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7 Etiquette Tips You Want to Know for How to Eat Soup

By: Maralee McKee


Welcome to Friday—Quick Tip Day!

Hope that you’re getting ready to enjoy a relaxing weekend and that your to-do list is shorter than your nap time!

Here’s a brief McKee family weekend update. Your tips are right below.

I’m hosting a sleepover for my youngest son tonight. It’s his first one ever He’s sooooo excited. I am as well! With his special needs, having a friend he views as an equal is a very big deal in his development!

His little friend is precious! He’s a good influence on Corbett and has the best manners! Corbett does, too, but he’s often so shy he won’t use them. I fear people must think it’s a classic case of the cobbler’s son having no shoes!

The one scary thing about this sleepover is that it’s his friend’s first one as well. Normally, no problem. If there are tears at 2:00 AM, we’d pack up the car and deliver him safely back into his mom and dad’s arms. Tonight, though, his parents are five hours away at a convention.

My plan is to make sure the boys play long and hard all afternoon, keep them up late watching movies, and then hope they’ll both sleep through the night from pure played-out exhaustion!

If I’ve underestimated the power of homesickness for a six-year-old, then I’ll be up at 2:00 AM drying tears, calming nerves, and reading stories, and if completely stuck, I’m not beyond offering a bribe. “Go back to sleep and we’ll go see ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’…again!”

Wish me luck! If you have any helpful hints, please comment and share. I’d love to hear!

Today’s Quick Tip!

If you enjoy eating soup, you’ll love this post! I’ve gathered seven savvy etiquette tips for eating your soup with flair!

This came to me the other day as I watched my oldest son eat French Onion soup. He was having a hard time getting through the cheese to the broth underneath. Finally, he did what any 12-year-old would do. He pulled the baked-on cheese off the crock and ate it with his fingers. Fine, I guess, if you’re 12, and at home; not so great for the rest of us! (OK, I’ve done it too, just not in front of others!)

So here’s all you ever need to know about eating soup. Number seven is all about French Onion!

1. Spoon your soup away from you in the bowl. This seems like it’s the opposite of what you should do. Why move the soup further from you when you’re trying to bring it to your lips? Spooning it away from you allows any soup that is going to dribble off the spoon to end up back in the bowl, instead of on your shirt, blouse, or lap!

2. Eat/sip the soup from the side of your soup spoon, not the front (tapered end). Otherwise, all the soup runs down to the “point” and causes it to spill easier.

3. To get to the last drops of soup, it’s fine to tip your soup bowl or plate away from you.

4. When soup is served in a cup or round bowl with a plate under it, place your spoon on the underplate between sips and when you’re finished.

5. When soup is served in a soup plate (a very wide open bowl) with no plate under it, place your spoon in the bowl between sips and when finished, not on your bread plate or any other plate.

6. If adding crackers, add them one bite at a time. You don’t want to turn your soup into something resembling oatmeal. It’s fine to drop one or two oyster crackers or crumble one saltine at a time into your bowl. Place the remainder of your crackers on your bread plate.

7. French Onion soup is delicious but tricky! When you’re at a need-to-impress meal, I’d suggest skipping it no matter how much you’re craving it. For other times, here’s how to maneuver your way through this gooey delight. Eat the cheese first by twirling it around your spoon and “cutting” it by pressing it against the side of your soup bowl or crock. If this won’t work (It hardly ever does for me!), then go ahead and cut the cheese that’s dangling from your spoon with your knife. Once the cheese is gone, it’s easy enough to eat the bread and broth underneath. Now, about all the yummy cheese baked on the outside of the crock. Two choices: be very polished and leave it alone, or say the heck with it and enjoy! If you choose the latter, try getting the baked-on cheese off with your spoon, not your fingers. (At least while anyone is watching you!)

Bonus tip: Never blow on your soup, or any food, to cool it. It sends the signal that you’re impatient. Allow your food to cool on its own and you’ll earn the reputation of one cool tablemate. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

See you Monday! I don’t know what we’ll be talking about. I haven’t been inspired yet!

