch while we take our next call. Then comes dinner – another quick ordeal – and sending one last message. So, it is no wonder when I go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and look around, that I’m not surprised to see that all the table manners that have gone missing.
The art of conversation at the table has been replaced with devices, fast eating and no time to have a conversation. As I look at the various tables, I can still hear my mother saying to me:
“Take your elbows off the table. Chew with your mouth closed. Use your knife and your fork to eat your food. Please look at me when you’re talking.”
I guess nobody says those things anymore (or remembers to do them). Instead, today, smartphones have become an additional “utensil” that is sitting on the table. They use the devices to take pictures of food and decor. People have forgotten that they are sitting down for a meal and are able to have a conversation with the person(s) sitting across from them.
The art of conversation, table manners and the ability to understand a proper table setting seems to be lost. So many people are unfamiliar (sadly) with all the different knives, forks and spoons, cups and glasses that are put on the table to make the meal so much more enjoyable. They know exactly what the apps on the devices are for, but no clue as to all of the ‘applications’ of a spoon or a fork. I have heard it said so many times, “setting a fancy table is so old fashioned” – why bother?
I guess I must be a little old fashioned as I still love to set a proper table when hosting a dinner party. And it isn’t as hard as everyone thinks. The Emily Post Institute even gives a step by step tutorial on how it all can be done.
For your next dinner event that you host, bring back the art of manners. Plan your big event in your small space. Set up table talk topics, dress up your table and impress your guests with a formal table setting.