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Does anyone else consider this rude?

justme123 Apr 18, 2013 04:04 PM

It drives me crazy when people cut up all of the food on their plate before they begin to eat. Many members of my DH's family do this (but not DH, thank goodness), and it drives me nuts. I seem to remember my mother telling me this was considered poor manners. Am I crazy, or did mom know best?

  1. John E. Jul 20, 2013 07:27 PM

    This thread is getting kind of long and I've made a comment or two. It just occurred to me however that even if cutting up the food on a plate breaks some sort of rule of etiquette, it would not seem to me to rise the level of being rude? I think for something to be rude, it would need to be some action done intentionally to insult someone.

    10 Replies
    1. re: John E.
      paulj Jul 20, 2013 08:02 PM

      Your usage of 'rude' seems to be the dominant one now. However I think it used to mean the opposite of educated, well-mannered, sophisticated, polished (manners) or just civilized. For example, phrases like 'rude peasant' or 'rude construction'. On google ngram, uses like this have drop off since 1900. 19th c examples include British descriptions of the Scotch.

      1. re: paulj
        John E. Jul 20, 2013 09:02 PM

        I am using the sense of rude as I know it now. Somebody chewing their food, opening their mouth and showing the masticated food is rude (as children seem to delight in doing at a young age). The way someone eats their food as long as it has no impact on me does not seem to rise to the level of rude, as I appy it.

      2. re: John E.
        debbiel Jul 20, 2013 08:05 PM

        I think I have a broader sense of rude. I work on a college campus. I am amazed at how frequently I walk down a sidewalk, have two or three students walking toward me shoulder to shoulder, with none of them seeming to understand that they need to reposition themselves, get one behind the other so that we may pass one another with everyone staying on the sidewalk.

        I don't think they are doing this to intentionally insult me. I think they are just terribly self-absorbed. But I still call it rude.

        1. re: debbiel
          John E. Jul 20, 2013 09:00 PM

          I agree that this kind of self-absorbtion is rude. It is thoughtless which in some ways may be worse than intentional because they apparently are unaware of good manners.

          1. re: John E.
            Lizard Jul 21, 2013 12:10 AM

            Self-absorption is definitely rude as it is a posture that places oneself at the centre of the world, others be dammed. That goes beyond manners, although we could say that 'manners' and 'etiquette' were those things put in place to check some of those tendencies. There could be other functions as well, but I think those might be the first.

        2. re: John E.
          Tom34 Jul 20, 2013 08:10 PM

          I agree, rude is a little strong. Not of the best manners may be more appropriate depending on the circumstances. I do think that barring any of the exceptions mentioned in this thread, generally in a formal setting, it should not be done.

          1. re: Tom34
            John E. Jul 20, 2013 09:06 PM

            Until this thread came along, I did not know there was an etiquette rule about cutting up food (I assume it's mostly meat) prior to eating it. I don't see why it is all that important. I don't care how somebody else eats their food. I've seen people eat one type of food at a time, meaning all of their meat, then the vegetable, then the starch. I might find it unusual, but I would not find it rude.

            Just the other day, I cooked a venison loin. The loin came from a young deer so it was kind of slender. I folded it over and tied it for cooking. It was already kind of in a couple of pieces on the plate and I cut it up into several smaller pieces and began eating. Oh the horror, those at the table stopped eating, covered their mouth in amazement at what I had done and had to leave the table because of my infraction.

            1. re: John E.
              Agiyosi Jul 21, 2013 12:12 AM

              Later that evening I hope you held your left hand over an open flame, tense with Stoicism and shame, and then proceeded to flagellate yourself with banded sinew cordage from the deer.

              1. re: John E.
                Gastronomos Jul 21, 2013 03:53 PM

                Spaghetti cooked uncut and plated. Sauced or not, a knife taken to the plate to cut it up in to almost rice sized pieces.
                Still, I don't know if this is "rude", but those that do this that I know also find it necessary to "rudely" SHOW how their way is better than, say, twirling spaghetti around a fork and having None of it hanging out of your mouth. That is, if anyone knows how to do that anymore. I guess having a wad of pisketti hanging half outta your pie hole while simultaneously chewing and having it drop outta your pie hole is rude, and childish, and uncouth, and...

                1. re: Gastronomos
                  John E. Jul 21, 2013 04:42 PM

                  What you describe is not as gross as what a cousin of mine does occasionally. Thankfully, I have only witnessed it one time. He basically snorts a piece of cooked spaghetti and somehow retrieves it through his sinus and has one end out of his nose and the other end out his mouth. I suggested they were not connected and he disproved me of that notion. (This is in the territory of blowing bubbles out of one's tear ducts.)

          2. m
            mastercooker Jul 20, 2013 01:46 PM

            I understand that for some people they have to get their food cut up before but for me it's just bad manners

            1 Reply
            1. re: mastercooker
              Firegoat Jul 20, 2013 02:31 PM

              I just tend to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they just had their braces tightened and their mouth hurts. Maybe they suffer from some sort of OCD or other mental event. As long as they aren't cutting up my food for me, I don't care. Live and let live.

            2. a
              alwayshungrygal Jun 28, 2013 10:40 AM

              It does not drive me crazy nor do I think it rude. As to whether it is "poor manners," I find there are much more egregious failures in that area these days than cutting up all the food on their plate.

              A few weeks ago I ate in the food court of a nearby building (not a shopping mall) and sat at a community table. I saw a young man actually lower his head down to his plate, and use his fork and tongue to lap up a large piece of broccoli. Meaning, he didn't use the fork to spear the food, it was just used to guide it towards his tongue. Now THAT grossed me out. And lest anyone think it was a "cultural" thing (and I hope I don't offend anyone with this reference), he was Caucasian, definitely American born.

              As for me, I often cut a few pieces of chicken or meat at one time but not the whole thing. I was raised to keep my elbows off the table and not talk with my mouth full of food but there were things I didn't learn from my parents, and learned them here on Chowhound or elsewhere. I don't think my parents were delinquent in how I was raised, but clearly they didn't know all the "rules," and they weren't raised poorly either.

              9 Replies
              1. re: alwayshungrygal
                MGZ Jun 28, 2013 11:15 AM

                " I saw a young man actually lower his head down to his plate, and use his fork and tongue to lap up a large piece of broccoli. Meaning, he didn't use the fork to spear the food, it was just used to guide it towards his tongue."

                Awesome. Had I seen that, I woulda paid for the kid's lunch. If he thanked me, I woulda told him, "It's OK, Kid. Ain't like your ever gonna get a girl, so it seemed like the least I could do."

                1. re: MGZ
                  Gastronomos Jun 28, 2013 11:46 AM

                  "I got a six inch tongue and can breathe through my ears"...

                  1. re: Gastronomos
                    MGZ Jun 28, 2013 11:57 AM

                    His only chance.

                    You should know that the first time a girl asked me to the Prom, that's what she said. I was only fifteen, so I replied, ""That's so cool. Do you wanna go spear fishing?"

                    1. re: MGZ
                      Tom34 Jun 28, 2013 06:19 PM

                      "His only chance".... must be referring to the 6 inch tongue? :-)

                2. re: alwayshungrygal
                  Firegoat Jun 28, 2013 11:55 AM

                  I hate to even admit this. But I have never seen anyone literally lick their plate clean before the current BF (he of the scary salads). I've seen people use bread or rolls to mop of some good sauce or the like.... but one night (at home!!! at least he hasn't done it in public) I look over and he has picked up the plate and is licking it completely clean. He just told me I should be flattered that he liked the food so much. But I think he figured out from my reaction that he might not ever want to do that in front of me again.

                  1. re: Firegoat
                    girloftheworld Jun 28, 2013 12:05 PM

                    I will admit at Uchiko I used my finger once on the plate to retrieve bits and pieces.... but other people were doing it too!

                    1. re: girloftheworld
                      MGZ Jun 28, 2013 12:10 PM

                      Little Pup, fingers are God's given utensil.

                  2. re: alwayshungrygal
                    paulj Jun 28, 2013 12:26 PM

                    If I'd seen someone eat like that young man, I would have suspected coordination problems.

                    1. re: paulj
                      alwayshungrygal Jun 28, 2013 01:00 PM

                      He didn't seem to have any coordination problems. He held the fork correctly, he just didn't use it appropriately. In that particular moment, he didn't make any attempt to try another method. And I forgot, he speared a whole breast of chicken with the fork and bit into the end. He ate it that way the whole meal. He did not seem physically impaired in any way, which would have been a valid excuse for not using a knife to cut the chicken.

                  3. d
                    deputygeorgie Jun 25, 2013 10:22 PM

                    I've wondered if this was actually a 'rule' or just something that bugged my mom. She said it was rude. You cut one piece, put it in your mouth and put your fork and knife down while you chew. Now anyone that doesn't do this annoys me. I know someone who does this plus eats one item completely, and actually rotates her plate to move onto the next. Annoys me to no end but really, what IS the big deal?

                    1. Firegoat Jun 14, 2013 10:07 AM

                      Unless they are chewing with their mouth open I really don't care what they do with their food. Don't be rude or condescending to waitstaff. Don't be a cheap tipper, don't make me watch your digestion process and I'm a happy camper. I actually think the pancake stabbing idea is brilliant.

