Manner #9: Serving Yourself Food

Manner #9: The Do’s and Don’ts of Serving Yourself Food Around the Dinner Table

Attention Getter: We played a mini version of Taboo to guess the manner topic of the night. The word I wanted them to say was SERVE/SERVING (as it relates to food) and these were the words that couldn’t be said when giving the clues: place, wait, give, take, put, prepare, offer.

After some pathetic clues (his words) given by my husband (I had to step in), my daughter guessed the word. I told them we would be focusing on serving manners.

We then discussed the following points about serving yourself food:

Manner: 1. Remember to show honor to your guest or the mom, and have her serve herself first.
2. Use the utensil provided on the serving dish and make sure it gets back on the dish before passing it on. Don’t use your fingers unless it is a finger food (another post; another day)
3. If there is a fork and a spoon on the serving dish, use both to help you get the food.
4. Be aware of portion sizes and the others at the table. Take a fair amount so that there will be enough food for the last person that is served. (I am still haunted by the memory of my son eating so many hot dogs at our friends’ BBQ that they ran out, and some guests didn’t get any. I was 8 months pregnant in a swimsuit— my son’s hot dog count was the least of my concerns at the time.)
5. Take the piece that is closest to you. (Bummer! No more scanning for the crispiest piece of meat or the fluffiest pancake.)
6. You take what you touch.
7. Don’t serve yourself seconds until everyone has had firsts or the hostess has cued you to have more.

Practice: I had rolls for dinner to help me teach the serving manners #4, 5, 6 and 7. I only put 6 rolls in the basket to help teach point #4. I threw out some math story problems during dinner that were at varying levels of difficulty. Example: “There are 12 rolls in the basket and 6 people at the table. How many rolls will each person get?” “There are 3 pieces of chicken and 6 people. How much chicken should you take?” “There are 2 pizzas with 8 slices each. How much do we each get?” This just got them thinking about amounts and others (and a great way to apply math skills.)

Follow-Up: (Confession: I set my husband up on this one. Luckily, he is a good sport and the blog’s biggest fan.) Later in the week, I made coconut cake for dessert because I knew my husband would fall into my trap perfectly and he did. He was headed off to a meeting so I told him to grab a piece before he left. He cut his piece right out of the middle. (He swears it’s the best.) My daughter scolded him (she’s 8 going on 35) and told him he can’t do that and he just made the cake look ugly (the why). He defended himself with some “dad’s can do whatever they want” jibberish. We reviewed all the serving manners including the manner to take the piece closest to you- not from the middle- but dad still isn’t buying it. If you want to try the yummy cake, I included the recipe below:


Grandma K’s Coconut Cake

1 white cake mix
1 small package coconut pudding
3 eggs
1/4 c. oil
1 1/4 c. water

Mix ingredients and then bake cake according to box directions. After 5 minutes poke holes in cake. (I use a wooden spoon handle and I poke ALOT of holes.) Spoon in 15 oz. can of cream of coconut. Cool. Refrigerate. Top with 8 oz. Coolwhip. Sprinkle with coconut (we leave this off.) Enjoy (the middle piece)!


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