I know a thing or two about a salad fork.
I never panic around a charger plate.
And you can bet I memorized which glass is for wine and which is for water.
I grew up a mile down the road from one of the biggest catering companies in northeastern Pennsylvania.
When I turned 16 and needed a job, I knocked on The Epicurean Delight’s door.
In a hand-me-down necktie and long, black apron, I was quickly thrust into a world of silver flatware and delicate china.
I passed hors d’oeuvres in homes that had kitchens bigger than my entire first apartment.
I watched brides say “I do” and clink heirloom toasting glasses. I rolled sushi, stirred risotto and assembled crepes to order.
And, in the process, I learned my way around a table setting. Though, sadly, that cooking prowess didn’t transfer outside the catering world.
But because I can fold a napkin into a French pleat, I tend to think I know a thing or two about proper etiquette.
However, even I learned a few things in this issue. OK, a lot of things, since Miss Manners I apparently am not.
Hopefully you will find a few takeaways, too — consider it a crash course in manners.
Inside, look for tips on teaching your little ones to mind their p’s and q’s. Local experts weigh in on page 54 with age-appropriate etiquette lessons. The key? Time, patience, practice and plenty of reinforcement.
You’ll also learn how to work out like a lady in the gym. Yes, even sweating in public comes with a list of preferred behaviors — check it out on page 7.
And we’ll teach you how to share. Whether it’s a cramped closet or a gender-neutral space, learn to live together in harmony — without too many floral pillows. Our home section begins on page 24.
I’m excited to introduce our newest columnist, Sarah Mock. Sarah has been sharing money-saving ideas on her blog since 2009, and we’re delighted to bring you her penny-pinching tips to our readers. For January, she tackles the topic of regifting. On page 22, she says it’s what’s on the outside that really counts when presenting a present to a new owner.
From cellphones to thank-you cards to table settings, you’ll find all the do’s and don’ts inside this issue of Smart.
And what better way to start the new year than with a handbook of proper behavior for every social situation?
I can’t think of a more proper way to ring in 2013.