In honor of George Washington’s birthday next week, we have many things for which to thank him. We all know that he was known as the “father of his country.” History buffs certainly know of all of his accomplishments, but rarely do people know that he created courtesy books that became published etiquette rules in the United States.
George was home-schooled by his father and elder brother, and in 1746, at the age of 14, young George developed 110 rules of civility that were later published as “George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”
He was diligent in his practice of social skills, the treatment of others and practice of self-control. Here are a few notable “rules” that you may find interesting;
Rule 1. “Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.”
Rule 5. “If you cough, sneeze, sigh or yawn, do it not loud but privately; and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.”
Rule 6. “Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not when others stop.”
Rule 97. “Put not another bite into your mouth till the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big.”
Even though our word choice is no longer the same, 264 years later, these rules of civility and behavior remain just as important today.
It is not a surprise that when Washington died in 1799, Henry Lee gave the funeral oration and stated, “He was first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Last, but not least, during his presidency, when more majestic names were suggested, Washington chose to be called “Mr. President” and today this is the official title given to the president of the United States while in his or her presence.
Happy birthday, Mr. President.Best regards,
“Anyone can eat, but we go out to dine.” Robert Wallace, Maitre d’, Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club.
Are you dining out for Valentine’s Day? The restaurants will be busy so make your dining experience more enjoyable by brushing up on some table manners. I visited with Robert Wallace about the expectations found in restaurants, in patrons and servers alike. Robert has over 20 years in the restaurant industry, gaining his first skills at The Metro, which provided in-house training and today has some of the finest and most consistent service among metro area restaurants. “Your primary memory should be your spouse’s company or other dining guests. The best service is the service that you do not remember,” Robert shared.
The server is available to provide confidence in ordering, they will guide you through the menu. They should be prompt and attentive, as we all know the details always count! When the servers are approaching your table to deliver your meal, they will serve on your left and clear your dishes on your right, by paying attention to this you can avoid a spill.
The table setting tends to paralyze the uninformed diner, but fear not. The table setting is simply a map of what you’ll be served. Follow the map and your meal will unfold just as your chef has intended. The best rule of thumb is to use the silverware on the outside first. If you see a large spoon on the right, you will be served soup. If there is no large spoon, start with the smaller fork on the outside left. A dinner fork and knife are closer to the plate, therefore would be used last. By using the setting in the order of its placement you’ll ensure a better dining experience, as your server will be able to attend to more pleasant needs rather than retrieving new silverware for your table.
Remember that your napkin shouldn’t touch the table until you are ready to stand up and leave the restaurant, not just when you are finished dining. If you leave the table for any reason other than to leave the restaurant, put your napkin in your chair to signal to the server that you are coming back. Some servers will refold the napkin and place it on the arm of your chair.
During a romantic conversation the server should not interrupt you. The Silent Code of Service includes placing your silverware at the 4:00 position when you are finished with your meal, telling your server that he/she can remove your dishes without interrupting you. Your server wants to be as unobtrusive as possible and allow you to enjoy your intimate dinner. Another SCS: close your menu when you have decided on your meal choice, this tells the server you are ready to order.
Quick dining tips:
- Use the correct silverware. Your place setting is a map to your meal.
- Only place your napkin on the table when you are standing to leave the restaurant.
- Your water glass will be to your right.
- Close your menu when you’ve made your selections.
- Never snap your fingers to get a server’s attention. Instead, use eye contact to get their attention.
- Place your silverware at 4 o’clock when you’re through with your meal.
- Gentlemen, pull out the chair for your valentine! It’s romantic no matter where you’re dining.