Manner Monday®: Finger Bowls

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Finger Bowls are rarely seen today in a formal environment – but if you are are ever presented with this old-fashioned ritual, I want to make sure you know what to do.

Their purpose is to help diners clean their fingers after a course that may have been a little more ‘hands-on’, such as lobster, clams, or corn on the cob.

Let’s ‘dive in’ to the do’s and don’ts of the Finger Bowl:

  • Don’t use your spoon – it’s not soup!  It may look like a soup, but it’s just lukewarm water.  Often you will see flower petals floating (this is another giveaway that it’s not soup).
  • No Splashing.  Be gentle, we’re not at the water-park.  Gently dip fingertips, one hand at a time, into the bowl, using your napkin to dab them dry.
  • It’s not a bath. If you would like to gently dab your lips/mouth, do so discreetly – don’t proceed with a self-administered facial.
  • Clear the path.  Once you’re finished with your Finger Bowl, carefully pick it up along with the doily (the fancy white thing that was positioned underneath the bowl and on top of the service plate) and move them both to the left of your plate for the waiter to collect (your drinks and coffee cup will be on the right leaving no room on that side).  The empty plate that remains will now serve as a charger for your plated dessert.

Modern Version – Warm Wet Washcloths.  This is a popular variation that serves the same purpose. The same rules above still apply. Some restaurants provide warm washcloths before the meal is served, others offer them at the end of the meal.  Either way, it’s a nice touch of hospitality.

In other news….

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Business Etiquette Training:  
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Classes are scheduled to begin March 10. … stay tuned…

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As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

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