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B O O K S

MODERN MANNERS

This guide to present-day etiquette is just the ‘Ticket’ By Morgan Weston

I

F YOU GREW UP

saying “ma’am” and “sir” and wouldn’t dream of licking your knife or talking with your mouth full, then pull up a chair, place your napkin in your lap and tuck in to Kimberly Kyser’s “Ticket: A Guidebook for the Table” – you’ll soon feel right at home. As “Ticket” illustrates, the social cues we follow, from handshakes to small talk, are thousands of years in the making. Chapel Hill born-and-bred Kimberly explains the history of these mores and how to translate them to today’s business lunch or evening dinner party. Examples include when it is appropriate to use your cell phone (almost never) and how to handle sensitive conversation topics, such as employment status (try “Tell me about yourself,” or “What do you do for fun?” instead). Kimberly’s personal anecdotes, combined with research on customs

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from ancient Greece to medieval England to today, provide a unique look at why we eat, dress and socialize the way we do – including some facts that may surprise even the most sophisticated gourmand. For example, most Europeans ate with their hands until Catherine de’ Medici, bride of Henry II, arrived to the court of France in 1533. Italians invented the table fork, and as a noble of Florence, Catherine brought along her traditional cadena, “a small and decorative box containing her personal fork and knife set,” with her to Paris. For those uninitiated in dining etiquette, “Ticket” is also an easy-to-follow primer, complete with photos of place settings, explanations of which fork to use for which course and a tidy list of do’s and don’ts for the dinner table. As Kimberly says, “Table manners are like dance steps. Once you’ve learned them, you never again stare at your feet.” Far from a stale rule book, this fresh take is one to savor. CHM

Chapel Hill Magazine April 2017  
Chapel Hill Magazine April 2017