Quote: How to Eat Grapes

Grapes  Cut a bunch or section of bunch from bunches in bowl with knife or scissors (never absent-mindedly pull off grapes from centerpieces or arrangement of fruit). Eat one grape at a time, after placing bunch on serving plate. Grape skins, if you can’t eat, should be cleaned in the mouth but not chewed, then removed in the cupped hand with the pits and placed on the side of the plate. Or, holding the grape with the stem end to the lips pop the inside into the mouth and lay skin on the side of plate – if they will pop.

-Amy Vanderbilt

GrapesThis five-decades-old advice still stands, well at least the first part. The last technique sounds pretty darn risky. If you serve grapes, take the next step and cut them into small serving size bunches. It may not look as dramatic but your guests will like it. Or, if you have grape sheers (these are not just a Victorian frill, Google it) get them out!

Vanderbilt, Amy. “Chapter Twenty-Seven/Manners at the Table/How to Eat Various Foods.” Amy Vanderbilt’s Complete Guild to Etiquette. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1952. 237. Print.

Notes: The Buffet

The_BuffetWith gathering and being a guest this season, we are all likely to come upon The Buffet. This is a easy way to serve a crowd but can be unnerving to navigate. As always, a bit of thought and practice before an encounter is  helpful.



  • It is a party, not a race and there is usually more than enough.
  • Wait your turn, be in the moment, speak to those around you, The Buffet is part of the party.
  • Refrain from eating while in line.
  • Serve a modest portion, it will be easier to manage if you have to eat standing up.


  • Hold a plate. Put it in your left hand, with the palm facing up, under your thumb and on top of your pointer finger. This will leave the right hand available for serving and shaking hands.
  • Add a napkin. It should go under your plate. If you know you have to eat standing, open the napkin before tucking it between your middle and pointer fingers securing it with the weight of the plate. This way, you can wipe the figures of your right hand as needed.
  • Now, add utensils. It or they go under your plate using the pointer and/or middle fingers to hold them.
  • Place a beverage glass. It can go in the area of you palm created by holding the plate, secure the glass with your ring and little fingers.
  • Serve food to your plate.

To manage this process with confidence and grace, really does require practice.It is a bit of a juggle. Just like parallel parking or the correct use of its and it’s, managing The Buffet takes repetition. The time, well spent, will allow for the full enjoyment of the company and food.