It's the little things that count with manners, including the proper way to eat bread and butter when dining in company. These tips will make you a pleasant and knowledgeable dining companion:
• A basket with rolls, sliced breads, crackers, and/or breadsticks may be passed at the table, or a roll may already be on your bread plate.
• As with all food at the table, bread baskets are always passed to the right. If you are the host, pass the basket to the right but first offer it to the person on your direct left so he or she does not have to wait until the basket goes all around the table. For larger groups, there should be more than one basket on the table.
• If a basket is passed, take only one roll at a time. You can always have seconds!
• If you are served bread, place it on your bread plate, which is the small plate to the left of your dinner plate. If butter is passed, place one pat on your bread plate. If the butter is in foil, remove the foil, fold it, and place to the side of your bread plate.
• The golden rule of eating bread is to break off a small piece, hold it in your fingers (not your palm), and butter it one bite at a time, using a butter knife if one is lying on your bread plate. Never butter an entire roll all at once!
• Bread may de dipped (or sopped) in gravy or soup, but be careful not to drip the liquid on your plate or clothes.
Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, on-air contributor and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and www.Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.