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Dinner Etiquette

Main Core Tie

FCS Exploration
Strand 7 Standard 1

Additional Core Ties

FCS Exploration
Strand 7 Standard 4

Time Frame

4 class periods of 45 minutes each

Life Skills



Valerie Aubrey


Dinner is the main meal of the day. It is appropriate that correct table setting and etiquette be used at the dinner table.


Cut outs of table-setting pieces; pictures of food, copies of the pretest, and picture cards; supplies for labs; videos also work well

Background for Teachers

Dinner is the largest meal in American culture. A complete dinner has 3 parts. 1/2 of the plate is vegetables, 1/4 of the plate is protein, and 1/4 of the plate is a grain. These can be separate or combined in one dish.

  1. The Main Dish usually contains protein such as chicken, beef, or fish. It can be combined with the grain and vegetable in meals such as spaghetti, stir-fry, enchiladas, or hamburgers, etc.
  2. Grains include bread, rolls, pasta, tortillas, and rice.
  3. Green, orange, or yellow vegetables includes salad, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, etc.

Beverages include water, milk, lemonade, sodas, etc. Desserts are optional and often served after dinner. They may be fruit based (fruit salad)), milk based (ice cream, pudding), or grain based (cakes and cookies).

Etiquette is the rules for correct behavior in certain situations such as a date, or dinner party with friends. The purpose is to get to know each other, while enjoying the meal without any distractions. Etiquette for the dinner table includes table setting and proper table manners. A table set correctly will have the dinner plate in the middle. Starting on the left of the plate going left to right, there is the dinner fork, salad fork, and napkin. On the right of the plate going left to right, there is the knife (sharp blade towards the plate) and spoon. Above the knife is the glass. Above the dinner fork is the roll plate.

Proper table manners include watching and following the host. Place the napkin in your lap. Don't eat until the host starts. Use silverware from the outside in. Cut and eat meat one piece at a time. Pull off, butter, and eat one piece of roll at a time. It's okay to use fingers with finger foods. Cross the knife and fork if you are leaving your place and are coming back to finish. When finished, place the fork and knife on the plate parallel to the table edge. Place the napkin neatly to the left of the plate.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will create a complete dinner menu that is nutritious and appetizing. Students will create and serve a meal using proper etiquette.

Instructional Procedures

  • Lecture/Notes on dinner and etiquette. Use table-setting templates on the overhead as you talk about them.
  • Give students a pre-test of basic dinner etiquette. Discuss.
  • Have students write dinner menus, or combine pictures of food to create complete dinner meals.
  • For labs, I have students cook a main dish, a bread, beverage and/or a dessert. You can use any recipe. I have used these recipes: Ramen noodle stir-fry, spaghetti, cheese soup, breadsticks, lemonade, apple crisp, and no-bake cookies. Students set the table using correct table settings. They sit down together and enjoy the meal using proper etiquette.

Assessment Plan

Check student's dinner combinations to see that they are complete. Check off tables set correcty. Observe and comment on good etiquette while students are eating.

Created: 06/09/2003
Updated: 06/09/2023