The latest subject to hit the bookshelves deals with etiquette. Yes, that old-fashioned word and old-fashioned set of morals and standards. Somewhere over the years these became lost or thrown aside in favour of "if it feels good then do it - never mind who you offend or hurt in the process".
Well, what goes round comes round again and again, and etiquette as it applies to dining out particularly was highlighted in a number of newspapers during this past week. So how should today's diner fit in with the new Restaurant Etiquette that restaurant proprietors as well as leading chefs are saying should become part of the dining experience?
Well, this is a summary of what the Weekend Australian magazine said on Saturday 23rd April:
1. If you must take a call on your mobile ask to leave the table and take it outside the restaurant and well out of earshot of diners near windows - even better, switch off your phone before you enter the restaurant.
2. Ask the chef, waiter or maitre d' if it's OK to photograph the dishes (your meal), and state your intention. Even newspapers and magazines usually seek permission to shoot a restaurant and its food.
3. Don't take an iPad, kaptop of DVD player to a restaurant.
4. Don't check your emails, tweets or Facebook correspondence during a meal, either within view of your fellow diners or on your lap with your apparatus hidden by the tablecloth.
5. Don't take or make a call in the restaurant bathroom or toilet outside, or any private or public bathroom.
There are obviously many other points (for the simple reason that our very own Ita Buttrose has just written a book on the subject), but when it comes to mobile phones, why do people - mainly women - scream and screech loudly so that everyone knows their business, while at the same time their voices drown out what you might be saying quietly to another person. Is it that people haven't experimented with their phones to learn how easy it is to almost whisper into a mobile phone and the person you're speaking to will actually hear you! You don't have to shout!