                      1. girloftheworld Jun 14, 2013 07:48 AM

                        it is bad manners if you are at a restrunt. I dont like it because people often leave cut up pieces on the plate and it looks like they didn't like it or something.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: girloftheworld
                          MGZ Jun 14, 2013 08:00 AM

                          Are you sayin' it's bad manners 'cause you don't like it or 'cause someone once told you it was and you failed to think about why such an antiquated rule might exist?

                          1. re: MGZ
                            girloftheworld Jun 14, 2013 09:53 AM

                            I think the "custom" actually started as a way of being respectful to the portions leftover. If you cut up all the meat on the plate and did not finish it all that was left was tiny scraps. If you left a large piece of meat untouched then the cook could repupose the leftovers during frugal times... .

                            1. re: girloftheworld
                              paulj Jun 14, 2013 11:30 AM

                              In truly frugal times the meat would have been cut up in the kitchen and served in a stew or soup. Rules about cutting one bite at a time come from people like Emily Post. She writes more about managing a large household staff and formal dinners than about frugal use of leftovers.

                          2. re: girloftheworld
                            paulj Jun 14, 2013 08:46 AM

                            What does it look like if that same amount of meat is left uncut?

                            1. re: paulj
                              girloftheworld Jun 14, 2013 09:55 AM

                              because I am weird. it looks like the person saw the meat and went wow this looks amazing and cut it up allllll excited ate a bit and then went "oh guess I was wrong" I know totally not logical

                          3. j
                            Jerzeegirl Jun 12, 2013 08:34 AM

                            My boyfriend cuts his pancakes in a grid pattern, then pours the syrup in. Strange? Maybe. Rude? Don't think so. Besides, why question how he cuts up his food when he obviously has impeccable taste in women?

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Jerzeegirl
                              MGZ Jun 12, 2013 08:38 AM

                              Hat's off, indeed.

                              1. re: Jerzeegirl
                                alwayshungrygal Jun 12, 2013 02:02 PM


                                1. re: Jerzeegirl
                                  sandylc Jun 12, 2013 03:05 PM

                                  Ha. I like. Hope you are still as charmed by this 50 years from now!

                                  1. re: sandylc
                                    Jerzeegirl Jun 13, 2013 09:45 AM

                                    If I'm alive 50 years from now, I sure will be because by then I'll be over 100.

                                  2. re: Jerzeegirl
                                    John E. Jun 12, 2013 03:42 PM

                                    I rarely eat pancakes but I do something similar to your boyfriend and it used to annoy my wife, now she just lets it go. I take the butter knife, after first buttering all of the pancakes and then stack them up and stab them with the knife. Of course this is to let the syrup penetrate the pancakes instead of running down the side of the stack.

                                    1. re: John E.
                                      Tom34 Jun 12, 2013 04:28 PM

                                      That actually sounds brilliant.....how many times do you stab them?

                                      1. re: Tom34
                                        John E. Jun 12, 2013 07:44 PM

                                        I usually stab them about 37 times, enough to make them look like a crime scene. It is similar to what half a grapefruit looks like after having been consumed by someone with a serrated spoon.

                                      2. re: John E.
                                        Jerzeegirl Jun 13, 2013 09:49 AM

                                        That's exactly what he does with the butter. He spreads it on each pancake, then stacks them, cuts them up into the grid & pours the syrup. Like I said, doesn't bother me at all. If I nitpicked everything that everyone I know does that I don't like or think is strange, I'd probably be sitting home alone watching tv all my life.

                                      3. re: Jerzeegirl
                                        Hobbert Jun 13, 2013 09:57 AM

                                        Ha I do that too. I cut them into neat little squares a quarter of a stack at a time. Then the syrup can penetrate and it melts in my mouth. Delicious!

                                      4. LindaWhit Jun 5, 2013 10:35 AM

                                        Some people do it; some don't. (I don't.)

                                        If they want to cut up their entire meal and have everything get cold (vs. holding a bit of heat from the large piece of meat or lasagna, whatever), that's their prerogative to do so.

                                        It's not harming me, so I really don't care.

                                        1. r
                                          RosePearl May 8, 2013 05:47 AM

                                          not really sure why you even notice. eat your food.

                                          1. monavano May 6, 2013 03:06 PM

                                            Funny, I just watched Pioneer Woman make a TexMex meal for friends and family and it featured grilled chicken breast. She cut each chicken breast into strips, saying that she was going into "mom" mode and that she'd be cutting her kids' food up when they're 40.
                                            I hope not!
                                            But, this seemed to be more presentation than bite-sized-because-you-don't-know-how-to-cut-your-own-food type of thing.
                                            Anyway, I thought of this thread and smiled.

                                            1. g
                                              GutGrease Apr 30, 2013 04:28 PM

                                              I don't cut up my food that way, but I might start doing it. If someone found it rude, that would be a very insightful way for me to figure out who in this world gets bound up by minor annoyances. I tend to avoid those people. It makes my life more enjoyable.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: GutGrease
                                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 30, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                <that would be a very insightful way for me to figure out....:

                                                Interesting way to look into the filtering method.

                                              2. grampart Apr 29, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                500 posts and I'm stll not sure if it's really rude ornot.

                                                76 Replies
                                                1. re: grampart
                                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 04:36 PM

                                                  Congratulation for being the 500th poster. Clap clap clap

                                                  I guess we have a very diverse group of opinions here. Some think it is rude, and some don't. I think this just means it is a split topic.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                    MGZ Apr 29, 2013 04:45 PM

                                                    Maybe it's just evidence of how rules evolve.

                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                      sandylc Apr 29, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                      True. For better or for worse.....

                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                        You are rude.

                                                        (ha ha ha).

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          sandylc Apr 29, 2013 05:23 PM

                                                          Am not! (usually)

                                                      2. re: MGZ
                                                        Tom34 Apr 29, 2013 05:31 PM

                                                        I have seen many, many opinions on both sides, many of which have been very well written, some quite passionately. I may have missed something, but I don't recall seeing a quote from an official etiquette publication rescinding a well documented rule. Without seeing that I would agree that many peoples opinion of the rule have evolved, but not the rule itself.

                                                        1. re: Tom34
                                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 05:42 PM

                                                          <I would agree that many peoples opinion of the rule have evolved, but not the rule itself.>

                                                          But don't rules evolve with opinions?

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                            sandylc Apr 29, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                            My head hurts.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              Tom34 Apr 29, 2013 06:32 PM

                                                              If a sound enough argument is made by enough people I would hope the argument receives serious consideration. Having said that, many people received traffic tickets for disregarding a traffic signal for making a right turn on red for years. After years of testimony by traffic experts, the law was changed to allow a right turn on red in most jurisdictions absent safety issues specific to an intersection.

                                                              My point is until a change is official, a violation is a violation. Now, speeding up the evolution / change process, that's a whole different issue.

                                                              1. re: Tom34
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 29, 2013 08:12 PM

                                                                A traffic violation is different (or any kind of laws). A law is established and enforced by a small group of people, and the they can change the law, like your income tax. Someone can dictate which is the tax date. April 15 or April 17.

                                                                Not so for manner and etiquette. There is no ruling committee and no official enforcer. They evolve naturally overtime, like the pronunciation of words. Why do the Brits and Americans pronounce the same word differently? These changes usually occur naturally -- by acceptance.

                                                                Let's just say the rule of taking off the shoes in someone's houses. It depends on the people and culture. For some instance, it is strongly encouraged like the Japanese. In other cases, it is not acceptable.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  Tom34 Apr 30, 2013 03:20 AM

                                                                  I understand different rules with different cultures, that's to be expected. I can not speak to every culture, but in the US there are widely recognized publications on the subject and while a violation of the rules will not get a person a ticket it could reflect very negatively on the violator and have very significant consequences both socially & financially. Many of the rules have changed over the years as many people here have pointed out, but until a change is official, my advice to a young person, either in a social setting or business setting, would be to follow established rules. IMHO, If one is going to stand out in a crowd it should not be for having bad manners.

                                                                  1. re: Tom34
                                                                    HillJ Apr 30, 2013 05:20 AM

                                                                    Have we not seen dozens upon dozens of examples of people standing out in a crowd, offered books deals, movies made about their lives, etc. over bad behavior? Bad behavior sells. Poor manners is a part of that behavior.

                                                                    Most people want their children to understand proper behavior. Yes there are reasons why following socially acceptable behaviors works but today we have even bigger projection screens on people who not only thrive acting poorly but for some are the role models for success.

                                                                    Rules changed because SOME people change their idea of what is acceptable, successful, worth following.

                                                                    Do I like it, no. Which is why I concede to not always knowing the appropriate answer BUT work daily on providing the best message I can to my adult children-be kind, be patient, listen.

                                                                    I don't find beating people up over their particular habits all that educational. It's easy to tune out a bully pulpit. Set a good example. That's really all the lecture needed.

                                                                    Last I read, judging others is a form of poor manners.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                                      MGZ Apr 30, 2013 05:38 AM

                                                                      "[B]e kind, be patient, listen"

                                                                      I look upon that as almost a mantra in my life. I hold doors because I am usually the more powerful person getting to the door and some habits die hard.* Those notions are, however, overarching concepts - not structured rules. It gets back to the same theme I have been articulating here - "Stop elevating 'rule over reason', 'form over substance'".

