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Text 1. A Dinner Party (B)

There are only two types of dinner party: successes and failures. If you get it right, you will have the satisfaction of being considered a social success by all your acquaintances; if you get it wrong, you will encourage the sort of silences that will explore the full meaning of the word «awkward».

The most sensible course of action is never to be a host. But you´re a show off and you want the attention, so here goes.

Although it may seem as if it´s a contradiction in terms, wherever possible, avoid having dinner parties in your own home. An alternative location that has a number of distinct advantages is a restaurant. Firstly, it enables you to conceal your domestic lifestyle (which, unless you are extremely rich and tasteful, is unlikely to withstand group scrutiny favourably).

Secondly, you don´t have to worry about your cooking. Thirdly, and most satisfyingly, you split the cost of the evening with your guests.

If, however, like most people (but, believe me, not all) you don´t have the gall to invite your friends to a DP (DATA PROCESSING) in a restaurant, you should ensure there´s an interesting line-up of guests. Therefore your party should comprise three or four couples and a single person.

It is this unfortunate person´s role to be patronised and pitied by the couples present. Naturally, you should not be this person. Note: do not entertain if you´re partnerless — it makes as much sense as competing in the mixed doubles on your own. Instead, with your arm reassuringly entwined in your partner´s, introduce your single friend with a witty line like: «This is Giles, he can´t find a girlfriend». Everyone will laugh.

Because you´re at home, there´s no getting round it, you´ll have to cook at least some of the food. However, give as much of the responsibility as possible to your guests — starters, puddings, even bits of the main course. Just tell them it´s an old Tibetan custom to bring a course, and simply everyone is doing it nowadays. It will be a conversation point.

Talking of talk, there are certain conversational conventions, which must be obeyed. Appropriate subject matters are: money, jobs, the relationships of those not present, interior design, and whether you should give money to beggars. It´s rude to talk politics, philosophy (unless you´re French) or in any informed way about anything.

Still, if after all your efforts, and your conscientious abstention from your ninth glass of wine, it´s still a disaster, quietly leave the table and go to bed. Don´t worry, your guests will let themselves out. And, anyway, you won´t be inviting them again.

Exercises:

Read and translate the text.

Underline five piecies of advice in the text.

Match the two parts of following sentences:

Avoid holding dinner parties in your own home.

Avoid serious conversation topics.

You will become a social success.

There will be embarrassing silences.

If you go to bed before the end of the text meal.

If you don´t hold

a dinner party at all.

... your guests will let themselves out.

... as long as you get it right.

. if you get it wrong.

... you won´t risk making a fool of yourself.

. unless you are with French people.

... unless you´re extremely rich and tasteful.

Give the wright answer:

You´re a guest in someone´s home. You´d like a cigarette. What would you say?

«Is it all right if I smoke?»

«Would you like a cigarette?»

Nothing and light up.

You´re visiting a friend when the phone rings. What do you expect her/him to say to her/his caller?

«It´s great to hear from you. Hold on while I get a chair!»

«Would you mind if I call you back? I´ve got a visitor here at the moment».

Nothing. It´s rude to pick up the phone when you´ve got guests.

It´s late and your neighbours are playing very loud music. What do you say to them?

«Turn down the music!»

«Could you turn the music down, please?»

Nothing. You call the police.

You meet someone at a party and get on very well. As she leaves, she/he says «Nice meeting you. We must do lunch sometime». What do you say to her/him?

«Great! Shall we make a date?»

«Would you mind giving me your phone number?»

«That´s a great idea. Bye!»

You´d like your friend to lend you a book. What do you say?

«Lend it to me, will you?»

«It´s much too expensive for me to buy.»

«Would you mind lending it to me?»

Your host serves food you don´t like. You eat it, but then the host offers you more. What do you say?

«It was very nice, but «no», thank you. I´ve had enough».

«Yes, would you mind if I only had a little?»

«No way. What was that, anyway?»

Text 2. Invitation for Dinner (A)

They invite Linda for dinner at 8.00, and she arrives at 7.30. At the door, she takes off her shoes and gives them some ice cream for the dessert, and a bottle of wine. They offer her a drink? which she politely refuses. Five minutes later, she pours herself a glass of wine.

At the table, they serve the onion soup, first to Linda, who starts eating immediately. She breaks her bread into the soup, and when she has finished she helps herself to some more. She then has a cigarette while she waits for everyone else to finish. The next course is beef, which she refuses without giving a reason. She is offered some chicken, which she eats, mostly with her fingers. She finishes her meal, leaving her knife and fork on the table.

