By Cindy Larson
Have you ever heard the story about President George H.W. Bush and the finger bowl?

One time at a White House dinner, guests from Asia mistakenly picked up their finger bowls and drank from them.

So what did the president do? He picked up his finger bowl and drank from it, too.

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Basic dining do’s and don’ts

Sure, your mother probably taught you not to talk with your mouth full, or not to put your elbows on the table, but dining etiquette goes beyond that. Here are some dining tips from Karen Hickman of Professional Courtesy, a consulting company that provides seminars on etiquette and protocol:

♦Wait for the host or hostess to start eating before you do.

♦Cut and eat one bite at a time.

♦When faced with multiple pieces of silverware, start from the outside and work your way in toward the plate. Also, watch someone else who looks as if he or she knows what to do.

♦Once you’ve used a silverware utensil, it goes on the plate or bowl, not back on the table.

♦Do not salt and pepper your food before tasting it first.

♦Don’t blow on your soup to cool it, and don’t slurp it.

♦Spoon soup away from you and sip off the side of the spoon.

♦Pass food to the right.

♦Do we really need to say it? Don’t text or talk on your cell phone at dinner. Silence it.

♦Don’t put on lipstick, floss your teeth, comb your hair or blow your nose at the table. In general, don’t do anything at the table you’d do in the bathroom.

♦If someone toasts you, you do not drink to yourself.

♦Don’t push your plate away from you when you’re done eating.

♦When you’re done eating, your napkin goes to the left of your plate on the table. Don’t put it on your plate.

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