Best Way to Recover from Dining Disasters

Your crush invited you to dinner with his parents.

Your mom’s boss invited your family out to a restaurant. Mom has a “Don’t embarrass me” look on her face.

Prom time! All dressed up and going out to dinner before the dance.

Feeling just a little Pressure, or what? These are the times when Dining Disasters happen. Something on your plate is totally unrec­ognizable. You spill your drink all over the table. Eat something gross. Get something huge stuck in your teeth. You burp.

Dining Disasters Best Way to Recover from Dining Disasters

Are you totally horrified? Are you doomed to dine alone? Nyah. These things happen—to everyone. What counts is how you react to them.

Ellen Kaye is a presentation and etiquette coach. One of her specialties is teaching people how to survive meals with style. She says no matter what goofs you make along the way, it’s how you handle them afterward that others will remember.

When you’re smart enough, you’re the Ultimate Dining Chick: pol­ished, classy, gracious—even when you goof. Ellen will now tell you how you can pull it off:

Disaster 1: You eat something gross

Oh, disgusting! You just ate a hunk of gristle—you know, that fatty part of the meat that is about to make you gag. First of all, don’t gag or announce you have something gruesome in your mouth. Try to get through this while calling as little attention to yourself as possible. It would seem logical to just spit it out into your napkin, right? Wrong.

If you spit it into your napkin, when you have to use your nap­kin later you might wipe that chewed-up morsel right onto your face. Now that would be less than attractive. The etiquette for deal­ing with gross gristle is to:

  • Lift your napkin up and cover your mouth almost to your nose.
  • Take your fork and lightly spit the chunk on to it. (What goes in with your fork, goes out with your fork.)
  •  Place it on your plate in the place others will least likely see it. Try to disguise it with a piece of parsley or bread or something.
  •  Ignore it.

Disaster 2: You spill your drink all over everything

Spillage! You knocked over your glass. What do you do? Scream? Hide under the table? No!

Rule number one: Stay calm. Don’t call too much attention to it. Here’s your attitude: “Oh, oops, but no biggie.”

Use your napkin to mop it up. Apologize once to everyone. Ask the host for more napkins and help her clean it up. She’ll say, “Don’t worry about it.” So, stop worrying about it! Move on, and everyone else will, too.

What if your drink was bright red and spilled all over someone’s clothes? Tell her that you are really sorry, you feel terrible about it, it was a clumsy accident. Offer to pay to have it dry cleaned (one or two nights of babysitting should cover the cost). If she is smart enough, she will remember that Accidents Happen, and you’ll be forgiven.

Dining Disasters 1 Best Way to Recover from Dining Disasters

Disaster 3: You get a hunk of food stuck in your teeth

Yum, veggie pizza. You take a bite. Then you get a giant wad of spinach stuck in your teeth. You just know it is there. And it is huge and ugly.

  •  Don’t smile at your crush.
  •  Swipe your napkin over your teeth.
  •  If it’s still stuck, don’t rub your tongue around your mouth to try to get it out. It looks really bizarre. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom to remove it.

Leave a Reply