Mind your manners wherever you are
Greetings from Tennessee!
I’m not sure how many of my Thanksgiving crew will be here for our inaugural Tennessee Thanksgiving dinner. All of them, I hope and maybe a few newcomers. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve let time slip up on me and I have failed to get invitations printed. So, instead, everyone will get a personal phone call.
And I’m not even sure this house will be totally in order. I have found my roasting pan, the oven works well, and the guest bedrooms are ready. In a weak moment recently (maybe it was fatigue talking) I wondered if I should even try to do this, but my sanity and energy returned when the paint fumes cleared, so of course we will. Ready or not!
Being the new girl in town I’ve realized how important introductions are, especially when newcomers will gather around the table. Skipping introductions is not a good idea. Not only should we adults know how to properly introduce our guests so should our children…even grandchildren. So, practice might be in order. Good manners always come in handy, whatever state you might be in.
The purpose of introductions is to bring people together who do not know each other. It also helps to “break the ice” and make everyone feel welcome. So here goes.
Traditionally it’s customary to say the names of women, older persons, and people with important positions or titles first, and I’m all for tradition. For example, when introducing a man and a woman, say the woman’s name first. Example for the more formal: “Mrs. Carlisle I would like you to meet Mr. Adams.” And then, “Mr. Adams, this is Mrs. Carlisle.” Or if using only given names, it’s still ladies first.
When introducing a younger person to an older person, it’s respectful to say the older person’s name first. Example: “Grandmother, this is my friend, Beth. Beth, I would like you to meet my grandmother, Mrs. McAlexander.” (And, then let Grandmother choose to offer her other grandmother name.)
Someone who has earned special honors should be introduced by his or her title. Examples: Governor, Judge, Doctor, Captain, etc. It’s most polite to use these special titles as well as courtesy titles, such as Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss to address people you’ve just met.
What to do if the name escapes you just as you are about to make introductions? It happens to the best of us so admit it, apologize, and proceed: “I’m sorry, I have forgotten your name” and proceed with the introductions. We’ve all been there and done that, so don’t worry about it! If you’re the one being introduced and someone forgets your name, help them out. Say your name quickly then let them continue with the introductions.
If it’s up to you to make your own introductions, just do it, say, “Hello, I don’t believe we’ve met, I’m Peggy Walker.” That’s sure better than an awkward pause. Some folks are just shy and that takes the “scare” out of introductions. And for sure, jump right to it if you’re the host and you’re welcoming guests to your home for the first time.
After all the introductions are said and you’re seated at the table, good table manners tell you to leave your napkin on the table until the blessing is said, then unfold it and put it in your lap. If you must leave the table during the meal place your napkin on your chair. And, when you’ve finished your meal, place your napkin, loosely gathered next to your plate.
Now we’re ready to enjoy friends – new and old – and pass the turkey and dressing – counterclockwise that is.
……Bless this house and those gathered here.
Recipe of the Week
Cranberry Spinach Salad
Like Thanksgiving guests, never too many cranberries!
1 tablespoon butter
¾ cup slivered almonds
1-pound spinach, rinsed, torn into pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
½ cup white sugar 2 teaspoons minced onion ¼ teaspoon paprika ¼ cup white wine vinegar ¼ cup cider vinegar ½ cup vegetable oil
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.