Is it acceptable table manners to keep the hand you are not eating with on the table to the side of your plate or rest your wrist on the edge of the dining table?
Table manners for knowing how to drink soup at a dinner table is a wonderful way to illustrate the dos and don’ts of what to do with your idle hands during a meal.
Never leave your hand idle on the dining table. Always rest the hand you are not using on your lap out of sight.
Whether one is using both hands or one depends on the size and/or shape of the vessel in which the soup is being served.
For instance a cup of soup on a saucer can slip or slide, so you would stabilize the cup with your idle hand. Gently hold the handle when the soup cup has handles, while utilizing a smallish round soup spoon (no larger than two and three-quarters in diameter).
When soup is presented in a soup plate, you would keep the hand you are not using in your lap until you’re two-thirds finished spooning out the soup with a medium size oval shaped spoon (with a bowl at least two and two-thirds inches long).
Tipping the long side of the spoon closest to you sideways gently pour the soup into your mouth. Think of a capsizing canoe. Only at that point, does the idle hand in your lap appear on the table to hold the side of the soup plate as you gently tip the rim of the soup plate closest to you away from you while spooning out the remains of the soup.
Never lean into the soup cup or soup plate. Always lift the spoon up to your mouth. Your erect body core supports this and neither the hand nor the wrist on the table is used for core support.
Never leave an idle hand on the table because it is apt to fidget. A fidgeter distracts the conversation. You can always tell a person with good manners by where their hands are at all times.
Good table manners are largely about good posture. Having both hands forward in front of you the spine bends towards the soup.
Good tables manners are also about eating quietly taking care not to make motions or noises that distract the conversation. One’s fingers are more apt to fidget and tap or tear at the napkin when the hands are on the table.
Now, when courses are no longer being served and most of the flatware, china, and glasses have been removed from the table, all but the coffee or demitasse cups, the setting becomes more relaxed and first the hands, followed by the arms and then the elbows appear on the table as the conversationalists lean in to catch every word that is being said.
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