How To Properly Butter Your Bread At The Dinner Table

How to properly butter your bread at the dinner table. Tips on the proper way to butter bread and eat it at the dinner table. Maura Graber, who has been teaching manners to children and adults for 15 years...

Maura Graber, who has been teaching manners to children and adults for 15 years and is the director of The R.S.V.P. Institute of Etiquette, offers this advice: "One should never cut the actual roll; one should break off small pieces of it. That is the proper way...Most people I see cut the roll in half, make 'butter sandwiches' and take bites out of them. Many will cut a roll in half, butter it, take bites out of that half, and they windup with butter all over their fingers, all over their mouths and with things stuck in their teeth. Here is the proper way to eat a roll: Break off one piece at a time and butter that one piece. You have to judge whether it is a small enough size. You don't want to look like a hamster, either. One benefit of eating a smaller piece is that you will not get crumbs and butter stuck on your lips, nor will you have crumbs all over yourself." Another tip is to break the bread "over the bread plate instead of bringing the roll closer to yourself (to prevent getting) crumbs all over your clothing".


If you are having breakfast or brunch, butter your toast with a light hand. This helps avoid getting crumbs all over the table and also aids in the prevention of the annoying scraping noise this action typically causes.




A lot of people gesture with their hands while talking. It is not proper etiquette to point any object at another person, especially one that is shiny, halfway sharp and full of a product such as butter then can easily slip off and land on the other person's plate or clothes. If you are someone that "talks with their hands", it is especially important that you be conscious of that fact while holding your knife or any other utensil.

If you are not provided with your own butter saucer, you need to remember a few essential rules of proper decorum. "Double dipping" is not just for chips and dip. If you have taken a bite out of your bread, do not re-butter it out of a communal dish; even if it is on a part that hasn't touched your lips. Also, request an extra clean napkin to wipe your knife off in-between servings so you do not get pieces of your bread in the butter dish. It may not bother you, but it is a common pet-peeve and complaint of others. Obviously, never lick your knife, even at the end of the meal. If it falls on the floor, the "three second rule" has no place in good manners. Ask the server or your host and/or hostess for a new one.

The etiquette on how to properly butter your bread at the dinner table isn't about confusing stipulations. It's just considering the feelings of others. Respect your fellow diners and you'll do just fine.

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