                                                                      "Last I read, judging others is a form of poor manners."

                                                                      Well played.

                                                                      *Although, I did get blasted by a female partner in the first firm I worked in for holding a door for her. I believe she called me a "misogynist".

                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                        HillJ Apr 30, 2013 05:45 AM

                                                                        One woman out of dozens? Those are some good odds, M.

                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                          MGZ Apr 30, 2013 05:50 AM

                                                                          Actually, it was probably one woman out of thousands. That's why I haven't stopped doin' it. It was awkward as hell at the time though.

                                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                                            HillJ Apr 30, 2013 06:20 AM

                                                                            Even better odds but of course a gentleman doesn't give away too much... :)

                                                                            M, do you recall the writers that covered manners on CHOW? One, Table Manners (a la Dear Abby) column that took on wide subjects reported as letters from CH readers and RuBo's a strong in your face "character" that had their own take on the food biz & its behavior.

                                                                            The comment boxes are interesting and in both cases, CHOW puts a spotlight on the topic of manners with a food setting focus and it's still interesting to read the comments. The archives still exist:

                                                                            CHOW's Table Manners

                                                                            CHOW's Ask RuBo

                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                              MGZ Apr 30, 2013 06:29 AM

                                                                              I absolutely do remember 'em. There was some pretty funny prose to be enjoyed. Some of the answers might have made ol' Emily cringe (or, perhaps, question how much longer she wanted to tolerate havin' the stick "in there" when she sat down).

                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                HillJ Apr 30, 2013 06:31 AM

                                                                                Exactly. The comment box was a very small sampling to be sure but it was my favorite part about the articles.

                                                                          2. re: HillJ
                                                                            latindancer Apr 30, 2013 07:20 AM

                                                                            <One woman out of dozens?>

                                                                            Yes, but it *can* stick with the guy that's been called the name. Several friends and I had this conversation lately.
                                                                            Many of the men in our group discussed how the same thing's happened to them over the course of several years. Many of them are quite hesitant and a little leery of having it happen to them again. It's one of those mannerly 'rules' taught to men that many men feel is, possibly, going out of style with alot of women. Women, in my opinion, blur the rules of mannerisms when they do something like that.

                                                                          3. re: MGZ
                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Apr 30, 2013 04:16 PM

                                                                            < I believe she called me a "misogynist".>

                                                                            There are probably some other things before this one incident.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                              MGZ May 1, 2013 08:13 AM

                                                                              "There are probably some other things before this one incident."

                                                                              I'm sure, but they didn't involve me. There was a generation of feminists who thought such things were "rude" and demeaning. In a way, I kinda respect 'em. I mean why should ladies have to order first? Why should I stand when they return to the table? Those are pretty antiquated notions. We let women go to college now, no?

                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                Chemicalkinetics May 1, 2013 08:37 AM

                                                                                <There was a generation of feminists who thought such things were "rude" and demeaning. >

                                                                                No, no, no. I completely understand. What I meant is that are you sure that you didn't not previously did something to upset this woman? Usually, it takes more than just one incident. Moreover, we still hold doors not just for women, but for men too.... so....

                                                                                <In a way, I kinda respect 'em.>

                                                                                I don't respect people who accuse others based on one single (minor) incident. People need to be more forgiving and more willing to see from the views of others. I don't bow to people. But what am I suppose to think if a Japanese bow to me? I can chose to be believe he was being respectful toward me or I can chose to believe that he is mocking me as a non-Japanese. Should I automatically jump to the latter conclusion?

                                                                                Some people just try to get mad at everything. They just assume the world is against them at every incidents. I have seen that times after times. They see things which do not exist. Maybe they feel this behavior gives them some kind of power, but this such a very poor attitude and an unfortunate way to live.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                  MGZ May 1, 2013 08:41 AM

                                                                                  "Moreover, we still hold doors not just for women, but for men too."

                                                                                  Unless they are bigger than me.

                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                    Chemicalkinetics May 1, 2013 08:46 AM

                                                                                    <Unless they are bigger than me.>

                                                                                    What? You only hold doors for men bigger than you? Shouldn't it be the other way around -- if you have to chose.

                                                                                    Edite: Sorry. now I know what you meant.

                                                                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                    jlhinwa May 1, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                                                    "Some people just try to get mad at everything. They just assume the world is against them at every incidents. I have seen that times after times. They see things which do not exist. Maybe they feel this behavior gives them some kind of power, but this such a very poor attitude and an unfortunate way to live."

                                                                                    So true! Can you imagine what things would be like if everyone presumed the best possible intent from someone instead of the worst? A number of years ago I made a vow to myself to do my best to presume the best unless I knew for certain otherwise. Guess what? Even if I am wrong in assuming the best, I still win because I get to be happy and not waste brain space worrying about someone else in a negative way. For me, it's a far better way to go through life.

                                                                                  3. re: MGZ
                                                                                    sandylc May 1, 2013 09:10 AM

                                                                                    We "let" them?????

                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                      MGZ May 1, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                      That was exactly the point.

                                                                                    2. re: MGZ
                                                                                      Bill Hunt Jun 28, 2013 09:35 PM

                                                                                      Back in 1980, I moved from New Orleans, to Denver, CO. As I had been taught, as a Southern Gentleman, I still opened doors, rose when a lady approached the table, pulled her chair for her, rose when she left, and referred to her a "ma`am," even if obviously my junior.

                                                                                      That did not fly in Colorado of the 1980's. Many women were intent on proving, at every level of social interaction and business, that they were perfectly capable of living their lives, with no gentlemen in sight.

                                                                                      I just tuned out the rants, ignored the glaring looks, and continued to do, what I have learned to do. It was not a sign that they could not do for themselves, but that I respected them, and nothing less.

                                                                                      Not sure how that all worked out, as I left after 20 years, but I would assume that most are on-line somewhere, complaining about a lack of civility in society, when the door slams in their face?


                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                        JonParker Jun 29, 2013 07:12 AM

                                                                                        While these days I don't think it's as big an issue, in the 70s and 80s the women's movement was fairly new, and many women felt that they needed to assert their independence.

                                                                                        I'm really sorry that they didn't feel the need to accomodate your feelings by allowing you to hold doors for them. I would consider it rude to insist on doing something that someone else didn't want me to do, regardless of my own feelings. It's really not all about me.

                                                                                        1. re: JonParker
                                                                                          girloftheworld Jul 20, 2013 02:17 PM

                                                                                          Reminds me of being with my grandfather once and he held the door and a woman snaped "You dont have to holdthe door for me because I am lady" and he answered" I held it becauseI am gentleman I didnt know if you were a lady until this moment"

                                                                                          1. re: girloftheworld
                                                                                            Tom34 Jul 20, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                                                            Good for him.

                                                                                            1. re: Tom34
                                                                                              Chemicalkinetics Jul 20, 2013 06:38 PM


                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                Tom34 Jul 20, 2013 08:05 PM

                                                                                                Yeah, but you know what, an old timer who was brought up during a different era was just treating a lady like a lady which is how he was brought up and he gets an ear full. Respect is a two way street, clearly he earned his due respect and was just trying to be a gentleman.

                                                                                            2. re: girloftheworld
                                                                                              Lizard Jul 21, 2013 12:05 AM

                                                                                              Actually, I'd argue that such a hostile response to what is, at best, a neutral statement, is not the best indicator of 'gentlemanly' behaviour.

                                                                                              Moreover, this obsessing about door holding is a tiresome chestnut that allows certain people to ignore institutional issues and make feminism all about them, their feelings, and the mean old nasty ladies who no longer accommodate said feelings.

                                                                                              (I've been on the nasty receiving end of men angered by my reluctance to walk under their armpits or demur as they were holding open a door that now blocked my way to other parts of the hallway. How such nastiness manages to be excused in the minds of those conducting it says a lot. To make this about restaurants, I remember having a man yell at me because I suggested that he might want to let the door to the loo, which looked onto diners, shut in this case, rather than, say expose people on both ends in an effort to be polite-- the last bit I did not explain but hoped he might notice how he was affecting all those around him. I was wrong.)

                                                                                              So again, the hostility levied at those who refuse that which is offered is simply disproportionate and starts to hint at expectations which I won't go into.

                                                                                              As for my stance on doorholding: I do it for _everyone_ in ways that do not put me between the door and the person trying to pass, or in ways that do not force the person to rush and change their gait to accommodate my gesture.

                                                                                              1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                Tom34 Jul 21, 2013 06:57 AM

                                                                                                Wow......I hope I am forewarned before offering a feminist my seat on a full subway car so I don't get an umbrella broken over my head :-)

                                                                                                1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                  debbiel Jul 21, 2013 07:48 AM

                                                                                                  That's a good point. It's not a leap at all to move from someone voicing an opinion about having a door opened to that same person physically assaulting someone.

                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                    Lizard Jul 21, 2013 10:59 AM

                                                                                                    Ha! Seriously, I do not understand Tom's takeaway. It makes me sad and scared.

                                                                                                    1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                      Tom34 Jul 21, 2013 11:31 AM

                                                                                                      I am joking Lizard & Debbiel.

                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                        debbiel Jul 21, 2013 01:02 PM

                                                                                                        Oh. Phew!

