A dear friend, the owner and operator of Strictly Manners, introduced me to George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation: a Book of Etiquette. As you read through the 110 rules, many still hold true today even though they were written sometime before George Washington was even 16 years of age. You probably have heard many of them before from your parents.
When it comes to dining, here are some things to consider the next time you are among friends (original spelling left unchanged):
• If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.
• It’s unbecoming to Stoop much to ones Meat Keep your Fingers clean & when foul wipe them on a Corner of your Table Napkin.
• Put not another bit into your Mouth til the former be Swallowed let not your Morsels be too big for the Gowls.
• Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips breath not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for its uncivil.
• Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if Others do it let it be done wt. a Pick Tooth.
• Rince not your Mouth in the Presence of Others.
• In Company of your Betters be not longer in eating than they are lay not your Arm but only your hand upon the table.
• It belongs to the Chiefest in Company to unfold his Napkin and fall to Meat first, But he ought then to Begin in time & to Dispatch with Dexterity that the Slowest may have time allowed him.
• If others talk at Table be attentive but talk not with Meat in your Mouth.
• Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.