This is a generation that grew up in front of a television set and ate off trays named for that tube. But there are times when twenty- and thirtysomethings would like to know more about table manners. For them, and for senior citizens who grew up in more traditional times, Letitia Baldrige has a video: “It’s Not Just Eating! A Guide to American Table Manners.”
The 58-minute video is a lighthearted approach for those who appreciate the power of manners as an image enhancer that emits respect and consideration ($19.95, 1-800-399-4423).
Baldridge offers lots of helpful views and clues:
You DON’T: return a used fork or knife to the table cloth; make mashed potatoes out of boiled potatoes; comment on the amount of food someone takes or eats; start eating until everyone is served, unless you are asked to start by the host; push your plate away; lean back in your chair; or remark on how full you are.
You DO pass food to the right; cut meat in one small piece at a time; take small portions (you can always ask for seconds); and place your napkin on your lap as soon as you are seated.