Dining Etiquette Series – Dessert, At Last!

Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.
Ernestine Ulmer, 1892-1987

No doubt many people will agree with this famous quote. But, in the formal multi-course dinner, dessert is the last course, at least in the U.S. In European, and European-influenced, countries you might find that the dessert course is followed by a fruit course to finish the dinner with a refreshing palate cleanser, and then followed by coffee and a sweet (more about the “coffee course” next week). But, in most cases, dessert will be the sweet finale to a luncheon or dinner. 

Dining Etiquette Series – Amuse-Bouche


"Hannibal, confess; what is this divine looking amuse-bouche?"

With recent references to amuse-bouche being linked to Dr. Hannibal Lecter – first with the quote above from the 2002 movie, The Red Dragon, starring Anthony Hopkins, and then as the title of Episode 2 in Hannibal, the creepy new TV series that debuted in April on NBC – one could get the wrong idea about this little delight.  But don’t worry; the amuse-bouche pictured above supposedly is all fruit and fish!

Dining Etiquette Series – The Appetizer Course 2

Civilization has taught us to eat with a fork,
but even now if nobody is around we use our fingers.
~ Will Rogers (1879-1935)

The late great Will Rogers would no doubt have appreciated an appetizer served as a formal, or informal, dinner course that he could have eaten with his fingers!

Following are three favorites that are commonly served as an appetizer course, along with information on how you can expect them to be served.

Dining Etiquette Series – Using Your Knife and Fork

“No one's gloomy or complaining
While the flatware's entertaining…”

~ “Be Our Guest,” sung by Lumiere, from Beauty and the Beast

Lumiere is correct. Your flatware can be entertaining if you have to stop and figure out what it all means, and how to use it! But, Lumiere and I have you covered. Before you read on, you might want to review my introduction to using flatware in a previous post, under the heading, “Flatware.”   

In this entry, let’s take a look at the two main styles of using one’s knife and fork, The American style and The Continental style. The American style is so named because it is usually only Americans and perhaps some Canadians who use it, while the rest of the world uses the Continental style. And, it’s fun to speculate on the reasons for the different styles.