A Certain Form of Etiquette

DINING TABLE WITH DINERS

I’ve lived in France a  long time, and I entertain a lot. If I’ve learned one thing, it is not to listen to what people say here when they first walk in the door (unless it’s from list number two).The guests who say they are tired stay the longest; those who say they’re not hungry eat the most; those who are suspicious of something new almost always love it; and those who sniff at bending the rules jump in with gusto and do it the next time they have a dinner party. A good time is always had by all.  But when I first moved here and someone said, the second they arrived, that they weren’t going to eat much because they weren’t hungry,  I felt deflated. However, no more. Provocation is as French as….cheese after a meal.  (Or, as a French friend put it, maybe it is just a case of bad manners!).

 

THINGS  TO NEVER SAY WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT SOMEONE’S HOME FOR A MEAL:

  1. I’m not hungry.
  2. We’ll leave early, we’re so tired.
  3. You only have white?
  4. Yes, I eat raw beets but not as an appetizer..
  5. Oh, the portions are so large.
  6. Can you turn up the lights? I can’t see my food.
  7. Cheese, too?
  8. You serve the most unusual things.
  9. White after a red? That’s not normal.
  10. Have you gained some weight?
  11. Where is the ice cream?

 

THINGS TO ALWAYS SAY WHEN YOU ARE AT SOMEONE’S HOME FOR A MEAL.

  1. It smells so good – I could smell it right out to the street.
  2. We’ve been working so much, this feels like vacation.
  3. I love white or red, so whatever you’re pouring.
  4. Raw beets as an appetizer, with cumin? What a great idea.
  5. I thought I wouldn’t finish it, but it was so good I did.
  6. I love all the candles.
  7. Oh, the cheeses look incredible.
  8. I would never have thought of serving this together – I’m going to do it all the time, now.
  9. I’m so surprised – white after red is great.
  10. I feel happy, what a meal.

 

 

 

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