                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                            Tom34 Jun 29, 2013 05:28 PM

                                                                                            Bill its called being a gentleman and there is not a god damn thing wrong with that. Most of the women I have known over the years were highly educated, had high pressure rat race jobs and very much wanted to leave the businesswomen persona behind come Saturday Night and be treated like a special lady. If one gave me dirty looks for holding a door, hanging their coat or pulling their chair, I gave them the check! :-)

                                                                                    3. re: HillJ
                                                                                      Tom34 Apr 30, 2013 09:34 PM

                                                                                      Bad behavior: Yes it sells, but like XXX movies, just because it sells doesn't make it good quality. I don't have the numbers in front of me but for the average person, keeping one's nose clean & doing well in school is probably 1000 times more likely to lead to success than bad behavior. Bill Cosby has had quite a bit to say on that subject.

                                                                                      Many rules do change and some remain constant. My guess is that less offensive behavior is more likely to become accepted that more offensive behavior. Equally important is who is judging a persons behavior and what impact their judgement could have on their lives. I would say that trying to follow etiquette rules is a safer path than not and I don't think very many people will think less of you for doing so.

                                                                                      I don't think anyone is advocating beating people up over particular habits, especially minor things like pre-cutting food. As far a judging, hundreds of observations are made within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone for the first time. I wouldn't call that poor manners, I would call it human nature. How a person expresses their conclusion based on those observations is where a problem may arise and be considered poor manners. .

                                                                                    4. re: Tom34
                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 30, 2013 04:14 PM

                                                                                      <but until a change is official>

                                                                                      I disagree. I think it is the other way around. Rules change because people's acceptance change, and not the other way around. Let's take dictionary for example. The spelling or the pronunciation of a word changes not because a dictionary say so. Rather, enough people change, and then the dictionary reflects the changes.

                                                                                      This is what I mean by "rules evolve with opinions". Of course, I don't mean some physical laws. I am referring to conduct like shaking hands or bowing or taking off shoes. These rules exist, not because someone publish something. Rather the publications try to record these changes.

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                        paulj Apr 30, 2013 07:14 PM

                                                                                        Speaking of change, I found out that Emily Post tried to change how Americans used their fork and knife.

                                                                                        In the 1922 book that I found online (Project Guttenburg) she describes how a child should use these. Cut with knife in right, fork in left, convey food to the mouth with the left. Switch fork to right when not using the knife to cut anything. (I quoted this)

                                                                                        In 1928 she called described the American method as 'zig zag' and thought it was unnecessarily inefficient.

                                                                                        from a 1940 clipping:
                                                                                        "To lay down the fork between every mouthful, merely to take it in the
                                                                                        right hand to lift food to the mouth is an absurd affectation quite aply called zigzag eating."

                                                                                        She apparently softened her stance with time, and the current EP Institute basically endorses zigzag.

                                                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 30, 2013 10:33 PM

                                                                                          Yep. So what do you use? American or Continental? I tend to use Continental.

                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                            paulj May 1, 2013 12:18 AM

                                                                                            I'm a lefty - fork's always in my left hand.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                              Chemicalkinetics May 1, 2013 06:49 AM

                                                                                              I am a righty, and fork is often in my left hand too. :)

                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                sandylc May 1, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                I was VERY strictly taught the zigzag and have not worked to switch thus far.

                                                                                                When people in the US began using the "Continental" method, it seemed to be a rather affected sort of thing to do. Those who were doing it at the time seemed kind of snotty to me, so I am having a hard time with it still, even though I know things have evolved mostly to the point of just how things are rather than "look how sophisticated I am"....

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                  hotoynoodle May 1, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                                                                  having worked in restaurants for decades and observed 1000s and 1000s of people eating, you might be surprised at the ignorance of knife/fork etiquette. i doubt even a handful eat any which way to be hoity-toity, lol.

                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                    VenusCafe May 7, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                                                                    Does anyone remember the movie where the American 'spy' was caught b/c he switched his fork to the right hand instead of
                                                                                                    using the continental style?
                                                                                                    Was it "House on 92nd St"?

                                                                                                    1. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                                      John E. May 7, 2013 02:42 PM

                                                                                                      There was a scene like that in The Big Red One (1980) with Lee Marvin.

                                                                                                      1. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                                        sandylc May 8, 2013 09:35 AM

                                                                                                        I do remember hearing about that....

                                                                                                  2. re: paulj
                                                                                                    hotoynoodle May 1, 2013 09:43 AM

                                                                                                    i eat lefty, but with fork in my right hand. seems absurd to switch fork and knife for each cut. been eating that way since i was a kid and long before i knew there was an american vs. continental method to the madness.

                                                                                                    blame the nuns for not wanting me to use the "devil's hand" for anything.

                                                                                                2. re: paulj
                                                                                                  Bill Hunt Jun 28, 2013 09:42 PM


                                                                                                  The "American method," vs the "European/UK method" has been debated, ad infinitum on CH.

                                                                                                  Now, if the purpose is to eat everything, as quickly as is possible, with no pauses for conversation, or anything else, then the Euro/UK method wins. However, many do not consider dining to be a competition. I know that I do not, regardless of the method, that I employ. The first one done, does not win the ribbon.


                                                                                      2. re: Tom34
                                                                                        MGZ Apr 30, 2013 05:23 AM

                                                                                        I agree it's still in the process of changing. Since there really is no longer any true arbiter of etiquette rules and those who are pretentious enough to publish such guides appear to conflict on some subjects, my thinkin' is that it will purely be in practice. I mean, once upon a time it was considered inexcusably rude to take small children on a plane or to a fine French restaurant. Moreover, when's the last time you saw a finger bowl?

                                                                                        Another thought that comes to mind is based upon the fact that the Earth is, in essence, becoming smaller. Clearly, there are cultural differences that dictate different etiquette rules. But what about those situations where they might get muddied as to which rules prevail?

                                                                                        For example, if Americans eating in a Japanese restaurant in America should abide by Japanese rules, should Chinese diners abide by all of the Anglo-American rules when dining in a McDonalds in Shanghai? Is there a definitive set of Conflict of Laws rules to cover every situation? Could there ever be?

                                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                                          Tom34 May 1, 2013 08:50 AM

                                                                                          "Earth becoming smaller" ..........No question that brings complications to many situations. Maybe someday universal etiquette will prevail. Hopefully it won't support table manners that include non rhythmic lip smacking while chewing and tooth jam picking contests :)

                                                                                          1. re: Tom34
                                                                                            MGZ May 1, 2013 08:56 AM

                                                                                            Fine with me, so long as I don't have to wear a tie.

                                                                                            1. re: Tom34
                                                                                              sandylc May 1, 2013 09:46 AM

                                                                                              Right now a younger generation here is speaking with their mouths full en masse, while attempting to cover it up with their hand while talking. Not a fan. Probably can't stop it.

                                                                                              1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                Tom34 May 1, 2013 04:22 PM

                                                                                                Yeah but pretty typical for blogs. Many very interesting reads but nothing compelling enough to change my opinion of the importance of teaching my daughters proper etiquette. Clearly Hollywood is of a different opinion as are many parents today.

                                                                                                Both of my girls love the ocean. I think a girl who can bait her own hook and clean a flounder she caught in the morning and then take a shower, put on a formal gown and present herself as a true lady that evening is a pretty neat thing. The fishing part was easy, but I really do think the hard work involved with teaching etiquette is worth it.

                                                                                                1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                  MelMM May 1, 2013 04:42 PM

                                                                                                  Exactly. Being a lady does not need to mean limiting oneself from any activities, staying perfectly clean, being dainty, or any such thing. It's fine to go out and hunt, fish, backcountry camp, participate in sports, compete with the boys, beat them, and still come in, put on a dress, and and thank the gentleman who opens a door or pulls out a chair. There doesn't need to be any contradiction in any of this.

                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                    MGZ May 2, 2013 05:17 AM

                                                                                                    That's kinda the point I've been makin' all along. Rules change and they should. Clearly, women a century ago would have been ostracized for doin' the things you note. I think things have gotten better for society through such an evolution of the "rules".

                                                                                                    One question though - given what you're sayin' should we maintain a difference between being a woman and being a lady? Between being a man and being a guy? (OK, that was two questions) Should we even hold on the the concept of what it is to be a "lady"? (Yeah, that's three).

                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                      Pinky107 Jun 11, 2013 09:50 PM

                                                                                                      Your makiing that point has been as clear as mud! Additionally, I suggest you read up on American history in the early 1900's, especially in the Midwest. If a woman did NOT fish and hunt, and butcher their home grown livestock on occasion, they would have been considered lazy. Then they were tasked with the preservation of these foods.

                                                                                                      As to the question of the difference between a woman and a lady: That's as ludicrist a question as what is the difference between a man and a gentleman. The first descriptive in both cases goes to gender. The second descriptive goes to knowing how to respond respectfully and courteously to others. And, yes, we should "hold on to (sic) the concept of what it is to be a lady. If a woman isn't a lady, she's likely just a broad. If a man isn't a gentleman, he's likely just a boor. Judgmental, yes! But that IS the world we live in whether or not anyone chooses to like it and participate or not.

