Here are some essential dining etiquette rules that you should follow:

Turn off your cell phone before sitting down. It is rude to talk on your phone or text while in the company of others.

Never talk when you have food in your mouth. That’s just gross. Even if someone asks you a question, wait until you swallow before answering.

Taste your food before you add salt, pepper, or other seasoning. Doing otherwise may be insulting to the host or hostess. If you are dining with a prospective employer, the person may perceive you as someone who acts without knowing the facts.

Don’t cut all your food before you begin eating. Cut one or two bites at a time.

Never blow on your food. If it is hot, wait a few minutes for it to cool off. Scoop your soup away from you.

Some foods are meant to be eaten with your fingers. Follow the lead of the host or hostess.

If you are drinking from a stemmed glass, hold it by the stem.

Break your bread into bite-sized pieces and butter only one bite at a time.

Try at least one or two bites of everything on your plate, unless you are allergic to it.

Compliment the hostess if you like the food, but don’t voice your opinion if you don’t.

Use your utensils for eating, not gesturing.

Keep your elbows off the table. Rest the hand you are not using in your lap.

Eat slowly and pace yourself to finish at the same approximate time as the host or hostess.

Avoid burping or making other rude sounds at the table.