Erm, what do I do with my napkin?

16 Dec

We’ve all been there. Don’t pretend there wasn’t a time when you were silently fretting about what you’re supposed to do with your napkin.

Do you put it on your lap straight away or when the food comes? What happens if you need to leave the table? When do I remove it? Here is everything you need to know about how to deal with those pesky napkins.

Q: What do I do with my napkin?
A: As soon as everyone is seated, unfold your napkin and place it across your lap, folded, with the fold toward you. Do this discreetly without flourish. If you need to leave the table, place your napkin on your chair, folded loosely (NEVER wadded). Only after the meal is over should you place your napkin on the table to the left side of your plate (NEVER on your plate!).

Q: How do you wipe your mouth with the napkin? Is it considered poor etiquette to wipe one’s mouth with the napkin?
A: It is considered poor etiquette NOT to use your napkin. The purpose of the napkins is to keep food off your face. Use it frequently to discreetly dab or wipe (no ear to ear swiping, please) your mouth. Replace the napkin on your lap loosely folded, not wadded and not stuffed between your legs.

Q: What do you do if you drop your napkin on the floor?
A: If your napkin falls on the floor and it is within easy reach, retrieve it. If you are unable to retrieve the napkin without drawing attention to yourself, ask the server for another one.

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Posted by on December 16, 2006 in Dining Etiquette


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