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Etiquette Tip of The Week

Jan 22, 2014

“What do I do with my other hand?” College and graduate students and people in business often ask me that in a dining tutorial. If you are having soup, what happens to that hand not holding the spoon?

You may put the other hand in your lap or rest your wrist or even your forearm on the edge of the table.

What about elbows? If you grew up being told, “Keep your elbows off the table,” there is an exception to that rule. (Sorry, Grandmas!)

When you are between courses and there is no food on the table, you may put your elbows on the table. Usually, you do that in those big banquet meals where there is a lot of background noise in the room and you lean forward on your elbows so you can converse with a person on the other side of the round 8-top or 10-top table.

You may not put your elbow on the table if the purpose is to prop up your tired head.