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Proper Politesse – Etiquette Tips │ Pass with Care │ By Sherry Gordon-Harris

Greetings, Traveler Weekly Readers!

I’m Sherry Gordon-Harris, Certified Etiquette Consultant, owner, and instructor of Royal Purpose School of Etiquette. Our purpose is to assist with the Total Refinement of You, including children and adults, by offering classes and workshops on Etiquette and proper Manners.

As we learned in the previous articles, Etiquette is the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group. Manners are a person’s outward bearing or way of behaving toward others. It’s a way in which a thing is done or happens. In general, Etiquette is simply respecting others and not causing an offense to others.

November is a month when most focus on thankfulness. Many families come together to fellowship, share, and enjoy each other’s company. Traditionally, large family gatherings include a sit-down family-style meal. Family-style dining is when food is served on large platters meant for sharing. This is a great opportunity to practice good table manners.

Because the food item on the large platter is meant for sharing and not just all for one person, each person places a serving from the platter on their plate. But what if the platter of food you want is out of your reach and located at the opposite side of the table? Do you get up and walk around the table? Do you stand up and reach your arm over the other platters of food? No. It is appropriate to ask for the specific food item to be passed to you. For example, “Can you please pass the green beans?”.

The person closest to the requested dish should pick up that food platter and begin to pass it. When passing food to someone around the table, each person passes it to the person on their right or counterclockwise until it reaches the requester. An exception to this rule is if the person requesting the dish is sitting directly to your left. Then the food item does not have to travel all the way around the table.

Following this etiquette provides some sense of order when serving or passing food. This is especially important when several dishes are being passed at the same time. The food platters all travel in the same direction. And no one will end up having a dish come to them from both their left and right side at the same time. Confusion and congestion can be avoided this way.

Be sure to include the serving utensil for that specific dish if applicable. And if the item requested is the salt and/or pepper, always pass both together. Even if only one or the other of the salt and pepper is requested, they are a pair and should always stay together. Determine if the dish requires one or two hands to carefully receive and pass the platter. If the dish being passed is one that you would like a portion of, then you may receive your portion at that time and then continue to pass the dish to your right. When passing the food items, remember to pass with care.

May your family-style meals be fulfilling, peaceful, and delicious!

Once again, it has been my pleasure sharing this Etiquette tip with the Traveler Weekly Readers. Our hope is that these articles are helping you to learn additional Proper Politesse. There’s more to come. Well wishes to you and your family. I encourage everyone to “Live your life with Purpose in a Royal Manner.”

If you, your family, or group want to learn Etiquette for the first time or just want to brush up on your skills, consider enrolling in a scheduled class or book a private class with Royal Purpose School of Etiquette LLC. We are now offering Pageant Coaching Services specifically for those in pageants and other competitions. We can help with the Total Refinement of You. Contact Mrs. Sherry Gordon-Harris at (309) 585-6145 or e-mail or visit

Thank you.