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American table manners

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Allen, May 14, 2011.

  1. Allen

    Allen Well-Known Member

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    I live in Europe. However I enjoy the american style of dining("where meat is cut with the knife in the right hand and fork in the left, but then the utensils are switched after cutting. The knife is placed across the top of the plate, and the fork is switched from the left hand to right.") instead of the European one of eating with your left hand.
    I have attended many dinners before, and no one seemed to care, but recently a friend told me that it's bad manners(perhaps not being aware of american manners).
    So, is it in bad taste to eat American-ish in Europe or is it a matter of preference?
    Mind you, I got used to the American style and it would be hard for me to change.
     
  2. Jokerman

    Jokerman Well-Known Member

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    The whole concept of having to hold your utensils in a certain way is absurd. I eat the way that is comfortable for me. If anyone comments about the way I eat I just laugh. Then again I despised being told how to do something.
     
  3. Rambo

    Rambo Well-Known Member

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    American's have manners? [​IMG]
     
  4. OldGeezer

    OldGeezer Well-Known Member

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    I grew up going between the US and the UK. When in London, we would eat the "English" way--fork in left hand (upside down) and knife in right hand, with index fingers extended on each utensil. In the US we would go back the the "American" way. Both are equally comfortable for me, but I eat the American way in the US, and usually in Europe. However, when in UK, I still eat the English way without thinking about it.
     
  5. StephenHero

    StephenHero Well-Known Member

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    I put the knife in my left hand and the fork in my right hand. Then I cut food and eat it. Then I repeat this process until I'm not hungry any more.
     
  6. holymadness

    holymadness Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't aware there was an American way. I thought everyone put the fork in left, knife in right.
     
  7. dcg

    dcg Well-Known Member

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    ^I am left handed and do the opposite. But then, I have never been accused of having excellent manners.
     
  8. spence

    spence Well-Known Member

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    While I wasn't raised this way, at some time I did switch to, and to this day always use the EU style of knife and fork. I just find it to be easier...

    That being said, switching the fork from left to right shouldn't ever be considered bad manners. There are plenty of other things you can do like eating with your mouth open, smacking your lips, reaching across someone etc... that would be universally unacceptable at a proper table.
     
  9. divitius

    divitius Well-Known Member

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    I vaguely recall seeing some WWII movie where a German officer spotted a US infiltrator by watching how he ate a steak. Might have been Inglourious Basterds.
     
  10. StephenHero

    StephenHero Well-Known Member

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    Might have been Inglourious Basterds.

    They caught him because of how he counted on his fingers in IB.
     
  11. L.R.

    L.R. Well-Known Member

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    I always cut my food with my knife in my right hand, but actually eat it with the fork in my right. It's just easier.
     
  12. Master-Classter

    Master-Classter Well-Known Member

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    you guys are referring to "continental" ie American style of eating. In Europe it's considered either strange or rude. Why? because you're shuffling around the utensils which implies that you don't have a good sense of doing things the way they're meant to be done, ie it's "improper" and clumsy, and also sort of implies a lack of upbringing with any sort of adherence to tradition and rules. If you cut everything up first and then only use your fork and eat it's seen as presumptuous to deconstruct the whole plate and then just focus on shoveling it in. It's too contrived and makes it seem like you're just there to eat instead of for the company and you're slowly working your way through some food.


    It would be like buttering the whole piece of bread then taking a bite and putting it back on the plate. it's just not suave. bread should be torn, buttered, and eaten. you wouldn't spread ketchup on the steak, pick it up, bite off a piece and put it back on your plate, would you?

    at least according to Emily Post anyway.


    and OP, don't take this the wrong way but just because nobody said anything doesn't mean they didn't notice and have an opinion about it. Your friend was doing you a favor by pointing it out.
     
  13. Nil

    Nil Well-Known Member

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    Everyone knows real Americans don't need utensils. What use are they for our hamburgers, pizza and french fries?
     
