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American table manners - Page 5

post #61 of 82
Grand bourgeois catholics are allowed to eat their chicken with their hands -- contrary to popular belief -- but with one hand only and only with the bone grasped between the thumb and forefinger. It's a beautiful sight.
post #62 of 82
I'm all for table manners to make it more comfortable for others to dine around you (e.g. chew with your mouth closed) but many "manners" seem arbitrary and I can't figure them out.

The whole no elbows on the table thing always seemed very arbitrary that its somehow rude. It it meant for large groups of people sitting at very small tables where space is a problem?
post #63 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCashflow View Post
I'm all for table manners to make it more comfortable for others to dine around you (e.g. chew with your mouth closed) but many "manners" seem arbitrary and I can't figure them out.

The whole no elbows on the table thing always seemed very arbitrary that its somehow rude. It it meant for large groups of people sitting at very small tables where space is a problem?

No elbows in the most formal settings sort of works but I think that's something that has relaxed. Elbows on the table might make one seem to "familiar" with a guest, but among friends and in a place that isn't formal you see it all the time. Really not a big deal, but would never do at a formal dinner.
post #64 of 82
despite the fantasies of countless euro***s this is not a definitive American style. about 99% of Americans use their fork and knife correctly, ie not switching hands after cutting. not sure why anyone would want to affect this style as it evokes nothing other than barbarism of the purely distasteful sort. the standard style is logical and efficient as most people are right handed, and the knife, which requires more dexterity, and is a sharp, pointed knife, should be held in the hand less likely to result in terrible accidents. now, if you want to intentionally use your left hand to develop its dexterity, that is understandable.
post #65 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCashflow View Post
The whole no elbows on the table thing always seemed very arbitrary that its somehow rude. It it meant for large groups of people sitting at very small tables where space is a problem?

i believe the logic behind this rule would relate to how it affects your posture. if your elbows on the table, in addition to invading the DMZ of the table, you are de facto either hunching over or bearing over your opponents. sit up straight.
post #66 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by SField View Post
I'm sorry but I find inelegant eating to be far more offensive than someone who is poorly dressed. Lipstick on a pig, my friend.

Ok I will rephrase, when you are the one paying for the meal on the table nobody has the right to tell you how to eat.
post #67 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scientific View Post
despite the fantasies of countless euro***s this is not a definitive American style. about 99% of Americans use their fork and knife correctly, ie not switching hands after cutting. not sure why anyone would want to affect this style as it evokes nothing other than barbarism of the purely distasteful sort.

Contrary to(apparently) popular belief, switching the fork from one hand to another is NOT wrong, nor is it barbaric, at least according to american etiquette.
post #68 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post
Ok I will rephrase, when you are the one paying for the meal on the table nobody has the right to tell you how to eat.

Again, anyone with manners will not tell you they think you're a barbarian, they'll just think it. Obviously if someone eats barbarically, they do not care or do not know. Either way, people with a certain type of breeding will think poorly of such a person. There are those in that situation who'd care and those who won't.

I cannot imagine any situation, regardless of who is paying, in which someone would comment on table manners, unless it's your kid.
post #69 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen View Post
Contrary to(apparently) popular belief, switching the fork from one hand to another is NOT wrong, nor is it barbaric, at least according to american etiquette.

I wouldn't say it's barbaric, but typically people who need to do that don't know how to elegantly handle a knife and fork.. which goes for a lot of americans. Have seen plenty of french with ghastly manners as well.
post #70 of 82
I have no problem with switching hands. I do it, and I would estimate that 99.9% of Americans with whom I have eaten do as well. It is simply a different way of doing things, equally correct. I imagine that 99% of you Americans claiming to eat Euro style actually do not. I believe SField does, however.
post #71 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
I have no problem with switching hands. I do it, and I would estimate that 99.9% of Americans with whom I have eaten do as well. It is simply a different way of doing things, equally correct. I imagine that 99% of you Americans claiming to eat Euro style actually do not. I believe SField does, however.
I'm curious as to why you switch? I find my fork to be a lot less effective in my right hand (even being right handed,) and I use my knife for so much more than just cutting. I was basically told as a kid that all these "rules" are actually to make eating easier... less motion, no jerking, less messy... and to be quite honest that's what I've found. I watch a lot of americans eat, even polite ones, and even though they're methods don't offend my sensibilities, I am just thinking to myself "there's a much easier, more efficient way to do what you're trying to do." For such a fat country, americans work incredibly hard when they eat. My nanny would usually criticize me if I made more than 3 motions to get a piece of food to my mouth. I see the wisdom now.
post #72 of 82
It is how I learned as a child, and I never felt any need to change. I can't say that there is any logic, just habit. FWIW, a huge percentage of Americans I see hold their utensils like they were clubs. That grosses me out, not whether they switch hands. My guess is that a large percentage of people here do as well, since my take is that the average manners here are probably middle of the road when compared to others in their various cultures.
post #73 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Bardamu View Post
This is absolutely the proper way to use a fork in terms of etiquette, but how contra-functional!

Next question: who spoons their soup away from them?

spoons for soup? wtf?
post #74 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by scientific View Post
despite the fantasies of countless euro***s this is not a definitive American style. about 99% of Americans use their fork and knife correctly, ie not switching hands after cutting. not sure why anyone would want to affect this style as it evokes nothing other than barbarism of the purely distasteful sort.

the standard style is logical and efficient as most people are right handed, and the knife, which requires more dexterity, and is a sharp, pointed knife, should be held in the hand less likely to result in terrible accidents.

now, if you want to intentionally use your left hand to develop its dexterity, that is understandable.

Although I'm left handed - I use my right hand to do incisions with scalpels and my right hand to suture. The way we learned is being handed off half sutured things and having a consultant look over while you work. So you had to finish sutures right handed because the partially finished sutures' orientation forced you to. The few times I assisted a surgical consultant who was purely left handed it was disorienting.

I know the formal ways of eating, but adjust accordingly. If you're at a fucking barbecue then eat with your hands and enjoy yourself. If you're amongst close friends/family then go head a break all the rules you want.

But if you're at a formal setting then by all means use your knowledge and do it properly.

I just hate when I'm corrected by people who think they are doing something right when in fact they're flat out wrong or there are no rules mandating so - like being told that eating with a fork with my left hand is rude.
post #75 of 82
I alternate between Euro-style manners that I learned from my mother and Chinese slurping and shoveling action I learned from my father. I recognize the fact that the latter is generally disconcerting to those of a purely Western upbringing, so I typically refrain from it while dining out in public or with those I'm not familiar with. Also, obviously, I only do it while eating Asian-style food with chopsticks.
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