The dining gentleman


This evening, as I have grown accustomed to doing recently, I sat down for dinner. And it occurred to me how essential dining time, selection of food and etiquette are to a gentleman. I will outline the basics of proper dining here.

A big part of dining like a gentleman includes sitting on your chair at an angle, or getting someone to stand behind you while you are seated (or, conversely standing behind someone else sitting down).

First of all, consider the time that one dines. Every gentleman (indeed, every self-respecting person) enjoys breakfast, lunch and tea. But there are a few additional meals of which only the gentleman knows. They include elevensies, high tea and kolacja.

Some gentleman practice their gentlemanly after-dinner poses.

If you are not hungry at these meal times, you can do like I often do myself, and simply have a scotch instead.

George Clooney doesn’t always feel the need to eat at gentlemanly meal times. He doesn’t give a damn for convention – and neither should you.

In terms of selection of food, there are no hard and fast restrictions. We only suggest (strongly) that you steer clear of a few classes of ingestible matter:

1.    Fast food. Anything that comes in packaging that spruiks other ‘value’ options on the menu should be avoided.

2.    Anything to be eaten with the hands. Unless it’s being served from a silver platter at a soiree, give burritos and burgers a miss.

3.    Anything in a box that has been pre-prepared. (Especially if it’s been in the freezer and has microwave directions on the side.)

This bedraggled man is making an honourable attempt, but eating fast food can never be gentlemanly.

Other than that, use your gentlemanly judgement.

Generally, being a male should make you more of a gentleman than their lady friends by default. Here we see a case of where this is not true.

The only other thing to watch out for is overly pretentious food. Remember that a gentleman is not pretentious! Overly descriptive menus are a clear signal for pretention.

Example menu items that gentleman should avoid:

–       Emmentaler served with heirloom albacore followed by durian bavarois

–       Fire-blackened quail’s eggs embedded in a block of ice, lightly slapped with rosemary root.

–       Hamichi amuse-bouche licked by an infant lamb dangling from a single chive on a shaved basil-flower bed, cooked in a peasant’s shoe.

A peasant’s shoes.

And finally, a quick word on etiquette. Never leave your napkin crumpled after a meal. Even more importantly, never leave your napkin neatly folded. It should be left neatly but loosely on the table after a meal. For an after dinner aperitif, never pass the port decanter to your right – always pass it to the left. Always tear your bread apart, and don’t cut it with your knife (unless you’re in Peru, in which case you may cut the bread, but never stretch after a meal. Brixley and I got ourselves into quite a situation on an expedition to Peru in lieu of that knowledge).

Dean Martin and Sinatra make a liquid dinner for a balding man.

Until next time,

H.L. Griffith