  14. SField

    SField Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't aware there was an American way. I thought everyone put the fork in left, knife in right.

    you guys are referring to "continental" ie American style of eating. In Europe it's considered either strange or rude. Why? because you're shuffling around the utensils which implies that you don't have a good sense of doing things the way they're meant to be done, ie it's "improper" and clumsy, and also sort of implies a lack of upbringing with any sort of adherence to tradition and rules. If you cut everything up first and then only use your fork and eat it's seen as presumptuous to deconstruct the whole plate and then just focus on shoveling it in. It's too contrived and makes it seem like you're just there to eat instead of for the company and you're slowly working your way through some food.


    It would be like buttering the whole piece of bread then taking a bite and putting it back on the plate. it's just not suave. bread should be torn, buttered, and eaten. you wouldn't spread ketchup on the steak, pick it up, bite off a piece and put it back on your plate, would you?

    at least according to Emily Post anyway.


    and OP, don't take this the wrong way but just because nobody said anything doesn't mean they didn't notice and have an opinion about it. Your friend was doing you a favor by pointing it out.


    I'm sorry but I find most americans to have brutish table manners. "European" table manners are actually designed to give one the most efficient, and clean way of eating. I don't judge people with manners like yours but I just don't get it.

    It seems incredibly inefficient and to me looks rather inelegant. But that's me, and it doesn't really matter that much.
     
  15. Allen

    Allen Well-Known Member

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    ^I am left handed and do the opposite. But then, I have never been accused of having excellent manners.
    As far as I know, if you are left handed you simply reverse the role of the right with the left.

    at least according to Emily Post anyway.

    and OP, don't take this the wrong way but just because nobody said anything doesn't mean they didn't notice and have an opinion about it. Your friend was doing you a favor by pointing it out.


    About that Emily Post thing: notice how the fork ends up in the right hand from time to time.

    Mind you, it is not bad table manners to do that in the US, I was just asking if it is also correct in Europe.

    I don't think all Americans have bad table manners. For example, I have friends from Boston and from Louisiana and frankly, they have good table manners. At least, better than a certain frenchman I know.
     
  16. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues Well-Known Member

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    One would think it is poor manners to stare at someone, watch how they eat, then critique their method of utilizing eating utensils. When this happens to me I just lift my leg and express myself. Miraculously the crowd disperses and I can go back to eating my meal in peace...[​IMG]
     
  17. SField

    SField Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know, if you are left handed you simply reverse the role of the right with the left.



    About that Emily Post thing: notice how the fork ends up in the right hand from time to time.

    Mind you, it is not bad table manners to do that in the US, I was just asking if it is also correct in Europe.

    I don't think all Americans have bad table manners. For example, I have friends from Boston and from Louisiana and frankly, they have good table manners. At least, better than a certain frenchman I know.


    People's manners in the south are usually much better than what I've observed in the midwest, east coast, and anything but a certain strata in the North East.
     
  18. SField

    SField Well-Known Member

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    One would think it is poor manners to stare at someone, watch how they eat, then critique their method of utilizing eating utensils. When this happens to me I just lift my leg and express myself. Miraculously the crowd disperses and I can go back to eating my meal in peace...[​IMG]
    It is rude to stare, and certainly rude to comment. Someone with good manners would do neither, but there would still be some measure of judgement made against you that you'd be completely unaware of.
     
  19. Another New Yorker

    Another New Yorker Well-Known Member

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    People's manners in the south are usually much better than what I've observed in the midwest, east coast, and anything but a certain strata in the North East.

    I always eat the continental way--it was how I was taught. In New England it is very common, but in the South almost everyone prefers switching after cutting. They do it very gracefully though so there's something to be said for that.
     
  20. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues Well-Known Member

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    It is rude to stare, and certainly rude to comment. Someone with good manners would do neither, but there would still be some measure of judgement made against you that you'd be completely unaware of.
    So true, but, there are judgments made regarding just about every person on earth. Most of those judgments are not made public nor are they cause for incitement or indigestion.
     

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