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Does your family follow these Thanksgiving etiquette rules? |

Does your family follow these Thanksgiving etiquette rules?

(WVLT) — How do you pass the cranberry sauce? Do you know when Thanksgiving dinner officially begins? What’s Cooking America listed etiquette guidelines for your family’s feast that may include some tips you haven’t heard of before.

The meal begins when the host or hostess unfolds their napkin
When the host or hostess of the meal unfolds their napkin, that’s a sign for guests to do the same. Napkins should be placed on the lap, folded in half lengthwise for large dinner napkins. Guests should not shake the napkins open.

When the host picks up their fork to eat, that’s when guests may begin eating. Guests should not begin eating before the host unless they insist guests begin without them.

Napkins should stay on guests’ laps until the end of the meal. When the host puts their napkin on the table, that’s a sign of the end of the meal. Once the meal is ended, guests should place napkins neatly on the table to the left of dinner plates. Do not refold napkins, but do not wad them up.

Where to place silverware and dinnerware on the table
The general rule for silverware and dinnerware is, ‘Eat to your left, drink to your right.’ Any food dishes to the left are yours, and any glasses to the right are yours.

Guests should start with the knife, fork or spoon that is farthest from their plates, working their way in and using one utensil for each course. By this method, the salad fork is on the outermost left, followed by the dinner fork. The soup spoon should be on the outermost right, followed by the beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. The dessert spoon and fork should be above plates or brought out with dessert.

Americans should use forks and knives with the knife placed in the right hand, fork in the left hand holding food. After a few pieces are cut into bite-sized segments, knives should be placed on the edge of the plate with blades facing in.

Food should be eaten by switching the fork to the right hand (unless guests are left handed). A left hand, arm or elbow on the table should be considered bad manners.

Once utensils are used, they should not touch the table again. Forks, knives and spoons should rest on the side of the plate in the 4:20 position.

Other tips
Guests should follow dress code as indicated by hosts, and guests should arrive at least 10 minutes early to the gathering, unless hosts otherwise specify. Guests can bring a small hostess gift, one that the hostess should not feel obliged to use that evening. Guests should never expect gifts to be served at the dinner party.

Guest should wait for the host or hostess to sit down before taking a seat. Sit when the host asks you to sit, and wait until the host indicates your seating position. Traditionally, seating should be man-woman-man-woman, with the women seated to the right of the men.

Pass food from the left to the right. Do not stretch across the table, crossing other guests to reach food or condiments.

Always pass the salt and pepper together, even if a table mate asks for only one of them. When guests pass items, they should be placed directly on the table instead of passing hand-to-hand. Never grab a piece of bread out of a bread basket in the middle of a pass to someone else, and always use serving utensils instead of personal silverware to serve yourself.

Do not speak with food in your mouth, and do not blow on food to cool it off. Do not season food before tasting it, as that could be construed as rude.

Do not answer the phone during dinner, and set devices to silent or vibrate mode before sitting down to eat.

For more information about dining etiquette in formal settings, Visit the What’s Cooking America website.

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