Breaking Bread Together

Every spring, our office hosts a Bring Your Own Briefcase event for seniors, an opportunity for students to network with alums and also learn about dining etiquette. It is important to have excellent table manners, but it can be difficult to remember all the rules! A point of anxiety can be “whose drink is that?” or “whose bread is that?” Our friends at the Culture and Manners Institute just shared a timely article about how to deal with the dreaded bread plate, and what to do if someone steals yours! Read on to learn more, and stop by their website at to get more polite suggestions.

“A friend of mine, who attends a lot of fundraising dinners in Chicago said, ‘Here is what makes me crazy. The guy on my right correctly places his bread on the bread plate on his left. Then I notice the guy on my left has taken my bread plate, the one on his right. I’m left holding the roll.’ When someone bogarts your bread plate, remain calm. Etiquette means we try not to call attention to others’ shortcomings. So please do not call that person out in front of everyone at the table and ask for your bread plate back. Don’t even whisper it in his or her ear. Try not to correct anyone’s etiquette in public — unless they call you ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad.’
Just place your roll on the upper left side of your salad plate or dinner plate – so at least your roll can gaze wistfully at the bread plate, a few inches away. Or skip the bread. Seriously, at a big banquet meal, who really needs another starch? If you do have bread, there’s a right way to eat it. Break off a bite-size piece, butter it and eat it. Then repeat. Do not cut the roll in half and butter the entire roll and bite into it. Do not touch the bread until the meal begins. Some people at business banquets dive into the bread basket and devour the contents before everyone is seated at their table. Bread is not a pre-meal snack. Ditto for the cracker basket. Before the meal, hands off.”

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