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Etiquette Schmetiquette: ever wonder about _____?


Gifted Gourmet
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When eating meat, should you cut one piece, put your knife down, then eat the piece, or should you cut all of your meat up first, and then eat the meat?

What is the correct way to serve yourself a portion of brie cheese? Do you just cut a piece from the soft part or try to cut off a portion including the hard skin?

When dining out, is it okay to share your food with the others at the table for tasting purposes?

Manners International website

How personally concerned are you about some of the finer points of dining etiquette?

Ever read about the "proper" way to handle possible social issues on dining out, or even in a home setting?

Just assume that you are doing the right thing and look at how others around you handle various situations as they arise?

This is a marvelously informative website for those of you who actually do "give a damn, Scarlett"... :rolleyes:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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They neglected two questions which have come to mind recently when dining at someone else's house:

1. Does one eat ribs with a knife and fork or with one's hands? Does one lick one's fingers afterwards? (everyone ate them with hands, and did lick fingers)

2. What does one do when one's child upchucks at the host's table? (After running for the roll of paper towels, I excused child and myself.)

Sort of says it all for this time in my life...

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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When eating meat, should you cut one piece, put your knife down, then eat the piece, or should you cut all of your meat up first, and then eat the meat?

Hmmmm. Is this a trick question? Why would one need to put the knife down?

Fork in left hand. Knife in right hand. They stay there for the entire meal (unless one needs to drink something).

Seriously, if people would just hold their cutlery properly, this question wouldn't be necessary! :blink::blink:

Edited to add this...

When I was growing up, my dad was a freaking martinet about which hand held which utensil and other table manners. Because of that, as long as the Spawn can conduct herself at the dinner table with some semblance of proper behaviour, I'm happy. I guess my method worked because she's got great manners...

Edited by Jensen (log)
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Fork in left hand. Knife in right hand. They stay there for the entire meal (unless one needs to drink something).

Seriously, if people would just hold their cutlery properly, this question wouldn't be necessary!  :blink:  :blink:

Properly if one is American or "continentally-observant"? :hmmm:

The answer the site offers:

If you are eating American style, you may put your knife down, switch your fork to your other hand and eat your bite.

If you are eating continental style, you may cut the piece of meat and eat it without setting your knife on your plate. Continental dining style is becoming more prevalent today and is considered the preferred method of eating

So, which camp do you fall into? :rolleyes:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I'm not as big on etiquette as I am on manners.

I loosely define etiquette as rules of social interaction created over time by people who have too much money and time on their hands to distinguish themselves from those who don't have as much money and time on their hands.

I loosely define manners as those things you do in thoughtful consideration of other human beings.

There are lots of rules of etiquette that can be broken without ruining a meal for someone else. I don't think anyone should consider his dinner ruined because someone didn't know to work his way from the outside in with his silverware, or buttered his own entire roll before taking a bite out of it rather than breaking off a bite-sized piece then buttering it, or put his elbows on the table reasonably within his own space during the meal...

On the other hand, for instance, if a meal were being served family style and a person took a huge serving of something that he really liked on the first go-round, not leaving enough for others, I'd consider that ill-mannered, and I would take notice. Or if someone were invited to dinner and, barring allergies or moral convictions, didn't at least sample something offered to him simply because he didn't like it, I'd also consider that ill mannered.

General consideration for others over etiquette always. I could care less if someone switches hands after cutting his meat or doesn't know his armpit from an escargot fork.

sg

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So, which camp do you fall into?  :rolleyes:

I was trying to be a little funny with that...my edit says my real point of view on "manners" and "etiquette".

When I was growing up, my dad was a freaking martinet about which hand held which utensil and other table manners. Because of that, as long as the Spawn can conduct herself at the dinner table with some semblance of proper behaviour, I'm happy.

I very much like what bottomlesspit had to say: "General consideration for others over etiquette always."

As for which camp I'm in ... neither! I'm (North) American but my family is from the UK (which is definitely not "continental"!!!). What that article refers to as "continental-style" is how I eat though. :raz:

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General consideration for others over etiquette always.  I could care less if someone switches hands after cutting his meat or doesn't know his armpit from an escargot fork.

Pretty much echoes what you said so beautifully here, bottomlesspit! :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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For the most part, I'm not big on little fine points of etiquette, but I want to know the answer to this question, and the link isn't working now ("The page cannot be found," etc.):

Should you dismiss yourself from the table if you need to sneeze or blow your nose?

How about if you need to simply wipe your nose? And how do people feel about wiping one's nose on a cloth napkin, if that's all the restaurant gives you? An ex-girlfriend always felt that you should take your own paper tissues to restaurants to use for that purpose, and that it's really rude to blow or wipe your nose with a cloth napkin that the staff has to handle. She also got me in the habit of generally throwing away my own used napkins from restaurants (as opposed to letting the staff be responsible for that), especially if I had wiped or blown my nose into them. I think she's right that there's a sanitary and just plain "yuck" issue there.

