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20-40-60 Etiquette: Balancing act

20-40-60 Etiquette answers how to juggle your drink glass and food plate at the buffet table, with The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond as guest.
BY CALLIE GORDON, LILLIE-BETH BRINKMAN, HELEN FORD WALLACE Published: February 10, 2012
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QUESTION: Is there a proper way to juggle your food and drink at a buffet table? I had my plate full of finger foods and I had my drink in my hand, too. I set my glass down on the buffet table every time I added food. I guess I should have gotten my drink later, but at that time, I just had my hands full. Any ideas?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Leave your drink at the table if that is possible. If it is not possible, place your glass somewhere and then go through the line. Go back and get it when you are finished with the line.

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: I have heard this dilemma explained recently to fifth- and sixth-graders taking cotillion classes. They are taught to hold their plates, drinks and napkins in their left hands so their right hands are free to shake hands or get food on their plates. It takes a bit of practice to juggle these items properly, and it is especially awkward for tweens who are trying to learn the basics, such as making eye contact during an introduction. However, it's possible: You can place the plate between two of your fingers and then anchor the drink on the edge of the plate between your thumb and forefinger. Otherwise, leave your drink on the table when you get your food or get a new drink after you're through the line.

HELEN'S ANSWER: The balancing act of holding both a drink and a plate gets a little tricky sometimes. I have seen people drop both the plate and the glass. And I have tried the method of setting the drink on the buffet table as I added food, but it definitely was awkward and I held up the line while I found a place to put my glass every time I added food.

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