Now that you know how to strategically
choose a seat for dinner (and just in time for Passover and Easter, phew!), you’d better brush up on your party guest manners. Andrew Zimmern sat down with the to discuss his own tactics and — given his travel schedule — we tend to trust him on the topic. Though, strangely, he doesn’t recommend saying things like, “this Wall Street Journal food is BIZARRE. Hey everyone, look at the weird things these people are eating!” Guess that’s kind of his own schtick.
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Don't Just Sit There Like You're The Host of a Popular TV Show
Help out! Chop something, wash a dish for goodness sake.
Share Personal Stories
This one time, at chef camp...
"What comes from the heart reaches the heart—sharing deep personal experiences that you've had connects you with other people."
Oh, hey Rachel. Endorse any new dog food lately?
"The perfect dinner guest should be gracious and interested in the people around him or her."
Get To Know Your Hosts
Cool bunny, bro.
"Look for ways to connect—walk around your host's living room and ask them about the tchotchkes they have."
Be Newsy But Not
Adding pop culture references and newsy tidbits to a conversation is a great way to stay engaged. But, he suggests being up on the no-no topics to be safe: race, religion, politics, people's mothers, that sort of thing.
Bring a Thoughtful Yet Modest Gift
I got you this.
"Spending a lot embarrasses your hosts and shames the other guests. I like to bring something that can be shared—some food or beverage item from my travels is always good, like rare bottles of soy sauce."
Be Aware of Cultural Norms
Once, in Fez, Morocco, Zimmern tried to give the matriarch of a conservative family a hug and kiss on the cheek. Oops.
"She fell back in a kung fu move, desperate to avoid my touch—oh my god, I was so embarrassed," he told
Don't Over Stay Your Welcome
Peace out, new friends!
"The key as a guest is to leave 5 minutes before you feel you should."
Say Thank You Like The Dinner Was The Best Night of Your Life
He says, "a handwritten card is the nicest thing in the world...and you should send it the next morning. If you're going to send a note a week later … the only excuse for that timing is that you left on a trip the very next morning." Something tells us he sends a lot of thank-yous a week later.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org