April 22, 2008

At the Table: Bread and Butter

Bread and butter is a simple pleasure and compliments almost any meal. Breaking bread is a fundamental element of being social, in fact the word 'community' means to share bread. The way you prepare, eat, and use your bread and butter say a lot about your table manners. 
It is no longer necessary to provide guests with a butter knife or a bread plate, and silly to provide only one or the other. But still, when in a formal dining setting you should know how to use them. Things not to do with a bread plate and butter knife:
  1. Do not cut bread with the butter knife. 
  2. Do not butter a whole piece of bread at once. Tear off a bit sized piece of bread and butter it before you eat it, one bite at a time. 
  3. Do not place your butter knife back onto the table, instead let it balance on the bread plate.
  4. Do not move a bread plate on top of another plate. Your bread plate is located on the right side of your place setting. 
  5. If there is a communal dish of butter, use your butter knife to take a small amount of butter, and then place that butter onto your plate. Do not butter your bread directly from the butter dish.  (And never dip your bread into the butter dish!)
It is common to receive bread and butter without specific utensils for them. This can cause confusion, but it is a simple part of casual dining. Keep your bread off to the right side of your place setting and use your knife to butter your bread. Hopefully there is not a table cloth if you must place your knife back onto the table. 

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