Etiquette Boss: A backward look

April 30, 2014 Phillipa Morrish
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Table Runners:

How do we keep a fabric tablecloth clean from spills and messy hands? By teaching proper dining etiquette, of course.

However, not so long ago, dining was a naturally messy affair. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how far we have come in dining etiquette.

The table runner was originally a piece of cloth made from the same fabric as the tablecloth; placed across the table to keep the tablecloth clean.

In ancient times, dining was a very messy experience. Even kings and knights ate with their fingers and cleaned off meat juices on the tablecloth. Eventually forks came into English dining after an Englishman, Thomas Croyat, saw them being used in Italy for stabilizing meat while cutting with the knife.

Knives were used in England long before forks arrived. Knives and fingers were used to cut meat and place food into the mouth.

During the middle ages, invited guests brought their own utensils to the table, cleaned them on the tablecloth and left with them after dinner, so the dining experience was very messy.

Eventually, as the industrial revolution commenced and dinnerware became mass produced, the tablecloth was not as soiled because people ate with utensils instead of their fingers.

There were, and still are spills however, as the process of dipping and sharing food still can create soiled areas on the tablecloth. The table runner did not go out of style after the knife and fork came into popular use, but became more of a decoration accessory, though runners are still used to protect the tablecloth from spills at holiday dinners.

BEAUTY TIPS: Your Beauty Sleep

Sleeping in the wrong position every night can leave you with a wrinkled face and neck. To avoid premature crow’s feet and lines around the mouth, sleep on your back.

Though many ladies resist this advice, it makes good sense. The weight of your head on soft skin tissue, will eventually causes lines that can become permanent. Use a neckroll, a neck pillow or a butterfly pillow to keep your head elevated and prevent turning on your side during the night.

Phillipa Morrish is the president of Etiquette Training International.

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