Table manners question that's been driving me nuts

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Macaddicttt, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. Macaddicttt macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    I have this one little question about table manners and I've searched all over the internet, but I can't find the answer. It's really been driving me nuts. It's a really minor point, but it's just been nagging me. So here it goes.

    In the European, or Continental, way of eating (as opposed to American), you keep the fork always in your left hand. You cut your food and then spear it with the fork still in the left hand. You can also push food onto the back of your fork with your knife and eat it like that.

    Even though I'm American, I've always eaten more or less like that, except that some foods are nearly impossible to push onto the back of your fork and are un-spearable, too. They are too small and just slip right off. Rice and peas come to mind as particularly difficult. I had always eaten what food I could by pushing it to the back of my fork and then switching hands to scoop up the more suborn bits. But my girlfriend does things a little bit differently (she's Norwegian, if that matters). She doesn't push things onto the back of her fork, but turns it around, while keeping it in her left hand, and pushes it onto the other side.

    I'm curious as to what is the "proper" way to eat European/Continental style. Should you ever switch hands? Can you flip the fork around? I know it's not really a big deal, I'm not even sure I'll follow the "proper" way once I know what it is, I'm just really curious.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Brash Aussie Perspective™: we flip the fork but then swap hands so it is in the right. :cool:
     
  3. Spies macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #3
    I use my fork like a spoon for peas. I don't always use a knife depending on what I'm eating, if it's fish i use the edge of the fork to cut it. But then, I don't have anyone to impress with my cutlery skills.
     
  4. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #4
    I am stubborn in my "euro" ways. I just mash any food onto the backside of the fork (in my left hand). I think eating peas one-at-a-time is good for digestion anyways...

    It has always felt unnatural to have my fork in my right hand - even though I am right-handed.

    Of course, if I am eating ribs - the whole question of tableware etiquette is irrelevant - I use both hands equally.
     
  5. Josh macrumors 68000

    Josh

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    Location:
    State College, PA
    #5
    The proper way: Use whatever method you find that succesfully gets the food from the plate to your mouth.

    If you are worried about those around you, and what they may think, if you should deviate from some "protocol" of eating a certain way, perhaps you should seek new company.

    If you've got the fork in one hand, and the knife in another, you're good. Anything further you do is fine and proper.
     
  6. thedude110 macrumors 68020

    thedude110

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    #6
    I use my fingers on unspearable food. I know, I know. I'm such a Yankee.

    My dog uses her tongue. :p
     
  7. Lau Guest

    #7
    If I cook something that requires a knife and fork, say, a pork chop, mashed potatoes and peas, for instance, I'll keep the fork in my left hand but turn it over like a spoon and use the knife to push peas and mash on it.

    If it's something like curry and rice that doesn't need a knife I'd use the fork in my right hand.

    Basically I wouldn't swop hands with the fork if I had a knife as well, but I would if I only had a fork. I'm not saying that's right by any stretch of the imagination, but that's what seems 'acceptable' to me.
     
  8. whocares macrumors 65816

    whocares

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    Oct 9, 2002
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    :noitаɔo˩
    #8
    Some stuck-up British people would say fork is always in left hand, and pointing down. And don't forget to keep your elbows of the table and to eat with your mouth close. Also use your napkin before drinking so you don't leave a greasy smear on your glass. Sit up strait - don't lean on the back of the chair. Most of all, don't enjoy yourself.


    Modern British and continental European are much more relaxed about all this. Good manners are manners that don't draw attention to what you're doing.
     
  9. Macaddicttt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #9
    Umm... I was just curious. I wasn't saying that I absolutely needed to know so that everyone will be impressed with my table manners and that I was worried I'd be shunned from society if I deviated from strict protocol.
     
  10. Macaddicttt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

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    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #10
    I actually kind of like this system. I might adopt it. I think getting rid of any sort of switching would be a good idea just because it seems and feels a little awkward. You always have to worry about where you're putting your knife.
     
  11. Lau Guest

    #11
    That's basically it - if you have a knife it's totally weird to swop hands and have it in the left, but if you put it on the plate it always falls in your dinner.

    The only other option is licking it and putting it back on the table, but that's just wrong....:p
     
  12. Peterkro macrumors 68020

    Peterkro

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    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Communard de Londres
    #12
    For peas throw away the fork and stick your knife in a jar of honey then eat peas off knife,thats how the aristocracy do it.:)
     
  13. Lau Guest

    #13
    I eat my peas with honey
    I've done it all my life
    It makes the peas taste funny
    But it keeps them on the knife.
     
  14. aloofman macrumors 68020

    aloofman

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2002
    Location:
    Socal
    #14
    I cut up everything that needs it with the right hand, then put the knife down for the rest of the meal and fork it with the right.

    Either I've put too much thought into it or not nearly enough.
     
  15. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #15
    I'm Norwegian:
    [​IMG]
    And if someone switched hands while eating I would think they had some kind of physical handicap that prevented them from using their left hand properly.
     
  16. Macaddicttt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Macaddicttt

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #16
    That's called American style, except really strict American style (i.e. that practices by the American military) has you cut each piece separately: cut, switch, eat, switch, cut, switch, eat, switch, etc., etc.
     
  17. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #17
    A diagram! That's awesome! :D



    Well, that's seen as "bad manners" here FWIW. :eek:
     
  18. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #18
    As noted above, I am the opposite - guess that's the strict English upbringing...

    nevertheless, I wish I had though of using such great diagrams to illustrate my point. Good show.
     
  19. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #19
    I just installed my Wacom tablet and I'm practicing how to use it. :cool:


    Vikings never cared much about table manners and strict upbringing. :D
     
  20. floriflee macrumors 68030

    floriflee

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    #20
    I just use the Magic Bullet to puree everything and then just add a comfort lip to the mug and chug-a-lug. If I'm adventurous I'll eat it all with a spoon. Saves any confusion.
     

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  21. Lau Guest

    #21
    I like your handwriting. :)
     
  22. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #22
    Is it bad to do the pounding on the table with knife and fork while screaming "Feed Me" Feed Me" "Feed Me.":p
     
  23. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #23
    On an etiquette tangent - did anyone eat an Apple with a spoon when they were a kid?

    I did - you start at the top (where the stem is) and are left with just the peel...

    pretty wierd, I know - I've always loved apples and I remember this was an interesting way to eat them, although I have no idea where the idea originally came from...
     
  24. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #24
    I did that with bananas. Somehow it tasted better when it was mashed a little before eating.


    Edit: Oh and thanks, Lau :)
     
  25. Spies macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #25
    Probably from someone saying I bet you can't eat that apple with a spoon.
     

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