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Restaurant Table Manners


seawakim
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I was always taught that you're done with your plate if you turn your fork over as in you're not able to eat another bite.  I've also heard of putting both the knife and fork in the shape of an X - as in done.

Who knows these days?

Jay

I use to think the turned over fork was the sign you were done. However, the last time I ate at the CIA (a while ago) I turned the fork over to show that I was done. The waiter comes over and snickered "humm...upside down fork" as if I was offending him or the resturant in someway and then had the plate cleared. Ever since, I've wonder if the turned over fork means what I though it meant.

BTW this was in the escoffier resturant. The meal was really really good. To this date, one of the real memorable food experiences.

Soup

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Ooh, ouch.  Another child actor sacrified to urban legend.

As for Continental table manners, French people are supposed to have both hands at or above table-level at all times.  My French husband can't enlighten me as to why -- we joke that this has something to do with ensuring an atmosphere of wholesomeness at the dinner table, but does anyone have a real explanation?

This is one of those etiquette rules that goes back to eras gone- a lot of these type of rules are there to show "non threatening" behaviour. Hands under the table could be seen as being ready to grab a weapon, such as a hidden dagger... For similar reasons, the knife is held downwards at all times, in case it could be seen as a threat.

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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  • 1 year later...

On another discussion board, the subject of men who neglect to remove their baseball style caps in restaurants was introduced.

It just so happens that a couple weeks ago, as I was having coffee in my local family-style chain restaurant, I witnessed an odd exhibition involving men in caps.

I know the six men in the group who have breakfast together every Saturday. They range in age from mid-twenties to around fifty, and include an auto mechanic, a couple truck drivers (father and son), a farmer and two miners, (one retired). They were all wearing caps when they sat down.

As soon as the waitress delivered their meals, they all removed their caps almost at the same time, and put them back on as they finished eating.

I couldn't help but point this out to them before they left, and none of them were aware of what they had done. Now we joke that they're in training for the Olympic Synchronized Eating Team.

SB (having watched them eat together for a few years, I think I the USA is a good bet to take at least a bronze medal in this competition) :wink: (unless we get the Russian judges) :sad:

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  • 7 years later...

My pet peeve is men who wear baseball caps in restaurants.  I don't know why this should bother me so much, but it does.  I  remember an era when it was considered extremely bad manners for men to wear hats indoors - they were always to be removed when entering a building, and never in a restaurant.   Now dirty looking baseball hats are worn everywhere, frontwards and backwards, and it seems to be acceptable to sit at the dinner table with one on - ugh!!!!!!!!

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Life is short, eat dessert first

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My pet peeve is men who wear baseball caps in restaurants.  I don't know why this should bother me so much, but it does.  I  remember an era when it was considered extremely bad manners for men to wear hats indoors - they were always to be removed when entering a building, and never in a restaurant.   Now dirty looking baseball hats are worn everywhere, frontwards and backwards, and it seems to be acceptable to sit at the dinner table with one on - ugh!!!!!!!!

I SO agree with you.  It is totally offensive and egregiously bad-mannered.

Of course I am from an older generation where men never wore hats indoors.  Another reason I love "Mad Men'; love seeing the men in the elevators holding their hats.

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My pet peeve is men who wear baseball caps in restaurants.  I don't know why this should bother me so much, but it does.  I  remember an era when it was considered extremely bad manners for men to wear hats indoors - they were always to be removed when entering a building, and never in a restaurant.   Now dirty looking baseball hats are worn everywhere, frontwards and backwards, and it seems to be acceptable to sit at the dinner table with one on - ugh!!!!!!!!

Agreed. They look like moron frat boys.

A sign you need to dine in classier joints prrhaps?

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I do dine in many classy expensive restaurants, and in my opinion bad manners are not exclusive to less expensive restaurants.  I was in a very expensive restaurant the other day and saw a diner put food onto the blade of her knife and then put the knife, blade forward, into her mouth.   I also saw one of the judges on Top Chef Canada do the same thing - not only once, but twice!.  I guess this is another pet peeve. :hmmm:

Life is short, eat dessert first

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I do dine in many classy expensive restaurants, and in my opinion bad manners are not exclusive to less expensive restaurants.  I was in a very expensive restaurant the other day and saw a diner put food onto the blade of her knife and then put the knife, blade forward, into her mouth.   I also saw one of the judges on Top Chef Canada do the same thing - not only once, but twice!.  I guess this is another pet peeve. :hmmm:

 

Using the knife to put food into one's mouth is common.  Tom Colicchio does this. So does Eric Ripert.  Ditto Padma Lakshmi.  Also any number of famous chefs and other gourmands including Wylie Dufresne. Whether this is an artificial "outrage" or not is, of course, dependent on one's milieu, hang-ups and predilections.  (FWIW I can't stand Colicchio's way of "holding" his fork and/or knife; or the common way of holding cutlery like clubs in one's fist that is common in North America)

Edited by huiray (log)
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Using the knife to put food into one's mouth is common

 

 

It might be common but it is very bad table manners, I don't care who does it!.  This is not a predilection nor a hang up, it is simply knowledge of proper table manners.

