Patience is a virtue
Patience is a virtue, we all know this. It's important to develop this skill. Patience is like any other skill in that it can be developed with attention, focus and practice.
A good place to practice this skill is at the dining table. Whether you're dining with colleagues, clients or family & friends, it's important to be poised at the table by exhibiting patience. It is unpleasant and unappetizing to dine with a frazzled and rushed person who inhales their food.
Please wait for your food to cool – don't lean over and blow on your hot food. Rather, wait for it to cool. And what to do while you're (patiently) waiting? Engage in delightful chit chat of course! This means talking with your dining companions. Ask them about their day. Find out what what the funniest thing that happened. Where there any weird happenings on their Zoom calls? How many times did they have to say, "So-and-so, you're still on mute." Or what are they most grateful for today? You may also talk about hobbies, books read, shows watched or podcasts listened too - both letting folks know what you've been up too but also seeking recommendations.
And when you do start to eat, remember to eat so slowly. It improves digestion and makes you feel better and makes you look better too. We recommend taking no more than three or four bites then putting your utensils down for a break. When you put your utensils down, you're free to take a sip of your drink, ask more questions or tell an entertaining story. It's best to keep unpleasant topics away from the dining table - so no talk about serious health issues, sex, money or vices.
Below are the "rest" and "finished" positions for your utensils if you are eating American or Continental style.
As for the other two most often cited "taboo" topics - politics and religion - use your judgment. With whom are you dining - do you know them well? You shouldn't talk about these more personal topics with people you are not well-acquainted with because when you do, it causes others to question your judgment in general. And even if you are close and know each other well you shouldn't bring up heavy topics like this unless you are of like mind on said topics. Otherwise disagreements can make for a tiresome dining experience.
Our one simple tip of taking three to four bites then taking a pause will not only help you keep from quickly gobbling up your food, it will help you pace your eating with the rest of the table. No one likes sitting with an empty plate in front of them when all their dining companions are still eating. So don't put yourself in that position. It's best to pace yourself with others at your table so your dining companions don't feel rushed if you're sitting their with an empty-plate. But also be mindful, you don't want to eat so slowly that you keep the entire table from moving onto the next course because they need to wait for you.
And the bites you take should be small so that your don't look like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter! That way, if someone asks you a question while you have a bit of food in your mouth you are able to respond. And when you do, refrain from covering your mouth with your hand or an arched index finger (we see this a lot). We know people are doing this in an attempt to politely shield others from seeing the food in their mouths. But if you have so much of a mouthful that you cannot elegantly and neatly talk, simply smile and finish chewing (you may even want to hold up your index finger to signal "just a sec") and then reply when you are able to speak. But if you take small enough bites this will never be an issue!
Now, please enjoy a lovely dinner!