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                        MelMM Jun 12, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                                                                        MGZ, you are raising valid, but very complicated, questions. Pinky107 makes a good point that women did, in the past, do a lot of things that are not now considered "feminine". In fact, our ideas of what is feminine and masculine keep evolving, and while in some cases gender barriers are coming down, in other cases they seem to be increasing. There was an interesting article on the Smithsonian web site about pink and blue as gender signifiers, and how they weren't, until the 20th century, and then when they first came to be, the recommendation (which was pure marketing) was pink for boys, and blue for girls. And only in in the 40's did the current idea of pink for girls set in. And when I was a kid, in the late 60's and 70's, this was nowhere as entrenched as it is now. But I digress.

                                                                                                        As far as your three questions go, what I need to point out is that there is an old definition of "lady" and "gentleman" that derives from European ideas of nobility, and is pretty much rejected in the US. And then there is a more American version, which is not based on lineage, but more on upbringing, education, and manners. As a "lady" or "gentleman", in the US, one would assume that any woman or man one meets is a lady or gentleman, until they prove otherwise, and treat them as such even after that.

                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                          MGZ Jun 12, 2013 08:35 AM

                                                                                                          Luckily those antiquated notions of "lady" and "gentleman" have devolved to just words and gentle ideas now. The former are no longer the property of Daddy's Estate and the latter are no longer the only one's who can address a court. Some momentum was created for humanity when Cornwallis handed over his sword.

                                                                                                  2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jun 28, 2013 09:43 PM

                                                                                                    And while wearing that baseball cap, and a t-shirt with a rude saying, at a fine-dining restaurant. So much for "couth."


                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                      MGZ Jun 28, 2013 10:07 PM

                                                                                                      Hunt, I have to take a moment to applaud the fact that you seem to read all the posts in a thread when you settle into the Site. In a way, it feels like that's becomin' as antiquated a practice as standin' up when a lady joins your table. Personally, I often prefer reading through whole conversations here to books. It can almost be like being a fly on the wall at some sorta James Beard Award cocktail reception

                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                        sandylc Jul 20, 2013 07:31 PM

                                                                                                        Hey, yore droppin' yore Gs agin! ;-/

                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                          MGZ Jul 23, 2013 12:52 AM

                                                                                                          I'm still learnin' to hear how I talk. Besides, that post's a month old.

                                                                                            2. re: MGZ
                                                                                              Lizard Apr 30, 2013 04:04 AM

                                                                                              Ah yes, 'evolution': http://www.videobash.com/video_show/idiocracy-intro-245281

                                                                                              1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                MGZ Apr 30, 2013 05:11 AM

                                                                                                Apparently, you and I are two of the four hundred and nine people who liked that movie.

                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                  NonnieMuss May 4, 2013 05:46 AM

                                                                                                  But it has electrolytes!

                                                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                    MGZ May 4, 2013 05:55 AM

                                                                                                    Does that mean there were actually four hundred and ten people who liked the film?

                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                    Gastronomos Jun 5, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                                                                    me three

                                                                                            3. re: grampart
                                                                                              paulj Apr 29, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                                                              I think 'rude' is the wrong category. Déclassé sounds better, the kind of thing that would have been out of place in Emilly Post's household.

                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                melpy Apr 30, 2013 08:46 AM

                                                                                                Perfect description! This is what I would think.

                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                  kengk Apr 30, 2013 08:52 AM

                                                                                                  Maybe the folks who were insulted by "low class" will feel better about being called low class in French.

                                                                                                  1. re: kengk
                                                                                                    paulj Apr 30, 2013 09:22 AM

                                                                                                    Everything sounds classier in French!

                                                                                                    No one here has admitted to being a pre-cutter. But some of us have, apparently, married below our station. :)

                                                                                              2. t
                                                                                                Tom34 Apr 28, 2013 06:08 PM

                                                                                                Close to 500 comments w/in 10 days, pretty impressive.

                                                                                                1. j
                                                                                                  johnny101golf Apr 28, 2013 01:35 AM

                                                                                                  I just find it kinda ridiculous to do that why waste your time doing something of that nature especially since you aren't 6 years old anymore but maybe it just makes people feel that the meal isn't as large just a psychological effect i suppose?

                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                    acssss Apr 27, 2013 02:52 PM

                                                                                                    Didn't the husband (played by Michael Douglas) do that in the War of the Roses and his wife punched his lights out because of it?

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: acssss
                                                                                                      Kris in Beijing Apr 27, 2013 02:59 PM

                                                                                                      I just remember something about a fish dish.

                                                                                                    2. trolley Apr 27, 2013 07:57 AM

                                                                                                      haven't gone thru all 400+ replies but it's not offensive to me. it's not very sophisticated and perhaps childish. offensive to me is chewing with mouth open or licking the plate by putting the plate up to your face. i've seen it done in public by adults in a restaurant and it's not cute.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: trolley
                                                                                                        MGZ Apr 27, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                                                                        Yeah, lickin' the plate might get my attention as somethin' bad in a restaurant, but if the "offender" is in my house, eatin' somethin' I made, I would probably revel in it.

                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                          trolley Apr 27, 2013 08:15 AM

                                                                                                          yes, licking the plate like a dog! in public! well, at my home i may revel in it but depending on who it was.

                                                                                                      2. l
                                                                                                        latindancer Apr 25, 2013 07:18 AM

                                                                                                        I find this no more offensive than a person taking out a toothpick, at the table, and picking their teeth.
                                                                                                        One person is bothered, offended and horrified by it and the person sitting next to them could care less....doesn't even notice.

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                          grampart Apr 25, 2013 07:28 AM

                                                                                                          "One person is bothered, offended and horrified by it and the person sitting next to them could care less....doesn't even notice."

                                                                                                          No big surprise, Not much different than the way the folks in this country feel about any major issue of some importance.

                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                            sandylc Apr 25, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                                                            My problem with toothpicking is the thought of the "bits" flying about.

                                                                                                            That's a practical point.

                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                              latindancer Apr 25, 2013 07:43 PM

                                                                                                              The fact that people cover their mouth with their hand and pick with the other hand, which would preclude 'bits' from flying about, does not matter to some people...
                                                                                                              Just the fact that someone is using a toothpick at the table grosses people out.

                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 25, 2013 07:47 PM

                                                                                                                <Just the fact that someone is using a toothpick at the table grosses people out.>

                                                                                                                I agree.

                                                                                                          2. MGZ Apr 25, 2013 05:56 AM

                                                                                                            This has been a very enjoyable, thought-provokin' thread with participation by a pretty large number of 'hounds. I've gotta admit that I'm kinda proud we have kept it alive so long by avoiding to much "pissyness". Let's keep it going that way? There's a lot to take from the dialectic here, and a lot to enjoy from the thoughts in the conversation

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                              Chemicalkinetics Apr 25, 2013 06:17 AM

                                                                                                              Were you the one who earlier asked "What to bet how long before the thread get locked?" I answered "Never". I think I should get my prize now. Thank you.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                MGZ Apr 25, 2013 06:20 AM

                                                                                                                You can have your prize. I'm just glad that the message got across. As noted, sometimes my comments are a bit too opaque.

                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                  John E. Apr 25, 2013 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                  I don't think you'll get that prize. This thread has veered into tattoos and ear guaging. It won't be long now.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                    monavano Apr 25, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                    Would someone liken cutting up all of your meat to the holocaust and shut this baby down already?!

                                                                                                                2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                  justme123 Apr 25, 2013 07:03 AM

                                                                                                                  As the OP, I flagged a few that I felt were personal attacks, but on the whole, I agree with you. As I have said a few times, I really have valued the input and have learned quite a bit about other cultures!

                                                                                                                3. John E. Apr 24, 2013 08:24 PM

                                                                                                                  Did it ever occur to you that when you started this thread lees than a week ago that it would generate 350+ replies? I have only started a handful threads and combined they have generated approximately 12 responses.

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                    sandylc Apr 24, 2013 08:30 PM

                                                                                                                    Poor John! What are your threads? I'll comment.....

                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                      Gastronomos Apr 25, 2013 04:15 AM

                                                                                                                      Smoke up!

                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                        John E. Apr 25, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                        Beats me...that was mostly an understatement for effect anyway.

                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                        justme123 Apr 25, 2013 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                        OP here- Not in my WILDEST dreams! I have been on the boards for a few years now, and have only started a few threads. None have generated this type of discussion. For theis one, I have mostly stayed out of the fray, but I have been watching the responses. As I have said in response to a few people early on, I appreicate everyone's input!

                                                                                                                      3. s
                                                                                                                        sandylc Apr 24, 2013 05:37 PM

                                                                                                                        I understand the occasional, or even frequent, need to be a rebel; to be different and think independently. But if table manners are as unimportant as many of the objecters here say they are, than why are they assigning enough importance to them to use said manners as a way to rebel? Why not just learn and go along with these unimportant things in order to be congenial/make others comfortable, and use your rebellion and originality for things that are more important?

                                                                                                                        26 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                          paulj Apr 24, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                          I don't think anyone has said, 'I cut up all my meat at once as an expression of rebellion.' Many of us have said that this rule is an unimportant one, and we won't fault someone else who violates it. In fact my own sense of politeness and fair play impels me to defend them.

