The Rules of Enjoying Soup

Just like ships go out to sea, I spoon my soup away from me.” This is one of those sayings that grandmothers used to teach youngsters on the correct way to eat soup.

Rarely should one exert energy watching people eat, however for experimental purposes only; observe other’s soup decorum while dining out this Fall. You’ll probably notice that the casual diner improperly drops his/her head toward the soup bowl; blows the soup; slurps the soup; spoons inward toward the body; and leaves the spoon in the bowl when finished.

Now, if the aforementioned practices seem normal, I would invite you to carefully review the following tips I have provided for consuming soup properly.

Soup Etiquette:

  • Don’t bend your head toward the soup bowl; rather slightly bend inward from the base of your spine without slumping. Keep your back straight and raise the spoon all the way up to your mouth.
  • When eating soup, spoon away from your body. Enter from the front and move to the back of the bowl, allowing the spoon to wipe the back rim of the dish. (There are a few exceptions, one being french onion soup which should be spooned inward.)
  • Soups are not to be blown. If the soup is hot, patiently wait 1-2 minutes, and then fill the spoon, skimming from the top of the soup.
  • Clear soups, broths and heartier soups are eaten by placing the spoon point first in the mouth. No slurping allowed.
  • Crackers are not to be crumbled into soups. However, oyster crackers can be enjoyed in chowders.
  • Soups should be served with the soup bowl on a service plate underneath. When you finish your soup, leave the spoon on the service plate, not in the soup bowl or on the tablecloth.
  • Soups served in a cup with two handles (lug soup bowl) can be picked up and drunk, after you use your spoon to eat the croutons or chanterelle on top.

Depending on the soup, several different spoons can be used:

  • Small round spoon for clear soups
  • Large oval spoon for cream soups and broths with vegetables
  • Porcelain spoon for Chinese soups

This fall as you’re enjoying a warm, hearty bowl of corn chowder, split pea, minestrone, consommé, lobster bisque, vichyssoise, or traditional chicken noodle soup, exhibit proper soup decorum. You never know who’s watching.

Until next time….Happy Dining!

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.