Tackling the soup de jour

Ms Manners,

I know there is a right way to eat soup but I can never remember it. I feel really self-conscious when I eat soup in front of clients. What should I do?


Ah yes, soup (and the way you break your bread) is a surefire way to display your etiquette aptitude.


In western culture we do not slurp, we do not loudly sip, add ice or feel the soup’s temperature with our fingers.


Starting at the section of the bowl closest to you, you scoop the soup with your spoon away from you and towards the centre of the bowl, lift and (quietly) sip the soup from the side of your spoon; never from the tip.


Keep in mind the “silent service code” we have talked about previously and know what you are doing with your cutlery.


Rest your spoon in the soup bowl if you are still eating and once you are finished your soup place the spoon on the plate underneath the bowl.


Remember, cutlery never touches the table again once it has been used.


Lastly, many people would think it is just commonsense but I must mention this faux pas – don’t tuck your napkin in to your shirt.


It is not just rules of etiquette that is telling you this. In my research 63% of people would care if you did the tuck too (these people reacted in disgust and provided comments such as “I’m not eating with a three-year-old” and “I would not want to do business or be associated with someone obviously raised by wolves”) so keep your napkin where it belongs (hint: on your lap).


If you are that much of a grub when you eat, then you have two options:

  1. Don’t order messy food items such as soup.
  2. Avoid eating in business settings altogether. Webinars and teleconferences may be a safer bet for you.

Enjoy your new confidence and the game of etiquette.


Kind Regards,

Ms. Manners


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