                                                                                                                          What is it about 'cutting all the meat at once' that makes certain people uncomfortable? Why should the action on A's plate make B uncomfortable? It's not like A is cutting B's food. More likely, A's action disturbs B's sense of order and decorum. B wants to be surrounded by beautiful well behaved people. A's uncouthness spoils the atmosphere of B's dining experience. That experience is supposed to be beautiful because everyone, host, companions, and servers, all know and follow the choreographed dance steps.

                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                            sandylc Apr 24, 2013 06:40 PM

                                                                                                                            Again, I'm talking big picture.

                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                              sandylc Apr 24, 2013 06:40 PM

                                                                                                                              And, yes, I see a lot of rebellion in this thread.

                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                lisavf Apr 25, 2013 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                                paulj, something about the wording of your post made me think about why this might make one uncomfortable, and it struck me that if one person at the table cuts up all their food and then proceeds to eat, and the other person at the same table cuts and eats one bite at a time, they are unable to establish a flow in the communal experience of dining together. The first person will spend a few minutes cutting but not chewing; maybe talking or maybe not talking at all. The second person will begin with a cut, at which point they can talk, and then proceed to chew, at which point they shouldn't be talking. Also, now the second person is actively eating in front of the first person, who isn't yet actively eating, which can make one uncomfortable. I know I sometimes feel uncomfortable when I am the only one at the table eating (chewing and swallowing, if you will), even if the only other person at the table with me is my husband. It just makes me self-conscious. Having failed to establish a rhythm to the meal, they are never in sync. That's what makes one uncomfortable. Therefore, if everyone at the table is following the same convention (cutting food all at once or cut and eat one bite at a time), then the flow can be established. So the "rule," if you will, of not cutting up all of your food at once may have been established so that everyone knows how to maintain the flow. It could have easily been decided the other way many, many years ago, and we would be having the reverse argument today. This line of thinking goes directly to your last statement, "That experience is supposed to be beautiful because everyone, host, companions, and servers, all know and follow the choreographed dance steps." But the beauty is not borne of superficiality but rather a gracefulness of the experience for everyone involved.

                                                                                                                                Feel free to kick me if none of this makes sense.

                                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                  wyogal Apr 25, 2013 07:46 AM

                                                                                                                                  Not going to kick you, but, I do think you are over thinking this.
                                                                                                                                  Variety is the spice of life. This behavior may be quirky, but not rude. The "flow" can still happen. Just because someone cuts everything up at once doesn't mean the "flow" stops.
                                                                                                                                  My husband and I eat pancakes differently. I like to cut mine up (waffles, too) all at once. He doesn't. It doesn't impede the flow of conversation.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                    grampart Apr 25, 2013 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                    I was always taught that it's impolite to speak or be spoken to when cutting one's meat. (tfic)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                      wyogal Apr 25, 2013 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                                      Well, I guess I'm just a low class, rude, hillbilly.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                        grampart Apr 25, 2013 08:03 AM

                                                                                                                                        FYI, tfic = tongue firmly in cheek

                                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                          wyogal Apr 25, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                          :) O.K.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                    donovt Apr 25, 2013 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                    Very well-thought answer which actually makes sense.

                                                                                                                                    While I personally wouldn't consider it rude for someone to cut their whole meal up at once, I can see an actual reason for this "rule".

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                      monavano Apr 25, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                      Synchronized eating. Is this a new Olympic sport?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                        MGZ Apr 25, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                        I makes, perfect sense. It seems, to be clear, you fundamentally agree that we should make rules based upon their reasonableness? Therefore they are subject to change, not just blind adherence. That way, we leave ourselves the freedom to change those that are antiquated, right?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                          lisavf Apr 25, 2013 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                          To be fair, I didn't opine either way about the correctness of this rule, just mused about the reason such a rule may have come into place. But in general, yes, a rule should have a reason, and I believe that most rules came about for a reasonable reason, if you will; but if that reason, over time, is no longer applicable, is obsolete, is out of step with current reality, then the rule needs to be reconsidered and perhaps revised or dismissed altogether. The problem is, who is to decide what the new, revised rule should be, and how is that communicated to and agreed upon by everyone? Because absent that communication and agreement, someone somewhere will be offended by another's actions.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                            MGZ Apr 25, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                                                                                                            "The problem is, who is to decide what the new, revised rule should be, and how is that communicated to and agreed upon by everyone?"

                                                                                                                                            A very good question, indeed. After all, who should be the arbiters of taste? My view is everyone, or at least a considered consensus. I'm not a fan of too much centralized authority. I mean, who elected Emily Post, right?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                              debbiel Apr 25, 2013 07:40 PM

                                                                                                                                              "Because absent that communication and agreement, someone somewhere will be offended by another's actions."

                                                                                                                                              But this is the same for the supposedly established, agreed upon rules. Because, despite what some folks on this thread think, they are not universal rules, even here in my little midwestern town among the greatly successful, moderately successful, and getting by folks. I think that is what is most frustrating to me about these threads. The assumption of universality.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                              Tom34 Apr 25, 2013 02:04 PM

                                                                                                                                              I would never advocate blind adherence to rules and pre-cutting ones food is a relatively minor rule violation. However, history has shown that some of the suggestions in this thread, whether it be appearance, vocabulary, dress or table manners are considered by many to be offensive. Whether right or wrong, resistance to change is part of human nature and what one person finds acceptable another may not. The number of comments on this subject clearly reflects that.

                                                                                                                                              Arguing theory is very easy because its free, especially on a blog or in a university setting where employees are offered tenure protection. However, in the real world, few things are free. Since resistance to change is very common on a generational scale, there is a very strong likelihood that certain behaviors and physical appearances advocated in this thread may likely not be acceptable to a previous generation. Keeping that in mind, it is very common for members of a previous generation to determine if you get hired at their company and whether career advancement or career termination are part of your future. Is it fair, certainly not. Is it hard core reality, absolutely. Is it an area where one should be rebellious, well that's depends on many things including an individuals tolerance for taking risks. One thing is for certain, taking risks always carries consequences, some intended & some not. Knowing that, the person has only to blame the reflection in the mirror if their choices have consequences not to their liking.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                                                grampart Apr 25, 2013 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                “A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants.”
                                                                                                                                                ― Arthur Schopenhauer

                                                                                                                                            3. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                              paulj Apr 25, 2013 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                                              The dance analogy can be taken a bit further:

                                                                                                                                              There is a difference between a person who is bumping into other dancers and stepping on their toes, and the person who is simply out of step. One interferes with others, the other messes with the big picture.

                                                                                                                                              I also suspect that the more skilled the other dancers are, the less they are bothered by the one who is out of step.

                                                                                                                                              If you are a skilled conversationalist, do you adjust your eating style to fit with others, or do you expect them to conform to your own?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                lisavf Apr 25, 2013 10:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                A truly skilled conversationalist will always make the adjustments, probably without even thinking and without anyone else noticing. I am not a skilled conversationalist, much to my chagrin.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Apr 25, 2013 02:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Conversational rhythm is something I have noticed a lot lately. It seems that people are talking over one another these days. It just isn't smooth. I have been trying to figure out if we are losing our ability to converse smoothly, or if I am just noticing more when verbal interactions don't go as well.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                    Chemicalkinetics Apr 25, 2013 02:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Or people are living a busier life... so they feel that they need to say their pieces.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 25, 2013 03:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Could be.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                                    paulj Apr 25, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I am married to a pre-cutter. I didn't realize it could be a problem until I read about this rule in an earlier Chow thread. Some how we managed to converse at the table despite our differences.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                      bobbert Apr 25, 2013 03:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I think there's a precutter's anonymous group nearby that the two of you could attend:)

                                                                                                                                                2. re: lisavf
                                                                                                                                                  debbiel Apr 25, 2013 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I have to say, I have never ever noticed a conversation flow based on cutting and chewing patterns. Really/ Cutting one piece at a time doesn't any more assure joint chewing. I chew while you're talking; you chew while I'm talking....

                                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                Tom34 Apr 25, 2013 05:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                Couldn't agree more. Nobody is advocating taking on a mind boggling task equivalent to reconciling Quantum Physics, just learning and practicing some very basic table manners.

                                                                                                                                              3. n
                                                                                                                                                NanaP2011 Apr 24, 2013 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                Mom knows best. Cutting all one's food before eating is infantile.

                                                                                                                                                1. v
                                                                                                                                                  Vegelover Apr 24, 2013 12:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                  It drives me crazy too. My retirement-aged husband sometimes does it and he's not handicapped in any way. People cut up food into bite-sized pieces for children who can't yet wield a knife or for someone elderly whose fingers are arthritic.

                                                                                                                                                  What's even worse is stirring the food together after it's been minced.

                                                                                                                                                  The bottom line is I do care because it diminishes my enjoyment of the meal I've cooked.

                                                                                                                                                  1. The Professor Apr 24, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                    It's hardly 'rude'...but it is a decidedly odd habit.