 

See one of the many links on table manners "Your knife should never enter you mouth or be licked"  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_manners

 

I would also put forth that it is not common practice, but something done by a minority.  Just because a TV personality or a "gourmand" does it, does not automatically make it right. 

 

BTW - it is also considered a dangerous practice.

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Life is short, eat dessert first

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Using the knife to put food into one's mouth is common.

 

 

 

 

It might be common but it is very bad table manners, I don't care who does it!.  This is not a predilection nor a hang up, it is simply knowledge of proper table manners.

 

See one of the many links on table manners "Your knife should never enter you mouth or be licked"  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_manners

 

I would also put forth that it is not common practice, but something done by a minority.  Just because a TV personality or a "gourmand" does it, does not automatically make it right. 

 

BTW - it is also considered a dangerous practice.

 

Uh, I didn't say it wasn't bad table manners.  I merely said it was common.  I gave examples of well-known chefs and others doing it to illustrate that the practice is not limited to, for example, folks who don't think much about food or any other folks one might consider uncaring about what they put into their mouths so long as it gets there.

 

There have been many fights over "Table Manners".  I used to get exercised over them too but nowadays I try to just look away and let it pass except when something really bugs me.  Hence my comment about whatever personal hang-ups one has (and gave one example of mine).  Obviously this knife thing bothers you, so be it.

 

I myself don't think it is that dangerous - just be aware of what you are doing.

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Many years ago it was customary to eat peas with a knife.  Preferably a butter knife.  Other knives could be used but it you cut yourself it was considered bad manners.  In one episode of the Blondie Radio show, the Bumsteads had gone to have dinner with a wealthy eccentric elderly lady.  To the sides of the dinner plates were clamped small silver cubes with a cup like indentation in them.  When the Bumsteads asked what the purpose of the little devices were, their hostess explained that since peas have a tendency to roll around the plate the little cup like indentations would catch the peas making it easier to get them onto one's fork.

Edited to add that I am not old enough to remember when people ate peas with a knife, but am old enough to remember the Blondie radio show.

Edited by Arey (log)

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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Using the knife to put food into one's mouth is common.  Tom Colicchio does this. So does Eric Ripert.  Ditto Padma Lakshmi.  Also any number of famous chefs and other gourmands including Wylie Dufresne. Whether this is an artificial "outrage" or not is, of course, dependent on one's milieu, hang-ups and predilections.  (FWIW I can't stand Colicchio's way of "holding" his fork and/or knife; or the common way of holding cutlery like clubs in one's fist that is common in North America)

Tom is in many ways a boor. Telegenic but FOS half the time.

Padma is typically sloshed by the time food is served and probably can't tell one utensil from another.

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Interesting article: http://restaurant-ingthroughhistory.com/2011/05/08/etiquette-violations-eating-off-your-knife/

 

Me, I don't care what anyone says, I think eating off your knife is rude and crude. Even the English these days seem to eat their peas by pushing/mushing them onto the back of their forks. Still a bit weird, but it beats the knife.

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Many years ago it was customary to eat peas with a knife.  Preferably a butter knife.  Other knives could be used but it you cut yourself it was considered bad manners.  In one episode of the Blondie Radio show, the Bumsteads had gone to have dinner with a wealthy eccentric elderly lady.  To the sides of the dinner plates were clamped small silver cubes with a cup like indentation in them.  When the Bumsteads asked what the purpose of the little devices were, their hostess explained that since peas have a tendency to roll around the plate the little cup like indentations would catch the peas making it easier to get them onto one's fork.

Edited to add that I am not old enough to remember when people ate peas with a knife, but am old enough to remember the Blondie radio show.

 

Are you old enough to remember this little ditty, popular at the time:

 

I eat my peas with honey

I've done it all my life

They do taste kind of funny

But it keeps them on my knife

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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