What To Do With Pits And Bones At The Dining Table

Fruit Pits and Bones

The general consensus of the experts on etiquette is that the “graveyard” of the dinner plate is its upper left side; it is there that all things inedible must go.  It is there, for example, that pits are placed and bones are laid to rest—after they have been eaten clean. But it is the manner in which they are placed there that may sometimes be a matter for debate.  Pits and bones large enough such that they will not slip through the tines of a fork are removed from the mouth—again, only after they have been eaten clean—by placing the fork, tines held sideways and upward, slightly against the lips, so that the item in the mouth, with the aid of the tongue and the lips, may be carefully released unto the tines of the fork, thereafter to be carefully lowered onto the plate. When items are so small or thin that they would slip through the tines of a fork, they are removed from the mouth with the fingers or released from the mouth into a loosely fisted hand, depending on the item. A thin fish bone, for example, would be removed with the thumb and index finger then placed onto the plate, while the seed of an orange would be deposited directly from the mouth into a loosely fisted hand and then released onto the plate.  Never—ever—should one’s napkin be used in an attempt to discretely conceal items being removed from one’s mouth or to conceal items once they have been removed from one’s mouth.

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