Saturday, May 14, 2011

Etiquette Shmetiquette!

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stock vector : spatula cartoon

Recently I was at a family dinner at my in-laws' house.  As we were getting ready to serve the dessert, my mother-in-law got upset about the fact that I had put a "kitchen spatula" on the table as the serving utensil.  I didn't chose it for its aesthetic quality, but more for its practical use.  I didn't consider any of us visiting to be "company".  We were in fact just the immediate family.  So why did she look so upset?  I suppose I'm very practical and my mother-in-law comes from a time of paper doilies, frilly aprons and chafing dishes lined up like soldiers.
Have we lost an essential element of "eating in the dining room"?  Are we in a society that is knowingly ignoring high manners and etiquette?  Or is casual dining more appropriate for today's mindset and lifestyles?  I admit to loving a certain downtown restaurant for its impeccable service and attention to details that lack in most other eateries.  So if I enjoy and appreciate the crisp napkin placed upon my lap, crumbs discreetly brushed away and my main course kept warm while I excuse myself to powder my nose, then why did I go for the spatula?

I suppose knowledge of etiquette is always in the back of my mind.  I am aware of it, but I don't feel the need to exercise it all the time.   I love the service at the restaurant because I'm paying for it and it's nice to be pampered once in awhile.

Family dinners should be a relaxed time of togetherness, not necessarily an opportunity for Emily Post type lessons in table manners.  So I say etiquette shmetiquette!  I don't have any disgusting table habits that I know of, so live and let live.  Let's learn to relax and enjoy the food and company.  After all, isn't that what it's all about?

Etiquette Vintage Parfaits set of four, no. 2825

Vintage 1953 Doilies In The Modern Manner Booklet

In case you ever feel the need...

Meal Planning & Table Service Etiquette Antique VTG


DearHelenHartman said...

One might suggest that it was also ill-mannered of your guest to point out your etiquette misstep. Better to hold one's tongue then send a gift of a proper serving piece... it makes the giver seem thoughtful and yet is subtly critical of the recipient at the same time - the perfect combo, IMHO!
Love your conclusion, being comfortable and making your guests feel the same is the ultimate in good manners.

Some Like it said...

Thank you for the backing! While etiquette is appropriate at most times, it is perfectly okay to let one's guard down within the right company :-)