When I was growing up, my mother always insisted that it was rude to ask someone a question just as they were taking a bite of food. It’s an etiquette pointer that I firmly believe in to this day. You ask a question, and the person must either answer you with the mouth still full of food (which is of course bad dining etiquette), or you must awkwardly wait for them to finish chewing so they can respond.
This is just one example of a dining rule that seems so basic but is still overlooked by many people. It also bothers me when people serve themselves wine or water before asking others if they would like some. I personally think it’s nice to serve or top up others’ glasses before filling your own.
Unless otherwise instructed, you should also wait until everyone is served before starting to eat. I was once at a wedding dinner in which a few people started to chow down, only to realize that the bride’s reverend father intended to say grace before dining.
Basically, it’s easiest to use common sense. Would you want to answer a question with a mouth full of food? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone topped up your glass for you? Don’t you feel a bit annoyed when others start eating before you’ve been served? Just return the favor!