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DT: other worlds

Unofficial Etiquette Pollage

Posted on 2009.01.06 at 14:28
How I feel about it all: curiouscurious
Tags: , , ,
After hearing a discussion on the radio about table manners and cultural/national ways of eating, I got curious and decided to ask you guys about it. According to the program, there is more than one way people in Western countries use a knife while eating. I did not know this, which shows just how much I don't know about culture.

So anyway, a poll:



Poll #1409363 Table manners poll

After cutting a piece of meat/other food requiring a knife in order to eat, do you

lay down the knife and switch fork to opposite hand before eating cut piece
15(34.9%)
eat cut piece with fork in same hand without laying down knife
26(60.5%)
do something else which I'll describe in a comment
2(4.7%)
I do not eat food requiring a knife.
0(0.0%)

In what country did you first learn basic table manners?


Comments:


Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
Mal
malnpudl at 2009-06-01 18:39 (UTC) ()
US born & raised: I was taught the first option, with the fork-hand-switch maneuver, but in the last, oh, 15 years or so I've mostly switched over to leaving the knife in the right hand and the fork in the left when eating something like steak that requires a lot of cutting up. I was under the impression that the latter was more of a European thing, but I'm not sure where I heard that.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 18:57 (UTC) ()
Apparently the switch-fork method is the "American" method and the other is the "Continental". I seriously never knew or noticed.

I do the switch thing (and I really had to think about this, with miming and everything), although I've probably done it the other way for reasons of haste and practicality. The Continental way does seem more efficient (which is what the Manners Lady said in the program piece).
Cats. Not to be trusted.
catwalksalone at 2009-06-01 18:44 (UTC) ()
No, but seriously? How fussy is knife-laying/fork-switching? It's amazing people ever finish a meal. What is the point of it? WHAT?
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 18:58 (UTC) ()
Apparently it's an Americn thing. *whistles nonchalantly*
Andy Radical, Possum Tackler
entropical87 at 2009-06-01 18:44 (UTC) ()
Pretty much everyone I know does option #1, but when I was a kid I decided that kind of eating utensil hand jive was way too inefficient. I started using my left hand for the knife and right for the fork, picking it up and setting it down as need requires with no shifting around. I will never be respectable in high society, but that's how it stands.
meandering
effervescent at 2009-06-01 18:44 (UTC) ()
I generally do the first, unless I'm really hungry *g* Then I might do the second one, because it's faster. Most of the time, though? I do the first. It's the way I was taught!
Charlie  Montney
songdogmi at 2009-06-01 18:47 (UTC) ()
I usually do A, sometimes do B, and a lot of times (either way) I think about how strange it is to do all the hand switching, but if I do actually keep the fork in my left hand, I think about how odd that feels to me.

As a result, I eat a lot of potato chips. At least that's what I'll tell the doctor if he wonders why I haven't lost any weight.
Stormy
stormymouse at 2009-06-01 18:48 (UTC) ()
switching the knife and fork and putting the knife down ... way too complicated. nobody i know, at least none of my german peeps, do that.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:00 (UTC) ()
nobody i know, at least none of my german peeps, do that.

