Dear Ms. Manners,
Can you please tell me what is the proper etiquette for eating hors
d’oeuvres at a cocktail party?
I know, like duh, doesn’t everyone know how to eat hors d’oeuvres? Well,
obviously not if I have to ask Ms. Manners.
Several weeks ago, I attended a very fancy schmancy cocktail party in
Beverly Hills. I know what you are thinking, who in their right mind would
invite lil’ ole’ me to a party where I, yes I, would rub elbows with famous
Now I know how to eat hors d’oeuvres. But, at this party, I had a front row
seat to watch a ‘famous person’ eat hors d’oeuvres as if they were from Mars.
Really. It was so ‘shocking beyond the pale,’ that I felt I was watching an
episode from the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm.
As a matter of fact, it could have been an episode from that show, because
the actress who portrays Larry David’s ex-wife just happened to be at this
event. Her real-life husband, may or may not have been at this event.
Scene of the Crime
Let’s set the scene of the crime: Waiters were serving fancy hors d’oeuvres.
In truth, I was hungry. However, I waited for the hors d’oeuvres that would
compliment my picky palette.
And hello, a waiter finally offered to me a beautiful silver serving platter
of small, delicate blini’s topped with caviar and a little ‘dot’ of Crème
Fraîche. Oh yeah baby, come to mama!
As a refined woman, who is well aware of cocktail party etiquette, prior to
taking one blini, I first asked the waiter for a cocktail napkin and then I
carefully took one blini from the serving tray, so as NOT to touch any other
blinis on the tray. Remember, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. We hate
Perhaps it was because I was starving, but damn… that blini was beyond
Scene of the Crime
The waiter moved on to another guest to offer a blini. Oy vey. Here we go.
I recognized the guest the waiter was serving. How could anyone not? Comes
from a very famous family, who had a very famous Father, and a very, very
famous Uncle. He even has a famous wife actress (who may or may not be at this
Now, I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch this particular guest ‘eat’
the blini. In my life, I have never, ever witnessed such a dining spectacle at
a cocktail party. A fancy schmancy one no less.
The guest was standing by himself as he literally attacked the serving tray
of blinis. His wife was not with him, perhaps she had been at a cocktail party
or two with him and knew better.
I watched him eat the first one. Clearly, he has good taste, because I could
see he liked the FIRST BLINI. How did I know he liked the blini? Because he
would not let the waiter leave… and then the guest went for the second blini.
And the third. Now the serving tray was commandeered by this guest and has
become his personal plate. Yes, he effectively hogged the blinis.
And then it happened. I saw this in slow-motion. This is how it repeats over
and over and over in my mind. Like a horror story. The guest had a blini in his
hand that was en-route to his mouth that was open. And just like that, he
dropped the blini that was almost in his mouth, and it fell to the serving
tray. Yuck! Germs alert!
I was aghast! I had never seen that happen at a cocktail party. Even the
parties that serve pigs in blankets and bagel bites.
You ask yourself: Did the guest stop eating? Did the guest survey the tray
to find the blini he touched that was almost in his mouth? You know, to make
sure that no other guest would get contaminated with his germs during a
pandemic. Oh but, wait, I do not believe this person is a follower of Dr.
This guest never missed a beat. I ask, where is Larry David when you need
him? Where is Larry David’s TV ex-wife to stop this travesty? Oy vey. This
guest jumped back into that tray, and indiscriminately picked another blini and
tossed it in his mouth. Oh, but wait, there is more. Now he was seemingly hell
bent on clearing the tray of blinis. No matter there were other guests.
Now, to optimize eating, the guest was crafty. He actually combined two
blinis and made a sandwich. You betcha baby! Standing their all by himself. The
ingenuity to maximize hogging the plate.
And just if you were wondering, he did clear the tray. At some point, he did
eat the blini that he dropped, but did it matter at that point?
Where are the etiquette police when you need them? Oh, they are probably badgering someone who is eating a bagel bite at a backyard BBQ.