Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Gravy boats


Dear Ms. Newman:

I am shopping for a sterling gravy boat.  What are the best dimensions for the boat for practical use for home small (12 person, max) dinner parties?  Many do no come with an underplate.  Would it be correct to place them on a china saucer or bread and butter plate?  When serving the gravy or sauce, should one place the ladle on the underplate or in the lip of the boat?  I always thought the lip was for pouring thinner sauces, but I recently read it is actually a spot to place the ladle.

Thank you for your advice.

For small home dinner parties you should have a 12-16 oz gravy boat as it can be refilled and they used to be smaller as the servants refilled them.  I was raised and taught to place the gravy ladle on the underplate but I suppose it COULD be placed on the lip (and you are right, the lip is for pouring sauces) if there's no underplate.  Personally I would not buy a gravy boat that didn't have an underplate--but that's me. Leaving the ladle on the lip is just tacky in my view, but times do change.
Happy shopping Sweetie!

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Teri Davis Newman


I can answer virtually any question pertaining to manners and etiquette. I am a wedding and party planner in St. Louis, Missouri and I do weddings and parties all over the country! My brides are my number one priority as I understand how important their wedding day is to them! Any questions about catering and cooking for large groups. This would include recipes, cooking techniques, what to serve, how to prevent food poisoning, food storage and food integrity. I have thousands of recipes that are scaled for large groups and gatherings and will be happy to share them! If you are in need of professional assistance for helping you to plan your wedding, party or corporate event, please feel free to contact me! I do a limited amount of weddings and parties every year in order to make sure that I have the best service for my clientele. Feel free to visit my business website at this address: WWW.EXQUISITEEVENTSUSA.COM for detailed information on what services I offer. I have price point weddings for every budget--no matter what size and I am very specific about what you get for your hard-earned money.


I teach etiquette classes for children and adults in the St Louis area. Classes include Table Manners, Table Settings, Invitations, Thank you notes, Condolence Notes and Wedding etiquette for brides and guests.

I attended Charm School as a child in Palm Beach and am currently a corporate etiquette consultant for correct manners in the USA and Japan. I studied Japanese etiquette while living in Tokyo.

©2016 All rights reserved.