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Etiquette for Dining Out

Author David Rothschild has written a fun and easy guide to etiquette for those pesky dining out situations.

Here are a few tips from this veteran restauranteur. Be sure to read our review of the book (and get more information or order it if you'd like).

What do I do with empty sugar packets and creamers?

When your coffee or tea is served in a cup with a saucer or your iced tea has an underliner (small plate, usually topped with a doily) leave your "discards" on the saucer or plate.

If there's no small plate as part of the service, either ask for one or place the items on a paper napkin. Your coffee, tea or iced tea spoon should also be placed either on a saucer/plate or on a paper napkin. Don't place it on the tablecloth - it can leave a permanent stain.

Don't put opened sugar or sweetener packets back into the sugar caddy, or empty creamers back in the bowl.

Some etiquette books will tell you to tuck your empty packets, straw papers, etc under the rim of a saucer or plate. This really isn't necessary. If you can't find a more convenient and tidy place to put them, just leave them on the table.

Is it OK to ask for a doggie bag?

Absolutely! It's much better to take extra food (for yourself or your dog) than to waste it.

Just a couple of things to keep in mind. Only take leftovers if you're going right home - neither you nor your pets should eat chicken that's been in your car all afternoon.

And, though it ensures that you're getting your own food and not someone else's, don't ask for take-out containers to pack your own leftovers. Handling partially-eaten food is best done out of sight of other diners.

What's the proper way to hold a wine glass?

Always hold a stemmed glass by the stem.

If you've been served a wine that has been chilled to its optimum temperature and you hold the glass by the bowl, you'll change that wine quickly and dramatically.

Your body temperature is almost 100 degrees F. That heat will be transferred to the wine.

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