How to Properly Eat Soup

August 26, 2014  |     |   0 Comment

Business woman is having lunchMy blog focus for the month of August is all about etiquette surrounding what I love most – food, wine and dining!

It’s true – you “eat” soup, not “drink” it.  As a dining etiquette expert, as well as a business person that attends many meetings that take place over a meal, I have observed many different “styles” of how people eat their soup. For many, how to properly eat soup is a mystery!

Here are 12 dining etiquette tips that take the mystery out of how to do so, and ensure that the next time you are eating soup, you have the technique mastered:

1. The soup spoon will be placed on the far right of your main plate, to the right of the knives.  It is served before the main course. Use your utensils from the outside, in.

2.Soup is often served in (a) a wide, shallow soup plate, (b) a deeper soup bowl, (c) a small bouillon cup, about the size of a teacup, for clear broth or, (d) a two-handled bouillon cup for cream soups.

3. The soup spoon is held the way a pencil is held, steadied between the index finger and the middle finger, except that the thumb is turned up, rather than down, as when one is writing. Left-handed people may reverse the position.

4. Soup is spooned away from you toward the centre of the soup plate.  Sip the soup from the side of the spoon.

5. Both hot and cold soup served in a two-handled cream soup bowl or bouillon cup, are eaten with a bouillon spoon, which has a round bowl and is smaller than a soup spoon.

6. If you are served soup in a soup plate, it is very shallow, so the spoon is placed on the soup plate between sips and when you have finished.  The handle rests at 4:00 on a clock face.

7. If it is served in a deep soup bowl or a small bouillon cup, another plate or saucer will be placed underneath the bowl.  Always rest the spoon on the plate below the bowl, not in the bowl itself. The handle rests at 4:00 on a clock face. Never leave the spoon in a cup or bowl.

8. If your soup is too hot, don’t blow on it to cool it off, wait for it to cool down.

9. Never slurp your soup.

10. The soup plate, bowl or bouillon cup may be tipped away from you in order to fill the spoon with the last sips of soup.

11. In a formal setting, it’s best not to wipe up any remaining soup with your bread – keep that for less formal occasions at home or with friends.

12. Do glance around the table at the other guests and pace your eating. You don’t want to be the first or the last person to finish a course.  Awareness is key.

Do you have an important business meeting coming up that is taking place over a meal? Want to brush up on your dining etiquette skills? Please contact me to learn about my personal consultation services and how I can help you; or for a complimentary half-hour consultation: or 613-321-5159.

Erin Crotty is a certified and trained expert in Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol from the Protocol School of Washington.


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