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Settle something for me ... is it gauche to pre-cut your steak into bite-sized pieces?

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Is it?

Peter Luger sort of precuts your porterhouse for you (though not necessarily into bite-sized pieces).

But I've always been told that doing it is sort of bad form.

So, if you are at a steakhouse (Luger, Ruth's Chris, CUT, or whatever), is it bad form to pre-cut your ribeye or NY strip, or whatever cut of beef, into little bite-sized pieces and then dig away?

  1. For all except those wearing bibs in high chairs, yes.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Or those with an AARP card?

      1. re: ipsedixit

        That overlaps with the "other" bib crowd...

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Wait a minute! I'm AARP and don't cut my food into tiny pieces then eat it. Although occassionally my husband does,,,,,,, but he is eleven months older.

          1. re: sharhamm

            A tell-tale sign of what's ahead.
            Tick. tick. Tick.

            1. re: Veggo

              Ha! No kidding. I routinely have to cut food for my 79-year old mother and 90-year old father. I thought those days were over when my daughter was old enough to fend for herself.

              My mother ordered beef rouladen the other evening and couldn't cut it. I was a little annoyed at her helplessness (she isn't as addled as she often leads others to believe). I tried to cut it while sitting down. I could not--it was that tough. I had to stand up to cut the meat. The manager noticed what I was doing, came over to check things out and agreed it was unacceptably tough. My silly mother wouldn't let them make her a new one, she insisted on chewing her way through that one (once I had done the hard work!).

              1. re: jlhinwa

                Did we have the same mother? Mine would have gone through the same brouhaha, then the next day call and complain bitterly and pathetically about the meal she needed help eating, so the manager would give her a generous comp certificate for a free meal there. And take somebody else there for dinner, after we'd paid for her meal.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  My mom usually doesn't like making a fuss so I was a bit surprised at her performance the other night. I don't know if she is paying me back for the times I embarrassed her in public when I was a kid or what?!

                  The meat really was tough and I think that asking to have it prepared again or subbed for something comparable would have been in order. But to complain and then demolish everything on her plate?!? Yikes. Add that to my list of things I don't want to do when I'm old and getting batty.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    EWSflash - Your mother MUST be my father's sister! That is actually what she would do.

                    1. re: cleobeach

                      ...and my husband's mom's sister! My husband and I have a pact that if we ever become like that, there will be an "accident"!

        2. Removing meat from a large bone-in steak and slices it to serve is wildly different that cutting one's meat into bite-sized pieces all at once. As Veggo said above, one does this for infants. I would add the blind and infirm, if necessary.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pikawicca

            Well, ok. Devil's Advocate here for a moment.

            The examples you cite above are cutting the meat for someone else (or someone cutting the meat for you)

            Same rule applies if you cut if for yourself?

          2. Don't ya just want to know who made up those rules? When I read the heading, the answer was an automatic 'yes' in my head, but for the life of me, I can't remember when or where I learned that.

            Why should anyone else care as long as you aren't flinging food bits at them while cutting and all the rest of your table manners are appropriate (i.e., no drooling, spitting, chewing with mouth open, talking while chewing, etc.).

            1 Reply
            1. re: jlhinwa

              +1

              No. +10

              I cut 2 or 3 at a time. So sue me.

              1. Wouldn't that encourage the steak to cool down faster than you might want? My ex-boyfriend's father used to pre-cut his steak. He also used to take two knives and hack a bowl of spaghetti into bits. He liked to eat fast.

                9 Replies
                1. re: small h

                  hacking spaghetti into bits... now THAT i am definitely not a fan of

                  1. re: small h

                    I tend to cut my spaghetti to be neater. Longer strands flop around, spattering sauce. Since I am not Italian (real or pseudo) I did not adopt the practice or skill of neatly twirling long strands of spaghetti around my fork.

                    1. re: paulj

                      I've nothing against cutting spaghetti in order to make it neater to eat. But this guy wasn't trying to be neat, as evidenced by the amount of sauce and pasta bits that landed on the table during the hacking. He was just trying to save time.

                      I think a general rule is that any behavior at the table that causes your dining companions to wonder what the hell you're doing is best avoided. Exceptions for attention whores and performance artists.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Try.

                        One does not need to be Italian to be able to eat an Italian dish in a manner approximating what Italians do.

                        1. re: huiray

                          I suppose I should also slurp my Asian noodles :)

                          1. re: huiray

                            Easier said than done.

                            My own strategy is not to order long strands of pasta out. I will never forget the job interview when the penne dish came to the table with fettucine instead. The waiter explained after delivering the dish that there was a substitution. Didn't get that job, but don't think it had to do with my only eating the chicken and ignoring the fettucini ... after all, I was wearing a white blouse.

                            When I worked in Taiwain, I spent months before eating everthing with chopsticks, even oatmeal. To this day I still am an oaf with chopstics.

                            When I moved back to the US, I took my Guatemalan stepdaughters to a dim sum joint and promtly managed to shoot something across the dining room with my chopsticks.

                            You can try, but there are some things hard to master for some people

                          2. re: paulj

                            I'm with paulj on this one. Twirling full-length spaghetti covered with red sauce is for me a cross between a weed whacker and a lawn sprinkler in my hands. That, or I end up with a clump on my fork the size of a jai-alai ball.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Wow- how fast are you twirling it around?? I'm picturing somethng like an eggbeater (can't help it, makes me laugh)