"Never allow butter, soup or other food to remain on your whiskers. Use the napkin frequently."
"Never hesitate to take the last piece of bread or the last cake; there are probably more."
‘Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms: Etiquette of the Table’ (1880)
"Do not stuff too large mouthfuls in both cheeks. Do not keep your hand to long in the platter and put it in only when the other has withdrawn his hand from the dish."
‘The Fifty Courtesies of the Table’ (1480, Italy)
“The ultimate aim of civility and good manners is to please: to please one's guest or to please one's host. To this end one uses the rules laid down by tradition: of welcome, generosity, affability, cheerfulness and consideration for others. People entertain warmly and joyously. To persuade a friend to stay for lunch is a triumph and a precious honour. To entertain many together is to honor them all mutually. It is equally an honour to be a guest.”
Claudia Roden, food writer.
'A Book of Middle Eastern Food' (1968)
“Be careful not to be the first to put your hands in the dish. What you cannot hold in your hands you must put on your plate. Also it is a great breach of etiquette when your fingers are dirty and greasy, to bring them to your mouth in order to lick them, or to clean them on your jacket. It would be more decent to use the tablecloth.”
Dutch priest and scholar (1466?-1536).
'Treatise on manners' (1530)
“Being set at the table, scratch not thyself, and take thou heed as much as thou canst not to spit, cough and blow at thy nose; but if it be needful, do it dexterously, without much noise, turning thy face sidelong.”
Francis Hawkins, ‘Youth's Behaviour’ (1663)
“Be not angry or sour at table; whatever may happen put on the cheerful mien, for good humor makes one dish a feast.”
From a Shaker manual, 'Gentle Manners'
“On the Continent people have good food; in England people have good table manners.”
George Mikes, British author
‘How to be an Alien’ (1946)
“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.”
John Erskine, 'The Complete Life'
“The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.”
Judith Martin (Miss Manners)
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