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 – The Main Course

Go vegetable heavy. Reverse the psychology of your plate by making meat the side dish and vegetables the main course. ~ Bobby Flay

Mr. Flay might have the right idea. Scientists say that by 2050 we'll all be vegetarians due to an additional two billion people crowding the planet. With less land and water to accommodate livestock, we’ll be turning to vegetables instead. And, as this will be a gradual trend toward plant food, we should be thinking now about either practicing zero population growth, a concept that took root in the late 1960s, or coming up with creative and diverse ways to prepare vegetables for both family and formal dining.

Dining Etiquette Series – The Appetizer Course 1



“…since people still needed them shrimps for shrimp cocktails…”
~Forrest Gump, in Forrest Gump 

“These are Escargot. It’s French for snails. It’s a delicacy. Try it.”
~ Edward to Vivian, as their appetizers were served
during the dinner scene in the movie, Pretty Woman

Whether you’re dining on a spectacular shrimp cocktail like the one pictured above, or indulging in one of Edward’s favorite delicacies, Escargot, as Vivian did, or tried to (I think those who recall the scene in question know how that turned out), you will be enjoying your appetizer course. Depending upon where you are dining or the host’s preference, your appetizer will appear with either the first or second course. 

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.