                                                                                                                                                    In the end, whatever floats your boat (even if bordering on O.C.D.) is ok by me.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as salting/peppering food before tasting it?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as salting a slice of ham or even an anchovy/sardine before tasting it?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as saving your side dinner salad that was served first for after dessert?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as telling someone that the dinner they prepared was fine, but the potatoes were cold?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as asking for ketchup for your spaghetti?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as cutting up spaghetti before boiling it - as is done nearly everywhere outside the borders of Italy and places trying to emulate Italy. (My neighbors of Italian ancestry make a regional dish of spaghetti that is cut up into pieces before cooking it from dry in a sauce until almost dry and serving it in a soup bowl)
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as taking a knife to spaghetti and cutting it all up into rice size pieces before eating it? (most replies thus far didn't specify this)
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as asking for "dressing on the side"??? (YES!)
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as looking at 20 page menu and insisting on ordering something "off the menu"?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as looking at a 20 page menu and ordering something and insisting on making substitutions?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude to correct others at the table in front of others?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as looking like you are unconfortable with others being uncouth?
                                                                                                                                                      Is it as rude as declining a dinner invitation to someones home or favorite place because you do not like the food?

                                                                                                                                                      Is it?

                                                                                                                                                      (feel free to add to the list)

                                                                                                                                                      1. JonParker Apr 24, 2013 08:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Atticus shook his head at me again. “But he’s gone and drowned his dinner in syrup,” I protested. “He’s poured it all over-” It was then that Calpurnia requested my presence in the kitchen. She was furious, and when she was furious Calpurnia’s grammar became erratic. When in tranquility, her grammar was as good as anybody’s in Maycomb. Atticus said Calpurnia had more education than most colored folks.

                                                                                                                                                        When she squinted down at me the tiny lines around her eyes deepened. “There’s some folks who don’t eat like us,” she whispered fiercely, “but you ain’t called on to contradict ‘em at the table when they don’t. That boy’s yo’ comp’ny and if he wants to eat up the table cloth you let him, you hear?”

                                                                                                                                                        “He ain’t company, Cal, he’s just a Cunningham-”

                                                                                                                                                        “Hush your mouth! Don’t matter who they are, anybody sets foot in this house’s yo‘ comp’ny, and don’t you let me catch you remarkin’ on their ways like you was so high and mighty! Yo‘ folks might be better’n the Cunninghams but it don’t count for nothin’ the way you’re disgracin‘ ’em—if you can’t act fit to eat at the table you can just set here and eat in the kitchen!”"

                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                                                                          melpy Apr 24, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Exactly! We used this as a lesson in ESL class last month.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                            latindancer Apr 24, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Every class and their students should be taught this lesson.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                              Ziv Apr 30, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Great reminder! I haven't read that book in years and it is a scene similar to one that I can remember my Mom schooling me on.

                                                                                                                                                        2. b
                                                                                                                                                          blythe Apr 24, 2013 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I don't think it's rude at all. Maybe a bit (I hate that this is coming out of my mouth this way) less 'educated'. I think it's totally fine for an adult to cut up a child or elderly parents food. Someone mentioned 'the switching of the fork from hand to hand'. I was raised - that if I had something that required a knife, put fork in left hand, but with right hand, eat bite with the left hannd, fork tines down. It's all how you were raised. Once on a childhood vacation - I was at dinner with my friend's family (dad was a well to do doc) and they all cut food the same way - left hand spearing the meat down on the plate (a 90 degree angle). Even at that age, I thought they were eating like cavemen. I didn't consider it rude - it was just obviously the way they were raised.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blythe
                                                                                                                                                            melpy Apr 24, 2013 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Ah but see we do judge. Blythe thought they were eating like cavemen. If something is against you norm you will likely notice it. I am sure I don't notice the habits of my parents because we all follow the same rules. This doesn't make me more judgmental as some have insinuated.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 04:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                            "If You Wanna Make The World
                                                                                                                                                            A Better Place
                                                                                                                                                            Take A Look At Yourself, And
                                                                                                                                                            Then Make A Change"

                                                                                                                                                            17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                              latindancer Apr 24, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                              "If you Wanna Make The World
                                                                                                                                                              A Better Place
                                                                                                                                                              Take A Look At Yourself, And
                                                                                                                                                              Then Make A Change"

                                                                                                                                                              So many of us came to college with a set of rules, mannerisms, traditions and culture...we thought we could reinvent the wheel by showing these concepts weren't necessary. *We* knew better, the way we were taught was archaic, without merit, not necessary, stupid and outdated.
                                                                                                                                                              Some of us lived a very radical lifestyle....
                                                                                                                                                              By the time some of us graduated, depending on who we were, the values we found for ourselves and our own individuality, we found ourselves back to square one.
                                                                                                                                                              Some of the manners *did* apply. They assisted us in assimilating in this very big world with many different value systems. It was up to each of us to learn how to 'make the world a better place'.
                                                                                                                                                              Some people enjoy staying in that college faze. It gives them identity. It's what, in their own mind, sets them apart from the rest. The attention they receive, in their mind, is worth more than the simple mannerisms that sometimes can make another person feel respected.
                                                                                                                                                              By doing so, it takes the focus off of them and sometimes that ego is hard to fight.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                "Be the change you want to see in the world."

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                  grampart Apr 24, 2013 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  "Be the change you want to see in the world."

                                                                                                                                                                  Just don't get in my face doing it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                    Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    "Grandpappy told my pappy
                                                                                                                                                                    Back in my day, son
                                                                                                                                                                    A man had to answer
                                                                                                                                                                    For the wicked thing he done
                                                                                                                                                                    Take all the rope in Texas
                                                                                                                                                                    Find a tall oak tree
                                                                                                                                                                    Round up all of them bad boys
                                                                                                                                                                    And hang 'em high in the street
                                                                                                                                                                    For all the people to see

                                                                                                                                                                    And justice is the one thing
                                                                                                                                                                    You should always find
                                                                                                                                                                    You gotta saddle up your boys
                                                                                                                                                                    You gotta draw a hard line
                                                                                                                                                                    When the gun smoke settles
                                                                                                                                                                    We'll sing a victory tune
                                                                                                                                                                    And we'll all meet back
                                                                                                                                                                    At the local saloon

                                                                                                                                                                    We'll raises up our glasses
                                                                                                                                                                    Against evil forces
                                                                                                                                                                    Singing, "Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses!"

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                      MGZ Apr 24, 2013 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, I'm a bit more Jerry Jeff than Toby Keith, but I get your point. Nevertheless, if we're gonna quote lyrics, I spose these would be mine for this thread:

                                                                                                                                                                      "But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well.
                                                                                                                                                                      You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself"

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                        Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        nice. good pick of lyrics.

                                                                                                                                                                        and another from me, somewhat fitting:

                                                                                                                                                                        "And still you play the sycophant and revel in my pain
                                                                                                                                                                        And all my promises are lies, all my love is hate
                                                                                                                                                                        I am the politician and I decide your fate
                                                                                                                                                                        I march before a martyred world, an army for the fight
                                                                                                                                                                        I speak of great heroic days, of victory and might
                                                                                                                                                                        I hold a banner drenched in blood, I urge you to be brave
                                                                                                                                                                        I lead you to your destiny, I lead you to your grave
                                                                                                                                                                        Your bones will build my palace, your eyes will stud my crown
                                                                                                                                                                        For I am Mars, the God of war and I will cut you down"

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                          MGZ Apr 24, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Well, now, Motorhead's a bit outside my typical aural diet, but I respect the sentiment (as well as your range of knowledge).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                            Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            it's your understanding of the lyrics and how they relate, I believe, that creates the respect of the sentiment. As well, I suppose, to your NOT "playing the sycophant" as you state in this thread.....

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                              MGZ Apr 24, 2013 01:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm just me. A lotta thought, blood, sweat, experience, and adventure went into bein' me, but at the enda the day, I'm just me.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 03:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                true story

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                                  MGZ Apr 27, 2013 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  "But I ain't askin' nobody for nothin',
                                                                                                                                                                                  If I can't get it on my own.
                                                                                                                                                                                  You don't like the way I'm livin' . . . ."

                                                                                                                                                                                  I cut my hair a coupla years ago & live at the Shore, but I heard this one on the radio this morning and recalled how much I always liked it and this subthread.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                    grampart Apr 27, 2013 07:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    "I don't want much of nothin' at all, but I will take another toke."

                                                                                                                                                                                    Good one. Haven't heard it in a long time.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                      MGZ Apr 27, 2013 07:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      "I ain't got no money, but I damn sure got it made."

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                      Gastronomos Apr 27, 2013 09:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Fitting. Like it.
                                                                                                                                                                                      "People say I'm no good, and crazy as a loon

                                                                                                                                                                                      'Cause I get stoned in the mornin', I get drunk in the afternoon"

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                                        MGZ May 21, 2013 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I just pieced together the "Concert for George" in segments on You Tube. Had never seen it before. So powerful!


                                                                                                                                                                                        I think somebody cut up all Paul McCartney's food before the show. Apparently, no one thought was rude . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                    Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 11:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Well stated, latindancer.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                      Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 01:01 PM


                                                                                                                                                                  3. f
                                                                                                                                                                    foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    For the folks who don't agree with manners and who prefer to follow their own lead I am curious what do you do when traveling to places with different manners, protocols and/or customs.

                                                                                                                                                                    For example:
                                                                                                                                                                    Would you stab your food with a chop stick because it makes it easier to pick it up?
                                                                                                                                                                    Demand a utensil when eating with your hands is the custom? Eat with your left hand when right is the proper way?
                                                                                                                                                                    Start eating before your host has indicated?
                                                                                                                                                                    Lean back with your chair on two legs?

