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Old June 28th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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colorcrazie colorcrazie is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tampa Bay area
Posts: 2,705

"suit youself"! Good one.

The etiquette rules that I am glad to see go include the snotty handkerchiefs. Yuck! Another is the family napkin rings. When a baby was born, someone would give a silver napkin ring with the baby's name on it. Still have mine. When the family dined alone, each person had their own napkin (cloth, no paper ones). At the end of the meal, you put your dirty napkin back in the ring and they were placed on a side board. I'm sure that most people had the sense to wash them, but it didn't always happen every meal, as you were supposed to only use it to dab your mouth. This is back when people had servants, so you had to hope they were doing their jobs. Even when it looked clean, I always felt rather disgusted.

The basis of all etiquette is courtesy, though, and that I wish were more common.

On to cutlery. Those rules were devised back when eating out meant dining at someone's home. It was the job of the hostess to determine the menu and then to ensure that the proper cutlery had been laid out to match what was being served. In any situation where the guests have options on what courses to order and choices for each course, you simply cannot lay out proper cutlery because you have no way of knowing who will need which pieces. We're not talking about faux pas here, but logical restrictions on what can be done. I'm not sure if it would even be feasible to train every waiter in the old style cutlery anyway. There were literally dozens of different pieces possible for any given meal. Most cruise lines do get the basics right, but for passengers, you shouldn't have to worry about using the right one since it may or may not even be there!

A minor bit of etiquette trivia...there is no such thing as a salad knife. The hostess was supposed to make sure that salads were served in bite size pieces, so it was an insult to feel the need to cut the salad. This is one that always seemed ridiculous, because if a single piece of lettuce wasn't cut, you had to fish the rest out rather than violate the rules. And, I do love salads!

Back to jokes, which are more fun. Got a great visual of a guy in a tux trying to negotiate the deck of a Windjammer cruise. Come one, Norm, I just know you would be wearing one!
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