Student Activities sponsors “Dining Etiquette” workshop for students

The napkin is folded or put in a napkin ring and placed either to the left of the forks or on the center of the dinner plate.

Tyler McNeil, Staff Writer

Students in attendance at a leadership workshop were taught the rules of dining etiquitte as part of a series of workshops that have been held throughout the semester. All students may attend the workshops.

John Mellon, also known as, “Dr. John Etiquette, ”professor at Misericordia University, conducted the workshop.

“We sat in on his leadership workshop three years [ago], and it was exceptional,” said Louis Coplin, director of student life.

“It’s hard to not learn something new. It is always a pleasure to have [Mellon] visit the college,” said Coplin.

Mellon noted that the purpose of etiquette is not to enforce “a bunch of rules or what our mothers make us do,” but instead, “[etiquette is] trying to smooth a path of positive interaction amongst people.”

At the beginning of the presentation, Mellon pointed out common misconceptions about etiquette to the audience.

“When a person asks me about eating french fries with their fingers at McDonalds, it’s okay, but when you’re even out at Friendly’s it’s not [okay],” Mellon said. “You don’t want to create abstract art with the ketchup bottle.”

During the presentation, the acronym “BMW”, commonly known as “Bavarian Motor Works,” was used to help the audience remember the proper table placement of: bread, meal, water.

The proper usage of silverware was frequently addressed in Mellon’s presentation as well as the differences between American and European style dining.

During the middle of the presentation, the audience was told to simulate cutting meat on their plates as the host demonstrated the proper way to hold utensils.

“You never want the tip of any knife to be pressing down. Your arm will be up in the air. The proper way to hold a dinner knife is to press your index finger on the blade,” said Mellon.

Following this, Mellon discussed the importance of properly handling coffee.

“When people are done with coffee, they may turn a coffee cup upside down. Don’t do that. When a waiter is very busy, they’ll come over and pour coffee. In that case, when a coffee cup is turned over, they may still pour coffee,” said Mellon.

Mellon also discussed how the three parts of a wine glass: the bowl, the stem and the base, should be used properly. He blamed Hollywood for validating carrying a wine glass by the bowl.

“I always want to write to Hollywood producers telling actors that they’re holding the wine all wrong,” joked Mellon.

Mellon continued to discuss other common mistakes made in dining, such as napkin usage.

“One of the key points to a napkin is never having silverware above the napkin. If you do, you’re fingering the silverware you’re going to eat with. Never put the napkin on your lap when nobody else is eating. If two more people come, you have to stand up and at that point and you have to fiddle with the napkin,” said Mellon.

According to Mellon, a napkin must be folded into thirds before being placed on a person’s lap.

Mellon went on to speak about the napkin’s role in the “Silent Service code” in American-style dining.

“Place the napkin to the right of the plate [when you leave the table] to indicate that you will be back,”

Mellon then listed the five most important factors in a handshake which were the degree of wetness, eye contact, web to web, grip and duration.

“Etiquette goes on past the table. In corporate America, professionalism is waning,” said Mellon.

Students were welcomed to Mellon’s presentation with free movie passes. At the end of the semester, if a student attends the majority of the workshops hosted within the series they will receive a certificate and be invited to a “thank you” luncheon.

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