But stuff like this doesn't mean anything to me:

Large dinner napkins should be folded in half after opening and before placing on one's lap.

I have yet to see a napkin that's large enough not to fit on my lap and part of my waist fully unfolded. Folding it on one's lap defeats the purpose of protecting as large as possible a surface area from the possibility of falling food. Of course, if you have perfect manners, no crumbs or sauce ever fall on the napkin, right? :hmmm::raz:

This one bothers me:

When at a dining table, a child should stand behind his/her chair until all the adults have been seated

Actually, it sounds like something that would have happened in repressive Victorian households, except that they might have been more likely to relegate children to a separate table and make them eat at a separate time from all the adults. I'm glad I didn't grow up in a household like that.

And this one is just stupid to me:

Food is passed to the right, or counter-clockwise.

And, if I'm in the next seat left of the other person, when I ask that person to pass the potatoes or salad, the food has to be passed all around the table instead of directly to me?

Life is about living, not about some arbitrary, archaic rules about the "proper" direction for food to be passed and standing up whenever a woman leaves a table (I feel pretty sure that anyone I know personally would find that weird as hell). I agree with the observation that there's a huge difference between manners -- that is, consideration for other people -- and etiquette. People who violate many of the "rules" of etiquette that are explained in the given link (thanks, as always, Melissa!) may be very polite or very rude. One would have to know more than where they place their utensils on the plate after meals to determine that.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Knife in the right hand and fork in the left? Man, trying to eat like that would annoy the heck out of me. I most definately always eat with my knife in my left hand, and fork in the right (I am right handed, and I figure the more oft used utensil should get sole access to the dominant hand). I tend to put my fork down before picking up my beverage though ;).

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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And this one is just stupid to me:
Food is passed to the right, or counter-clockwise.

And, if I'm in the next seat left of the other person, when I ask that person to pass the potatoes or salad, the food has to be passed all around the table instead of directly to me?

Well, when you first sit down at the table and there are many dishes that need to be passed to everyone, there must be some sort of generally-accepted system to do that. Most folks are righthanded, so it's easier to pass things to the right.

I've always understood that 'rule' to apply only when things are getting passed at the beginning. I've never seen anyone pass stuff by any means other than the most direct later in the meal.

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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Jaymes, you could be right about what they were talking about in terms of the direction of passing food. I'll try to pay attention at the next few dinner parties and banquets to see what direction food is passed at the beginning of each course.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Life is about living, not about some arbitrary, archaic rules about the "proper" direction for food to be passed and standing up whenever a woman leaves a table (I feel pretty sure that anyone I know personally would find that weird as hell). I agree with the observation that there's a huge difference between manners -- that is, consideration for other people -- and etiquette. People who violate many of the "rules" of etiquette that are explained in the given link (thanks, as always, Melissa!) may be very polite or very rude. One would have to know more than where they place their utensils on the plate after meals to determine that.

But it was, as usual, a link that, when found, absolutely begged to be on a food-oriented website ... :laugh:

I don't vouch personally for the information because, as you so correctly note, it is often archaic or simply irrelevant to society's mores today ... but what I do look for when I read something, are "high interest items" ... not even "deep" nor even "revelatory", just intriguing (to me!) ... :wink:

and who else can I share these items with in my life? My cocker spaniel? The postal carrier? My Swiffer Sweeper mop?

so, I bring them to eG where they will be treated with the utmost respect and serious consideration ... :rolleyes:

or perhaps simply dismissive hilarity! :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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What is the correct way to serve yourself a portion of brie cheese? Do you just cut a piece from the soft part or try to cut off a portion including the hard skin?

Manners International website

The 'brie question' was the one I was most interested in, and the link isn't working. Did anyone read the answer?

Frankly, I have no problem with those folks that try to dig out the soft 'innards,' since that leaves more rind for me, and it's my favorite part. Heheheh.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

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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The 'brie question' was the one I was most interested in, and the link isn't working.  Did anyone read the answer?

Yes, Jaymes, I did and if you make me some of those salmon and boursin rolls you mentioned last week on another thread, I will share it with you! :laugh:

The answer:

Serve yourself an entire piece of cheese neatly and then you may cut away the crust, if desired, on your own plate.

try this link ... :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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The 'brie question' was the one I was most interested in, and the link isn't working.  Did anyone read the answer?

Yes, Jaymes, I did and if you make me some of those salmon and boursin rolls you mentioned last week on another thread, I will share it with you! :laugh:

Atlanta, Georgia, eh?

Well, maybe I'll just do that one of these days. My sister lives there and if I'm ever forced to go, I'll be needing to find something to do to avoid spending time with her.