If you have anything you’d like me to write about, let me know. If you have a question, you know a thousand others have the same one! I’ll add it to our list and get right on it! Contact me here at

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Until Monday everyone…




  • Lori

    Thanks for these timeless tips! I learned about spooning soup away from me some time ago. It’s good to know the information is still so relevant today.

    • Maralee

      Hello Lori,

      Thank you for your sweet comment! You’re right, it’s a great feeling to know that what you’ve been doing has been “right” all along! Thank you for reading and for commenting!

  • Maralee McKee

    Hello Hattie!
    You are so gracious! Thank you for your generous complaiments! You’ve really helped make my day! I’m honored you like the blog! It will be a joy getting to know you in the months ahead!
    All my best,

  • Maralee McKee

    Hello Erin!
    Jason’s Deli has delcious French Onion soup! There’s one not too far from our house so we go their frequently. My boys take full advantage of the free ice cream cones!
    Their French Onion is harder to eat than most. The bowl they serve it in makes it impossible to “cut” on the side of the bowl, plus like you, I never have a knife when I’m there since they just bring a spoon to the table.
    What a joy you were sitting with the one who loves you most! That always makes everything sweeter, doesn’t it!     

  • Maralee McKee

    Hello Beth!
    Your sweet note made my day! Thank you so  much for the sleepover advice. The boys had the best time, until 11:20 PM. Then Corbett’s little friend started to cry.
    Fortunately, at the last minute the boy’s parents cancelled their trip out of state, so they were just several miles away at home. We called and my husband ended up taking him home. Actually, he met the boy’s father in the parking lot of a 7-11 midway between our two homes.
    This morning, when I found out they met at the 7-11, I said to Kent, my husband, “Don’t you imagine it looks really odd on the stores security camera. Two men trading off a little boy at midnight in the parking lot!” Next time we’ll bring him all the way to his house!
    This morning the little boy came back over at 10:00 AM, so we had a late breakfast together and the two boys are now outside climbing up the slide backwards and laughing! All is well!
    Thank you also for your prayers for me and our family! I’m honored, happy and humbled by your kindness!

  • Maralee McKee

    Dear Bill,
    I like your style! No actually, slipping Tylenol PM into chocolate milk isn’t the best solution. However, a little in some juice never hurt anyone! (Grins and winks. You know I’m just kidding!  ;)  
    Glad your found the tip about spooning soup away from you helpful! I actually have an easy and delicious receipe for French Onion soup. I’ll post it next week for everyone!

  • Brittainy

    I don’t believe I have had french onion soup, but you are making it sound delicious!

  • Hattie

    I feel it was meant to be……that I should stumble upon your blog this morning by way of Southern Plate!!!!!! Oh, yes! I can already tell it’s a favorite and a Keeper! Looking forward to every post and will be on the hunt for your books.

  • Erin

    I just had Jason’s Deli French onion soup the day before yesterday. It was quite a sight I’m sure what with the cheese and all. Not having a knife, I was using my fork to assist with cutting extra cheese off my spoon. I’m sure I would have been quite embarrassed if I weren’t eating with the one who loves me the most in the world who was struggling with his own cup of the stuff. Delicious!

  • Beth & Rick Drummond

    Thanks Maralee for the tips! And yes, now, I am craving French Onion soup and that yummy baked on the side cheese!

    Regarding the sleepover… I have a neighbor who still has a hard time making it through the night and it's been 3 years (she was 6 the first time) – the one thing that has never failed me is doing a campout in the living room (we have a pull out couch or they put sleeping bags on the floor) and we watch movies/tv until they fall asleep – and I stay on the couch until she's asleep. If she wakes up I just go back out on the couch until the morning. Sometimes it takes me turning disney channel or a movie back on for her to fall back to sleep.

    I will be praying for God to show favor on you & your family tonight! Sounds like Corbett and his friend will have a great time! Thank you for allowing us to walk alongside you as you travel through life's journeys!

  • BillGent

    As for the sleepover..Is slipping Tylenol PM in the chocolate milk of visiting children considered a Faux Pas?

    As for the soup, the suggestion of spooning it away from you just made a light come on over my head. How many shirts could have survived a dinner if I had given it a thought? Thank you.
    (and now I want French Onion soup!)