Etiquette Tuesday: Napkins First.

[ 3 ] September 21, 2010 |

Picture Source: French Dressing

This week’s tip is a quickie.  Most people know this, but I often forget:  Place the napkin in your lap as soon as you sit down.  It’s a simple dining tip but sometimes becomes confusing:  should I put it in my lap when the bread comes?  when the food comes? or as soon as I sit down?  It’s as soon as you sit down.  Some may laugh at the fact that this is the dining tip of the week but touche, touche…even those at the top of the food industry can get confused by all these rules that can accompany a good meal.  This rule is actually really helpful especially because once the conversation starts you may forget about the white pants you wore to dinner and the immediate napkin placement may prevent a trip to the cleaners for some spilled butter.  Hey, every little bit helps, right? With that being said:  napkin goes in the lap first.

Category: Food.Fun.Stuff.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

Comments (3)

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  1. Let’s agree to disagree. In France, we do not put our napkin on our lap as soon as the food comes in. Servers also wait until every diner has finished their meal before taking the plates away. Etiquette is a cultural concept. What’s acceptable somewhere may be considered rude somewhere else 😉

  2. Johnna says:

    Thanks for the comment;-) I thought about doing a post on this: Etiquette beyond the U.S. I have read that some of our dining etiquette is considered rude (*i.e. tipping) where in other countries their etiquette is considered rude (*slow service to Americans because we are so used to fast service).

  3. PLS says:

    Thanks for the tip. Now that you say that, I do remember when I went in up scale restaurants in NYC, the waiter would seat you, take the napkin off the table and put it in the customer’s lap. Some still do. Thanks for the remainder.

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