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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Eating an anchovy is like eating an eyebrow.
Do they have a recommendation on that? Or is it something better done out of public view? :laugh:

Hmmph. :hmmm: I am one of those "sinister" people (aka southpaws), who has always eaten "continental-style." My father did the same, but reversed (knife in left hand, fork in right). Not that there's anything wrong with any style, but I've never understood the point of switching hands; just LET ME GET THAT BITE INTO MY MOUTH! :biggrin:

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Atlanta, Georgia, eh?

Well, maybe I'll just do that one of these days.  My sister lives there and if I'm ever forced to go, I'll be needing to find something to do to avoid spending time with her.

We could always go to some type of kitchen and challenge each other to a salmon roulade "roll off" ... :laugh: best-ten-out-of-twenty type undertaking ... :hmmm:

winner eats the results! on a square black lacquer plate .. no paper doily for me ... :wink:au naturel ...

just LET ME GET THAT BITE INTO MY MOUTH
You can not imagine how often I have thought that exact thing, Suzanne!! :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Hey, can we get back to the topic here? :rolleyes: Please, for my sake? :laugh: Sake is not the Japanese drink, BTW ...

How personally concerned are you about some of the finer points of dining etiquette?

Ever read about the "proper" way to handle possible social issues on dining out, or even in a home setting?

Thanks! I need your input or will be considered a complete boor on table manners ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Knife in the right hand and fork in the left?  Man, trying to eat like that would annoy the heck out of me.  I most definately always eat with my knife in my left hand, and fork in the right (I am right handed, and I figure the more oft used utensil should get sole access to the dominant hand).  I tend to put my fork down before picking up my beverage though ;).

I'm right handed too, but I hold the knife with my right. After all, the knife hand has to do the difficult work. The fork hand just has to hold in place whatever you're cutting and then navigate the forkful toward one's gaping maw. :raz:

This only applies to foods that require both hands (and utensils) to eat-- if I can just use a fork, I eat with my right.

I don't give a rat's ass about etiquette. I'm sorry, was that rude? :huh:

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I just wanna speak up for those who were raised by wolves (or tv). A possible result of over-raising your children is having children who under-raise theirs. Consequently there are legions of people who literally do not know how to behave. I like etiquette because I like having guidelines. I wanted to be well-mannered but I grew up not knowing how that happened.

Of course there are people who mistake etiquette for manners, civility for politeness, a guy who occasionally holds open a door for a gentleman. People who follow rules blindly without knowing the reason for what they're doing. I poop on them all! And then I excuse myself. As with so many other things in life, rules are for people who don't know what they're doing. In this particular case, I appreciate that they're there.

I also just want to say how impressed I am with you lefty knife cutters! I can do a lot of things with either hand but that is definitely not one of them.

And Pan, here's a nice, arbitrary rule for you: If you're in the kind of place that has cloth napkins, excuse yourself to wipe your nose. If you're in a place where the napkins are paper and come from a silver box, blow away!

To hell with poverty! We'll get drunk on cheap wine - Gang of Four

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What's hard for me is that I grew up learning manners, but Chinese ones. So, not putting my elbows on the table is still rather difficult for me to remember at times. The passing thing also always seemed so needlessly inefficient to me!

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Knife in the right hand and fork in the left?  Man, trying to eat like that would annoy the heck out of me.  I most definately always eat with my knife in my left hand, and fork in the right (I am right handed, and I figure the more oft used utensil should get sole access to the dominant hand).  I tend to put my fork down before picking up my beverage though ;).

I'm right handed too, but I hold the knife with my right. After all, the knife hand has to do the difficult work. The fork hand just has to hold in place whatever you're cutting and then navigate the forkful toward one's gaping maw. :raz:

This only applies to foods that require both hands (and utensils) to eat-- if I can just use a fork, I eat with my right.

I don't give a rat's ass about etiquette. I'm sorry, was that rude? :huh:

Hmm, maybe I cut bizarrely. I tend to impale the meat with the fork, then use the knife to saw it the rest of the way off, sorta rending and tearing with the fork as I go. It is a bit barbaric, but very satisfying, and it works ;).

Edited by NulloModo (log)

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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They neglected two questions which have come to mind recently when dining at someone else's house:

1.  Does one eat ribs with a knife and fork or with one's hands?  Does  one lick one's fingers afterwards?  (everyone ate them with hands, and did lick fingers)

2.  What does one do when one's child upchucks at the host's table?  (After running for the roll of paper towels, I excused child and myself.)

Sort of says it all for this time in my life...

Certain foods need to be eaten with ones hands. I'll never forget my very proper former MIL attacking ribs and fried chicken at a BBQ. I thought my wife would come unglued and then her mother sweetly looked at her and said how would you eat it dear? As she was licking her fingers. :shock::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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