Basic Dining Etiquette – The Salad Course

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 100,296
    Nancy Mitchell of The Etiquette Advocate shows how to eat a salad.

    Nancy Mitchell

    Nancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).

    Nancy Mitchell: Hello, I am Nancy Mitchell with the Etiquette Advocate and we are talking about dining etiquette. We are going to talk now about the salad course and how to eat salad.

    Normally in the United States salad will come between the appetizer and before the main course. If you are traveling in Europe or other foreign countries, the salad course may follow the main course. Today we are placing it before the main course. Your silverware is set in that fashion, youll see that your salad fork is to the outside now, you have lost some of the silverware as we have progress through the courses. You will pick up the fork thats on the outside, slightly smaller than the entree fork. You will pick up the knife thats on the outside. Those are going to be your utensils for the salad course.

    With salad you have the option of eating it with fork alone or knife and fork. If you chose to eat salad with fork only you can use the side of the fork to cut different bits of the salad and put them into your mouth, whether you are left handed or right handed. If you choose to use the salad fork and the knife, then you will have that choice of American style of dining or European style of dining, with how you use the utensils. If we are using American style, we will cut one bite of the salad, we will place the knife to the top of our plate. We will switch the fork to our right hand and we will eat the bite that we have just cut and time after time we are going to do that as we cut and eat each bite. If we have chosen to eat in the European fashion, we are going to make that first cut, we are going to use our knife to push other bits of lettuce or cucumber or carrot in this case to make a nice little bite on the end of this fork, keep our elbows closed, rest our wrists on the edge of the table, pivot this hand bring the food to your mouth with the fork not switching the knife and fork from hand to hand. This is called the European style.

    We can do this make several cuts, chew, may be talk to the neighbor at the table, make another cut, another bite, then when we are going to have to rest, we talk about the Silence Service Code, European fashion, our utensils will be crisscross in this manner, we take a drink of our wine, a sip of our water, bite of our bread, we go back to eating.

    When we are completely finished, if we have been eating American fashion, we will get as close to the 10-20 position on the face of our clock, if you will. We will line these things are parallel, we will have the tines of the fork up for American style of dining, we will have the tines of the fork down, if we have been eating European fashion.

    Think of the face of your plate as the face of the clock. Again this is 10 oclock, this is 20 past the hour, thats how you are going to line up your utensils for the salad. If you have finished your salad course and lets say you have only eaten it with a fork, but you are given a knife for salad at that point you need to put your knife on your plate, say I am finished in this completed fashion, waiter will come and take your salad plate and utensils away. So, even if you havent used that salad knife at this point you need to put that on the salad plate and have it cleared away. Next we are going to be talking about the main course.