While any meal can be considered a success if it doesn't end with EMTs trying in vain to dig impacted potatoes from your windpipe, even asphyxiation-free dining can be just as shameful if you don't keep in mind the countless, arbitrary rules that bring a touch of class to any meal. To make sure any of your future dinners with the richest monarchs of Europe go off without a hitch, Something Awful is proud to present updates to the unspoken code of conduct that separates the Burger Kings from the Burger Paupers.

  • If you've mastered the specific uses of the dinner, salad, and dessert forks, congratulations: You are now ready to move on to the five advanced utensils now present at most dignified meals. To avoid embarrassment, read up on the following dining tools at your discretion: Pizza shovel, soup oar, calamari trident, lobster maiden, and veal siren.
  • Always remember: eat to the left, drink to the right, give compliments clockwise, and belligerently offer poorly-informed political opinions starting with the person to your left, then the rest of your dinner guests according to their running speed in descending order.
  • If at any point you must get up and leave the table, place your napkin in front of you, folded no less than three times, at a subtle 17-degree angle extending from the northwest portion of your plate. Haphazardly placing your napkin anywhere else will signal to the rest of your guests that you have informally volunteered yourself to be hunted for sport following the aperitif.
  • Should you find the food on your plate distasteful, do not make any remarks about it publicly. Simply stay seated, and with the power of deep concentration, try to wish everyone else at the table out of existence. If you find your terrifying mind powers lacking or absent, find a way to covertly slip this offending food to the four dogs sitting at the north, south, east, and west corners of the table, in accordance to the guidelines of feng shui.
  • Olives: Don't eat olives.
  • When at a formal dinner party, no one may eat until the first bite of food has passed the host or hostess' third inch of esophagus. To protect yourself from possible fake-outs, it has become customary for guests to bring their own powerful X-ray equipment and a certified radiologist to any formal dining event.
  • Keep elbows off of the table. Do not even acknowledge joints of any kind. They were put there by the devil so we could touch ourselves.
  • Should you have to leave the table to use the restroom, do not inform fellow guests of your intent. Instead, craft an elaborate story about why you will be absent for the next 5 - 10 minutes, tastefully using utensils, entrees, and the table setting as props. Guests are encouraged to "yes, and" your story until extreme bladder and/or bowel pain prompts impolite screaming.
  • When a woman leaves a table, all men should stand and begin flexing until she returns. The first one to sit once her body makes contact with her chair is now permitted to tell one (1) high school sports story, track excluded.
  • Fingers are incredibly rude and should not at any point be extended or bent during a meal. Instead, press the offending digits together into crude mitts until your hands resemble those of a character from Grand Theft Auto III.
  • When eating baby corn, it is incredibly offensive to pretend you're a gigantic Native American. Instead, choose another marginalized group that's not so overused to mock with your hilarious accents and exaggerated pantomime.
  • If the salad is served before or after the main course, use the smaller fork. If the salad is considered the main course, the host is terrible and you should leave immediately.
  • Prayers up to three minutes in length are permitted before a meal. Eerie, rhythmic chants are frowned upon, barring the discovery of one of The Old Ones in a fallen meteor, petrified tree stump, deep ocean cave, etc.
  • When determining a tip for your restaurant meal, a good rule of thumb is to find the member of your party capable of the preposterous ability to determine 15% of any amount. This person is no doubt a math wizard, and, when killed, the treasure contained within their body will easily compensate for any overtipping you may do in the future.

– The Yolo Gourmet

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