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Old 02-02-2011, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Burlington County NJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debzkidz View Post
As a child I was taught to cut all the food on the plate at once, then put the knife down. I have since been taught that that was considered rude. I cut each piece as I'm about to eat it, and place the knife down between bites. I do not change hands. I hold the knife with my right and the fork with my left. Maybe because I'm left handed, but a bit ambidextrous. I was always taught it was ill mannered to hold both utensils in your hands while eating.
That is what I do - cut it all up first then put the knife down. I would never do this if I knew it was considered rude, but I wonder why? And I have always told my children to to the same. Should I be teaching them differently?
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
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I use the fork in the left, the knife in the right, but the knife gets set down when it's not being used. I cut as I go.

I hear what you're saying swisswife on clearing the table making one person feel they have to hurry up and finish - that IS an uncomfortable feeling and as a slower eater I often end up there - however, I'm just as aware that I finished last when their empty plates are there. It's not rude in the US not to clear the plates as they're finished, in fact it's probably considered rude by most people if the servers don't clear the finished plates. Some of them are overzealous about it though, like let me eat those last two french fries for heaven's sake!
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:54 AM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 1,299,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nic529 View Post
That is what I do - cut it all up first then put the knife down. I would never do this if I knew it was considered rude, but I wonder why? And I have always told my children to to the same. Should I be teaching them differently?
No what you are doing is perfectly correct in the US - its just different from how we are taught in Europe....... not wrong just different.
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:56 AM
 
8,602 posts, read 12,203,810 times
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I was taught the American way and so that is what I do. But, the American way does not include clanging any silverware or cutting up more than what one can put in one's mouth in the next bite or two. I really could not care less how Europeans do it. For the most part, European culture is vulgar and unsanitary and has little to offer the rest of the world at this point. Asians have a very cool approach. Cut it all up before its cooked and then just spoon it in with those chopsticks. Very efficient and not too gross.

I follow the rules for my own satisfaction and do not look down on others who make bridges or hold their utensils like a weapon to be used in a mugging. That's OK with me if its ok with them.

I can get every morsel of meat from a crab body or a chicken wing with a knife and fork and not make a mess doing so. Its a source of pride.

As for the restaurant service people. Its very simple. Set the ground rules when you get there. Say:

"She ordered a soup I ordered none. Bring her soup when you bring our salads." or

"bring all of our entrees at the same time" or

"bring everything at once (in those instances where some people are ordering their main dish off the appetizer menu)" or

"we will not be ordering desert. Leave our check when the entree plates are removed" or

"let me keep my menu. I want to think about desert" or

"her dish is cold (or wrong). If you can get a replacement dish in front of her in two minutes, great. If not take everything back until everything is right"

"I see you are very crowded. If you can give us good service in spite of this I'll stay and tip you well, but if not, expect me to stand up and leave at any time you have not attended to us. Just let me know now, no hard feelings. I'll go elsewhere"
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:04 AM
 
Location: New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debzkidz View Post
I just reread the OP and couldn't help but laugh at the first part. Teaching manners is not something typically done is U.S. public schools. Most of the lunch ladies that I have experienced, either in my own education, or in my kids, were just there to make sure food fights didn't break out. I don't even really recall the actual lunch ladies ever really leaving the kitchen. Usually its either just a couple of teachers assigned to "lunch duty" or at one our my kids schools they hired a mom to come in and control the crowd. Plus many of the kids brought their lunches from home. No utensils required for PB&J, chips and a cookie.
Our dinner-ladies were fierce !! lol. We had to finish every item on our plates. It taught us not to be greedy and now I go back to buffets more than anyone else because I have been programmed to only put a small amount of food on my plate and go back if I want more.... not waste it. Not a bad way I guess - just a little harsh when you are only 6 !!

If they were behind you and you had your elbows on the table they would literally knock them off...... and you couldn't complain when you went home..... My mum would simply say that my elbows had no business being on the table anyway.... which I guess is fair enough
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
6,589 posts, read 10,123,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swisswife View Post
Our dinner-ladies were fierce !! lol. We had to finish every item on our plates. It taught us not to be greedy and now I go back to buffets more than anyone else because I have been programmed to only put a small amount of food on my plate and go back if I want more.... not waste it. Not a bad way I guess - just a little harsh when you are only 6 !!

If they were behind you and you had your elbows on the table they would literally knock them off...... and you couldn't complain when you went home..... My mum would simply say that my elbows had no business being on the table anyway.... which I guess is fair enough
Reminds me of some of my Dad's stories about the Kinderheim he had to stay in when his parents took him to Europe (they both immigrated here) in the 50's. There was a man named Hans there who really liked to grab people's ears when they were bad, which was apparently all the time. I've always wondered how unvarnished those stories were.

Last edited by Debsi; 02-02-2011 at 10:21 AM..
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:16 AM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 1,299,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilson1010 View Post
Asians have a very cool approach. Cut it all up before its cooked and then just spoon it in with those chopsticks. Very efficient and not too gross.
I completely agree about the chopsticks things. The first time I went to a Chinese restaurant I felt completely inadequate because I couldn't eat properly with chopsticks. I ate all my food ( at home !) chopped into small pieces with chopsticks until I could do it properly. When we lived in Asia I even did some Japanese cooking classes where we cooked using chopsticks.

My husbands company have an annual recruitment drive for graduates. when we were in hong Kong they had a big Asian lunch for the candidates and then a western dinner. They actually rejected those with bad knife/fork or chopstick skills or bad table manners because a big part of their job is client facing and entertaining. This was just one way to weed out people when faced with 50 candidates (all with 2 degrees and speaking several languages) who were competing for 20 places. .....on a side note the other way was to ask which from a list of 5 'company banned' websites they would choose to have on their computers. Those who chose facebook / myspace over google were out.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:19 AM
 
Location: New York
1,339 posts, read 1,299,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debsi View Post
Reminds me of some of my Dad's stories about the Kinderheim he had to stay in when his parents took him to Europe (they both immigrated here) in the 50's. There was a man named Hans there who really like to grab people's ears when they were bad, which was apparently all the time. I've always wondered how unvarnished those stories were.
Oh that happened all the time in our school !! lol.
We had a teacher who was Polish and a POW. His POW clothes were brown so he hates the colour. We had to leave anything brown outside the classroom and I still remember colouring trees in orange!! He used to have a meter ruler and would lean from his desk and rap the back of our knuckles if we were naughty, and god help you if you got home and had to explain why you had red knuckles
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:23 AM
 
3,490 posts, read 5,121,610 times
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I was also taught strict table manners in the English way - fork in left hand tines down and knife in the right hand, neither put down at all during eating.

In Denmark I got laughed at in school for holding my fork 'the wring way up'.

I was also a bit shocked the first time I saw my husband cut up all his food before putting down his knife and switching the fork to the right hand. I seriously though it meant noone had ever taught him table manners.

Living here I've adapted to the American way of doing things unless I'm in a posh restaurant then I can't help but go back to the way I was taught.
My husband no longer cuts up everything on his plate with anything other than pancakes. Apparently it's to do with the syrup soaking in. Lol.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:31 AM
 
24 posts, read 20,029 times
Reputation: 50
My father-in-law sometimes uses no utensil out the dinner table. Sometimes he'll reach out for an item, grab it between two fingers, and then pop it into his mouth. It's sad because sometimes it's an item that I would like to sample.
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