Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.
We established in the previous article that a noble table is not permissive of relaxed dining habits such as sipping drink from a straw, tearing the chicken with bare hands or eating in sandwich style, these are customs better suited for picnics and barbecues.
This is why I will not classify the average wedding reception of these days as a noble situation because noble manners cannot be effectively practiced in such ambience. However, basic table manners should be practiced in any setting.
We will now consider some more because there is a lot to learn. And unlearn. One cannot apply the knowledge of fork and knife to a loaf of bread for instance; it is simply not done. These are more strict rules to guide your behavior at the noble table.
Thou shall not blow hot food. You should wait till the food is at edible temperature before eating. Blowing hot food is not only unmannerly; it is also unhygienic as bacteria load in the food increases with the act.
Thou shall not mix the sauce/ stew completely with the rest of the food. Do it a substantial mouthful at a time. Creating a mixture can be distasteful and distracting to others. Thou art a noble be thou sensitive.
Thou shall not chop your food/ beef to tiny pieces at once. Again, do it one piece per mouthful. Thou art a noble.
If a cutlery falls to the floor, politely request for another one from the host or waiter- thou art a noble.
Ladies, sizeable handbags should be placed beside your feet on the floor. A small purse could however be placed on the table.
When going to the bathroom, all that is required is a smiling ‘excuse me’. No more. And certainly no less. Your napkin can be placed loosely on the side of the table as you leave.
Wine glasses should not be confused with other glasses. Use the appropriate glass at all times (see above image)
Thou shall not squish drink around in your mouth to ‘rinse’ the food from your mouth, thereby making an unpleasant sound. Remember, thou art a noble.
When you are done, place the fork and knife together at a five o’ clock degree on your plate. This signals to the waiter or host that you are finished. Be a noble and be thou perfect.
Let’s bring it home. If for some reason (even though I doubt it will be done in formal situations), you are served a native staple, say, amala & ewedu/ gbegiri and others as a buffet.
Ewedu is a ‘draw soup’ and you have to agree with me that it will be hard to ‘pull off’. My suggestion? Avoid it altogether.
You can ‘slug it out’ later but definitely not on the noble table.
Keep in mind that the pleasure of relishing food is temporary but the stigma that comes from bad manners is lasting.