During the meal, she talks very little and doesn´t say anything about the food. She also refuses dessert, saying she is on a diet. After dinner, she stays for about 15 minutes, then says, «I really have to go now», and leaves

immediately.

The next day, she telephones, saying how much she enjoyed the evening, and asks for the recipe for the soup.

Exercises:

Read and translate the text.

Which of linda´s actions are acceptable in this country, and which are not? Discuss in groups.

You should ... .

You shouldn´t ... .

You mustn´t . .

You don´t have to ... .

If you ..., you should ... .

In this country people usually ... .

It´s (a bit) rude to ... .

Text 3. Make yourself at Home (A)

«In my country men usually go to restaurants on their own. They always take their shoes off before they go in. Then they usually sit on the floor around a small, low table. In the evening they often sing songs».

«You usually take chocolates or flowers. But you always take an odd number of flowers, and you remove the paper before you give them to the hostess. You can also send flowers before you arrive. You don´t usually take wine except when you visit very close friends».

«We always offer our guests something to drink when they arrive — tea, coffee or perhaps water or soft drinks. We think it is polite to accept a drink even if you´re not thirsty. If you visit someone you always stay for a few drinks. When you have had enough to drink, you tap your cap or put your hand over it. If you say «no», your host will insist that you have more to drink».

«People´s private lives are very important so they never ask you personal questions about your family or where you live or your job. They never talk about religion or matters of finance, education or politics, but usually stay with safe subjects like the weather, films, plays, books and restaurants».

«It´s difficult to know when to leave, but an evening meal usually lasts about three or four hours. When the host serves coffee, this is sometimes a sign that the evening is nearly over, but you can have as much coffee as you want».

«If the invitation says «eight o´clock,» then we arrive exactly at eight. With friends we know well, we sometimes arrive about fifteen minutes before».

«Obviously it depends on the occasion, but most dinner parties are informal. The men don´t usually wear a suit, but they may wear a jacket and tie. Women are usually smart but casual».

Exercises:

Read and translate the text.

«Make yourself at home» is about hospitality in Germany, Saudi Arabia,

Britain and Japan. Read it and match these headings with the paragraphs.

3) Work in pairs. Match the countries and the paragraphs and give your reasons.

MODEL: I think paragraph 1 is Japan because they sit on the floor in Japan.

Text 3. English Table Manners (A)

Don´t put your elbows on the table. Sit facing the table and keep your feet under you, don´t stretch them all the way under the table. Never stretch over the table for something you want, ask your neighbour to pass it. Take a slice of bread from the bread plate by hand, don´t harpoon your bread with a fork. Don´t bite into the whole slice, break it off piece by piece. Vegetables, potatoes, macaroni are placed on your fork with the help of your knife. Cut your meat into small pieces, one piece at a time. Chicken requires special handling. Just cut as much as you can and when you can´t use knife and fork any longer, use your fingers. Don´t use a knife for fish, cutlets or omelettes. Don´t eat off the knife. Don´t lick your spoon. Try to make as little noise as possible when eating, or they´ll say you´re a noisy eater. Don´t talk with your mouth full. Never read while eating (at least in company). Never spoil your neighbour´s appetite by criticising what he is eating. The customary way to refuse a dish is by saying: «No, thank you». Don´t say, «I don´t eat that stuff and don´t make faces to show you don´t like it. If you really feel hungry ask for a second helping. And finally don´t forget to say «thank you» for every act of kindness. By the way, English people do not wish each other «Good appetite».

Exercises:

Read the text. Are these manners only English? What do you think?

Answer the following questions:

Do you usually use a knife and fork? If so, what hand do you hold them in?

Do you use a napkin? If so, where do you put it?

Where do you put your fork when you have finished your meal?

Where do you put your hands when you´re at the table but not eating?

Do you eat cake with a fork or a spoon?

What food do you usually eat with your fingers at the dining table?

When do you usually drink coffee and tea?

When do you smoke during a meal?

What do you say and do when someone raises his glass?

What kind of food do you like to have when you want to entertain people?

Do you make the preparation in advance or on the day?

How do you make your guests feel really «at home?»

How would you lay table for the guests?

What about the menu?

If hostess asks you whether you would like another cup of tea, what would you reply:

if you wanted one;

if you didn´t want one?

Look at the words in the word box. Group the words under these headings: things to eat, things on the table, things to cook with, _ parts of the body and things to stay when eating or drinking.

MODEL: Things to eat: chips, ...

4) Work in pairs and check your answers. Think of two or three other words which you can add to each group. (You can use a dictionary if necessary).


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