Basic Dining Etiquette – The Soup Course

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 110,512
    Nancy Mitchell of The Etiquette Advocate demonstrates how to eat soup properly.

    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. Well talk now about the soup course and how to eat soup. Soup can be served in a number of ways, what we are starting to show you right now is soup served in a soup plate. Its a very shallow bowl and it will be placed on top of a charger or a service plate, which was already at your plate setting. Think about your soup bowl as the face of the clock and you are going to be dipping soup from 12 oclock on the face of that clock. The outermost spoon is going to be your soup spoon and as you see its a utensil with a larger bowl, youll know its the soup spoon because its to the far right side. Remember anything above your place setting is for desert, so you are not inclined to pick up that desert spoon thinking that might be the first course. Soup spoon on the outside on the right, I am going to dip soup from 12 oclock in my plate, I will take the soup spoon across the edge of the plate, get any spills off the bottom of the soup spoon and then the soup comes up to me. I am going to drink this soup from the edge of the spoon that faces me, not from the point of the spoon. So, again dip at 12 oclock, get spills off the bottom of the spoon by dragging it across the rim of the bowl, bring it to your mouth, sip it from the edge. Between bites when you are using a soup plate, you may leave your soup spoon in the soup plate, because its shallow. Its not going to cause any spills or any problems.

    Now, I would like to say make sure you have positioned yourself at the tables, so that you will be successful with eating soup or any meal if you will. Use about two widths of your hand if you will to measure between the edge of the table and your stomach. Thats about the distance that you want to be when you are seated at the table so that, that food is not traveling so far from a plate to your mouth. Eating soup is as I mentioned, the soup coming to you not you going down to the soup. You want to maintain fairly straight spine, you can lean over slightly, you are not going to hunch over, you are not going to rest your arms on the table and shovel the soup into your mouth. Sit up straight, one small bite at a time, dont fill the soup spoon, so that you are going to have trouble drinking all of that soup or that it is going to spill while you are doing so. Bring it to your mouth sip it from that side, that faces you. Take a drink leave your spoon in their, you are finished the spoon stays in the soup plate.

    The soup may be served in a soup cup or soup bowl, and if thats the case its going to arrive on a liner. After youve had some of the soup eating that in the same way from the bowl or the cup, always place your soup spoon on the liner, the saucer thats come with that. Smaller bowls, you dont leave the soup spoon in the smaller bowl in that manner, either between bites or when you are finished, always placed on the liner. Next we are going to be talking about the salad course.