Entertaining is all the rage these days. So much so, that we are redesigning our homes with open floor plans to accommodate cooks and guests alike. A kitchen that is open to the living room or family area allows the chef to follow the flow of conversation, while at the same time, invites “helpers” into the food preparation area. Now, it is more important than ever to shine as a guest if you want to be a part of the new entertainment lifestyle.
Here are some tips that will ensure your place on the entertainment circuit.
- Do bring a gift when you are invited to dine at someone’s home. At the time of the invitation, you should ask what you can bring. If the answer is nothing, the traditional bottle of wine or perhaps a fine cheese will make a good impression. You may also take a different route and bring a small gift for the child(ren) of the house. A token that expresses your appreciation for being invited is the important thing.
- Avoid unpleasant behaviors such as food tapping. You may not even realize that you are doing it, but tapping, either with a serving utensil or your fork, is a form of “playing” with your food. The chef of your feast doesn’t want to see anyone idly playing with the fruits of his or her labor.
It should go without saying that talking with your mouth full, smacking, and chewing with your mouth open are all bad table manners.
Additionally, you’re an adult, and as such, should be able to gauge portion sizes close to what you are able to eat. It could be construed as an insult to the cook if you throw out large amounts of the meal he or she labored over.
- Never comment on what someone else is, or isn’t, eating. No one wants to be put on the spot during a meal. If the remark comes from your host, try to be polite without turning what was said into a compliment because that might encourage the same behavior in the future.
- Be sensitive to your host’s recycling habits. If you are clearing dishes, don’t just stack them in the sink like a house of cards. Find out if there are receptacles for glass, paper, or aluminum that you should be using.
- Finally, do send a “thank you note“, especially to a home you’ve never been to before.