Manners Monday :: Breaking Bread

There are some table manners that should go without saying: napkin in your lap, no elbows on the table, don’t chew with your mouth open (which means don’t talk while you’re chewing). There are others that are less well-known.

One that my mother was religious about instilling in me (as one for ladies) is about eating bread. While I was taught this as a rule for women, it doesn’t hurt for men to follow it as well. Break bread into bite-size pieces to eat, and butter your bread one piece at a time.

Why? Bread is unpredictable. What if it is chewy & hard to separate? Then you’re left with this awkward pulling or gnawing at the roll. Very un-lady like. What if it is brittle and pieces of crumbs go flying? No. Save yourself any uncertainty and break off a small piece that you can put in your mouth.

What this means is that you take a serving of bread and butter separately. (If you have a bread & butter plate, all the better.) And instead of slathering down the whole slice, “prepare” each bite as you go. Whether you are eating rolls, a slice of loaf bread or a muffin, break off a bite size piece, butter just that piece – if you’re using butter – and eat your bread one bite at a time.

This practice also serves to slow down the pace at which you eat, allowing you to enjoy the meal and conversation more.

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Today’s Manners Monday is a part of month-long series on table manners, brushing up on our hospitality etiquette in preparation for the holiday season where we will all be enjoying fellowship at each others’ tables. Previous posts have been about setting the table and waiting for your host before beginning the meal. To read all past Manners Monday posts, search “etiquette” in the search feature in the top right corner.

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