6 Food faux pas and how to recover gracefully

May 5, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. ET

Don't embarrass yourself and your dinner date by committing these foodie faux pas. If you do accidentally slip up, we've got quick face-saving remedies.

Eating pizza with a fork and knife
Photo credit: iStock / 360 / Getty images



We're not sure how much we can help you if this is something you do on the regular, but if you accidentally slip up and double-dip at a party, you can try to recover. Using a clean spoon, scoop out the dip around where you double-dipped and dish it onto your plate. It's not perfect, but it will minimize the gross quotient. Oh, and the flip-and-dip isn't acceptable either.


Serving overcooked meat

The last thing you want to do is serve dry, overdone food at a party or cookout. While you want to spend as much time socializing with your guests as possible, if you're grilling, take those few minutes to focus on the food — not the conversation. Believe us, your guests will thank you. And if you do get a little distracted and overcook a burger, encourage guests to pile on the condiments.


Cutting pizza with a knife and fork

No, you probably won't end up with your photo in the tabloids like New York mayor Bill de Blasio, but you will be mocked mercilessly by your friends. The easiest remedy: Put down the knife and fork, grab an extra napkin or two and fold that slice like a pro.


Taking a too-large portion at a potluck

You can't exactly scoop back part of what you put on your plate (that might be worse than double-dipping). Instead, compensate with smaller portions of the rest of the dishes you try. Remember, it's better to take seconds once everyone has had their fair share.


Obsessively photographing your food

Yes, we all fall prey to the tendency to Instagram our lunch occasionally. But don't always be the one to whip out your phone. If you make your living as a restaurant reviewer, you're given a free pass, but otherwise read the room. If no one else is taking photos, you shouldn't be, either. If you realize this too late, discreetly take the photo and put your phone away pronto. And please — make sure the flash is turned off.


Ignoring other cultures

Before you travel to a foreign country or eat in an authentic ethnic restaurant, do a quick search on whether or not there are any specific faux pas. For example, rubbing your chopsticks together is rude in most any Asian restaurant, as is eating with your left hand in an Ethiopian restaurant. Do your homework and let Google keep you out of the doghouse.

Never an uncomfortable moment, sponsored by Sanuk.


What's the worst food faux pas you've ever committed? Tell us how you recovered in the comments.

More dining etiquette

Modern Manners 101: Expert etiquette advice for today's tricky situations
How to be the perfect guest
What to do if you don't like your restaurant meal