Dining Etiquette: Soup & Salad

Eating Soup

Eating soup at a business meal may be tricky. Whether thick, or thin, vegetable or cream, you do not want to find yourself with soup down the front of your suit. Here is how to eat soup properly.

When you are served soup or bouillon in a cup with handles, or even a small bowl, it’s acceptable to pick it up and drink the soup.

When eating soup in a bowl, dip the spoon into the soup, until it is about two-thirds full to avoid spilling. Spoon the soup from the center of the plate away from you, towards the center of the bowl. Sip from the side of the spoon (without slurping).

When eating thick soup, it is appropriate to eat the solid portion —such as vegetables—from the end of the spoon. It is perfectly fine to tilt the bowl slightly (again, away from the body) to get the last spoonful or two of soup.

The spoon should rest where it is least likely to fall. When resting, place the spoon in the bowl. This sends a message to the server that you are still eating.

When finished, place the spoon on the right side of the underplate where the soup bowl sits, never on the tablecloth. If a cup is used, place the spoon on the plate, if a soup plate is used; if not, leave it resting in the soup container.

Eating Salad

In North America, salad is usually served before the entrée. If the salad is served before or after the main course, use the salad fork. However, if you are served large pieces or a whole wedge of lettuce, cut one bite at a time, using the knife provided.

Don’t slice and dice the entire salad at once, or toss it. It is preferable to cut large salad pieces than to attempt to stuff large bites of food in your mouth. If the salad is considered the main course, use the entrée fork.