My theory, based on what Manners Lady said, seems to be right: It's mostly a US thing (and maybe some of Canada?).
drama queen
cirakaite at 2009-06-01 18:50 (UTC) ()
People seriously switch hands? *boggles* That seems . . . inefficient.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:06 (UTC) ()
It's horribly inefficient. But I guess I got used to it if I never noticed before. *boggles with you*
Marie Antoinette's pastry slave
mark356 at 2009-06-01 18:53 (UTC) ()
I fork-switch and put the knife down, but only because I'm so right-handed that I wouldn't be able to eat with my left hand.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:05 (UTC) ()
I'm a righty, too, which is probably why I've never considered it a cultural thing how people hold their utensils. Apparently it is, though. Who knew? *g*
There's no poopin' on the bus y'know...
euphoricagony at 2009-06-01 18:55 (UTC) ()
I actually cut up my entire piece of meat first. I like not to be interrupted by such menial tasks whilst consuming my meal. :D
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:01 (UTC) ()
I've done that, too. If I could edit the poll, I'd list it. darn. What's the general Canadian thing, though? I've never noticed, because I've never even considered there was another way besides how I do it (so much for me being broad-minded).
One damn minute, Admiral.
trempnvt at 2009-06-01 19:00 (UTC) ()
I keep my utensils in the same hand, but to be fair, my fork is always in my right hand (I'm a righty) and my knife is always in my left. Nobody else in my family does it, but I can't imagine eating with a fork and knife any other way.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:04 (UTC) ()
Hmm. *mimes doing this* That's definitely a new one. You may be unique in the world. :) Do you see a general trend in Israel? There are people there from liek, everwhere, so I'd imagine there would be different ways of doing stuff.
the pirate queen of norway
ashkitty at 2009-06-01 19:05 (UTC) ()
Born and originally learned the US way, but I eat continental-style generally--fork in one hand, pointed downward, knife in the other, stab the food with the fork tines or push it onto the back with the knife. I'm left-handed, though, so the switching part doesn't really apply--fork in left hand, knife in right, and just eat.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:07 (UTC) ()
So, hmm. I guess it's partly as much a handedness thing as a cultural one.
Magpie
sistermagpie at 2009-06-01 19:11 (UTC) ()
I have always been fascinated by the British way. It's not just keeping the fork in the same hand, it's this whole wiping of the knife on the food first. I don't think I'd ever be able to do it exactly right.

I read in a book once, btw, that this difference mostly went back to the introduction of the fork occurring in the early days of the US. I've no idea if it was true (though it was in a history book), but it did totally explain it. Basically, knives used to be sharp and pointed to stab the mean with to pick it up, but when forks were introduced they started to get rounded at the tip.

But Americans weren't really making their own cutlery at that point. So they started getting these non-pointy knives but hadn't yet found out about the forks. So they evolved this way of dealing with it, eating with a non-pointy knife and a spoon. Where Europeans simply learned to use the fork as the pointy end of the knife, Americans learned to use a fork as a spoon. You had to switch hands.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:14 (UTC) ()
Ooh, I want to read that book! And there is knife wiping? Woah. I didn't know THAT, either! :)
(Deleted comment)
Titti
titti at 2009-06-01 19:13 (UTC) ()
I remember eating out in Italy and hearing the snickers when Americans were there. Yep, no switching over. It's consider lack of etiquette in Italy (it's actually in the Galateo which I read when I was 13) and it's something I've thought my kids.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:15 (UTC) ()
I should try to eat Continentally for a while, just to see if I can do it. It seems...easier, so it should be a snap, right? :)
I Am Canadian
dragonflymuse at 2009-06-01 19:28 (UTC) ()
Option 1 is the 'North American' way; option 2 is the 'European' way, according to an episode of 'Twin Peaks', which featured this exact same conundrum :)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-06-01 19:53 (UTC) ()
I dunno--I've yet to see Twin Peaks (I know, I suck). According to Manners Lady (whose name I forget), it's 'American' and 'Continental'. This website has more description of the difference.

The names beg the question, though: What about Mexico and other countries? How do Mexicans/Russians/Egyptians, etc. hold their forks and knives? And then there's the whole other issue of chopsticks. Oh, teh complexity of it all. *angsts*
Kupukello
kupukello at 2009-06-01 20:03 (UTC) ()
Heh :D Eating with the fork in the right hand is definitely an American thing, in my country only small children are allowed to do that, civilized grown-ups ALWAYS keep the fork in the left hand and knife in the right. And you only cut one piece, one small mouthful at a time, keeping the rest of the food organized, no mixing or mushing or making a mess of your plate!

And don't get me started about eating with just a fork (if it's not a salad you're eating) or, ick, with your fingers! BIG no-nos here! Sign of seriously bad manners! Kiddie eating!

:D
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