Makeover Monday: Eat Like This, Not Like That

Other fitness/weight loss bloggers have shared that they’ve become more aware of what others around them are eating. I’ve noticed myself doing the same thing, PLUS I’m really noticing HOW people eat. The results are not good.

Table manners At first, I thought maybe it was just a Memphis thing, but my summer travels have revealed that the problem is pervasive. People chewing with their mouths wide open, talking with their mouths full of food, eating loudly enough to be heard in a neighboring county—it’s disgusting!

Not that I think anyone HERE needs it, but just in case, a quick review of the basics won’t do any harm. After all, if we’re going to do all this work to get ourselves looking spiffy, we don’t need our table actions canceling out the spiff. None of these tips/reminders will solve the world hunger problem or the current global financial crisis, but they are at least a brief diversion from thinking about those issues. So here we go…

First things first (and listed first only because it is possibly my worst offense), sit up straight! No slouching, no leaning back in the chair, no slumping.

Don’t talk with your mouth full of food. No one wants to see it. No one. And yet, almost everywhere I go, some bozo (or bozette, to be fair) is sharing the joy of his/her meal with the rest of us. Eeeewww. (Note to parents: please teach your children this rule. Young ones and others who lack the ability get a pass , but your healthy 12-year old should know better.)

Near and dear to my heart, eat quietly. I should not be able to hear you all the way across the restaurant. This holds true for both chewing AND slurping. (I work with a chronic slurper and I’d push him out a window if I didn’t like him so much.)

Eat slowly. It’s better for your innards, plus you’ll enjoy the meal more. (Confession: I sometimes have a wee problem with this one due to finite amount of time for lunch.)

Take small bites. It makes all the rules listed above much easier to manage.

Use your napkin! Put it in your lap when you first sit down at the table so you don’t forget. If you have to leave the table, put the napkin on the chair. It should never be placed on the table. (I’ve heard different opinions on what should be done at the end of the meal: napkin on the chair vs. napkin on the table beside the plate. Anyone know?)

Keep your elbows off the table. It was the second table manner I learned (after chewing with my mouth CLOSED.)

Wipe your mouth before drinking. This will help avoid that lipstick-on-the-cup ugliness.

While we’re on the subject of beverages, stir your coffee/tea/whatever as much as you want as long as you’re not clinking the spoon against the cup or glass.

Excuse yourself when leaving the table. It’s only polite.

Never put your knife or fork back on the table once you’ve picked them up. If you need to rest one of them, place it on the side of the plate. When you’re finished eating, place both knife and fork side by side on your plate, diagonally.

And those are a few of the basics offered by a frequent diner-outer. I don’t expect perfection from my fellow diners (until I attain it myself, that is), but a few common courtesies would make the communal dining experience ever so much more enjoyable.

Any peeves/suggestions from YOU will also be appreciated.

Hope you all have a great week!