                                                                                                                                                                    Or do you follow the customs and mannerisms of your "host country"?

                                                                                                                                                                    71 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      <For the folks who don't agree with manners and who prefer follow their own lead>

                                                                                                                                                                      A very good point indeed, and I cannot answer for others since I am somewhat in between on this issue. However, there is a big difference. The people who disagree did not do so because they refuse to follow the etiquette. What they disagree is the fact that people should not get upset if others break the rule. For example, you will use the chop sticks properly, but you won't get mad if someone stab with a chopstick.

                                                                                                                                                                      Or more simply. You will bow to another person in Japan, but you don't get upset if someone forget to shake your hand in America.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                        foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 05:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        weird, double post!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                          debbiel Apr 23, 2013 05:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I think people should make an attempt, yes. And of course, one should prioritize one's learning, focusing first on those customs that are most valued. And people should recognize that errors will be made.

                                                                                                                                                                          But really, this tangent falls a bit off for me, because it seems to rely on the etiquette issues that have been identified on this and today's other etiquette threads as universally accepted in this society (and by that I guess I mean the US). They are not. And I'm not sure many of them would be expected by a majority.

                                                                                                                                                                          The fact is that we have a wide range of local dining customs in this country. Above you allude to "...folk who don't agree with manners..." I doubt there are many people on this thread that don't agree with manners. We just have different views about what important manners are.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            <We just have different views about what important manners are.>

                                                                                                                                                                            Better said that I could. Yes, we all prefer a certain level of manners and respect, but what constitutes manner and respect? That is another question. I think people who disagree with the original post do so because they don't think "cutting up all the food at once" is impolite.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                              HillJ Apr 23, 2013 05:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              I've probably done a jagged job of explaining that it's not the manners I have any issue with; manners are useful. It's the focus on the style of manners in others that I just don't bother fretting over. Too many variables as to why one person uses the proper fork and one could care less...let's just enjoy our salad and have a nice time.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                          foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          (you edited after I posted. I am speaking your original quote of stabbing with chopstick)

                                                                                                                                                                          But there are places where it is extremely disrespectful to do so and therefore I would be upset/mad to see someone at our table do that. I would infer that they didn't have the consideration to research what is expected when dining a in that country.

                                                                                                                                                                          A niece recently spent time in a foreign country and part of the preparation for traveling there was learning the local dining customs, especially as she would spending time being hosted by local families. While she made some mistakes her effort and attention was appreciated, especially by the older members of those families and the more traditional places she went.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            <you edited after I posted. I am speaking your original quote of stabbing with chopstick>

                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I added the last example about bowing, but that's it, I think. I also correct a few spelling errors maybe.

                                                                                                                                                                            I still have the original quote about stabbing with chopsticks.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                              foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 05:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              just wanted to make sure you knew what I was referring to, LOL. Things can get lost in translation.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 05:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                I think your points as well as other people's points are very good. I personally do not think there is a black and white on this issues. In other words, not a purely "Follow every rules" or "Break every rules" cases.

                                                                                                                                                                                I am a bit relax. I won't mind if the other person decided to cut up all his foods before eating, and I don't mind if the other person know how to place his knife and fork after the meal:


                                                                                                                                                                                , but that does not he can start picking his nose or eating before the host sit down. I think most of us are really between the two extremes.

                                                                                                                                                                                I know that this can get pretty fuzzy, but some etiquette are more basic than others.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Apr 23, 2013 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  So, you are saying that each individual should pick and choose the rules of etiquette that they like/feel like following/decide are most important?

                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, it's not the fault of others (except maybe parents) that someone doesn't know etiquette.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, it is a common rule of etiquette to not cut up all of your meat at once; it is a common rule also to break off a small piece of bread and butter it rather than the entire roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know why so many posters didn't learn these things; I did and so did many others. I try to learn new things of all sorts; if someone has learned things here that they didn't know before, then great. To refuse to learn is.........!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                    HillJ Apr 23, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I've read this thread straight thru most of the evening and I haven't seen any references to refusing to learn. Come on.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                      Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 05:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't seen any references to refusing to learn, either. I have seen a willingness to be a maverick insofar as common rules of society are concerned, coupled with an unmistakable pompousness, along with a condescending attitude toward those who choose to follow the basic rules of their particular business culture. THAT, imho, is more puzzling that one who would refuse to learn.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                        HillJ Apr 24, 2013 06:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your own judgement of other people is equally puzzling.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 06:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      <each individual should pick and choose the rules of etiquette that they like/feel like following/decide are most important?>

                                                                                                                                                                                      But don't we all do that? We certainly do not weight all etiquette the same. Certainly, no one think "the etiquette of placing knife and fork on a finished dish" is as important as "do not pick nose".

                                                                                                                                                                                      What do you learn when you learn about Chinese dining etiquette? You don't learn all at once. You learn the more important ones, like not to stab with your chopstick.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Not everything is equal. There is a difference between not knowing the 14th vice president of the United States vs not knowing the 1st president of United States. Yes, they are both historical facts, but we do pick and chose what is more important than others.

                                                                                                                                                                                      <To refuse to learn is.........!>

                                                                                                                                                                                      No one said that. People said "Don't get upset about XYZ".

                                                                                                                                                                                      There is a big difference of knowing something vs getting upset that someone else does not.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I know plenty about scientific knowledge. I don't get upset that some people do not understand human evolution.

                                                                                                                                                                                      <I don't know why so many posters didn't learn these things>

                                                                                                                                                                                      Plenty people go through high school without the ability to add and subtract properly too... Isn't that more worrisome?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                        Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I understand what you're saying. However, even the best math whiz had better not be uncouth if he wants to earn a living. That's just how it is, always has been and always will be. Granted, that is extreme, but I've observed many young people in public, including eating establishments, who don't seem to know that certain things aren't done in public. Hopefully they are just trying to show off to their friends. In reality, they are making fools of themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 24, 2013 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          <who don't seem to know that certain things aren't done in public>

                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, there are too many to start. There is the typical dining etiquette as mentioned here, but also basic manners have changed over time. Today, it is considered very normal to text with your cell phone during the entire train ride instead of making eye contact or smile at people next to you. Maybe I am old fashion or romantic or whatever, but I think human-human direction interaction is important -- not just for manner, but for our social health. Manti Te'o' online girlfriend thing only scratches the surface of our problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess there are just too many social problems I see. Learning to not cut up all the steak in one shot is minor in comparison. What do I mean with it? What I mean is that even if everyone learn how to correctly cut up his/her steak, I don't think it will do anything to solve our problems. Whereas I feel there is much good can be achieved if people start to interact more with strangers, or if people start to really learn how to add and subtract. Both are very different, but both are impactful.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                            Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 10:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I totally agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                        debbiel Apr 23, 2013 06:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        But can you not see that you are picking and choosing which rules of etiquette you endorse? or value?

                                                                                                                                                                                        It seems to me that you are subscribing a universality to these things which just doesn't exist. Customs change over time. Etiquette changes over time. Behavior changes over time. That does not mean that acceptance of cutting all at once OR cutting one piece at a time is a loss of manners. It may just mean that there is now a broader view of what constitutes good table manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                          Kris in Beijing Apr 23, 2013 06:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          >>I don't know why so many posters didn't learn these things;<<

                                                                                                                                                                                          Most posters were raised before the internet became the de facto research option. If your family was not previously exposed to certain styles of eating, you had almost no opportunity to become educated.

                                                                                                                                                                                          All the bread I'd ever been served at home was a cathead, sliced and buttered straight out of the oven by either my grandmother or margarine-ed by my Mom. Or pull-apart “dinner rolls” on occasional Sundays.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The first multi-course meal I ever had was in Paris when I was 15 in college. Although that could have been an “educational experience” about dining etiquette, the time was more focused upon our small group of students and teachers. So, we ate, we conversed, we enjoyed the excellent food and an impressive array of both dishes and silverware. I’m positive that I committed many a gross error. Some other diners, if they were watching, probably considered me an uncouth American teen. But that wasn't my focus.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Nearly 30 years later, I am deeply interested in flavor, food, cultural heritage and interactions, and casually helping others not to joss stick chopsticks upright in their rice bowl.
                                                                                                                                                                                          However, it’s still more about the companionship and conversation, taste and time than it is about carefully pinching a piece of bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Even if I do keep the S&P as a travelling pair.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                          foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Agree that it is fuzzy! Especially in the US where it's a huge country with varied customs. But I also believe that its best to err on the side formality in places or with people who you are not familiar.

                                                                                                                                                                                          My mom and dad were "old school" to say the least and that is how I was raised. While many families around me were more relaxed than they were I still made a point of telling the boys I really liked to NEVER honk the horn but come to door instead. It was pretty telling when they didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                          To this day I call every adult I meet in a social setting Mr (Sir) or Mrs (Ms, Ma'am) unless instructed differently and have taught my child to do the same. Same goes with (what appears to be) all the old school things like no elbows on the table, napkins on your lap, no slurping, bring your spoon to your mouth not your mouth to your spoon, breaking your bread before buttering, etc. I rather he know them and learn the when/where to apply them than to not teach him at all and hopes he figures out later.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                            HillJ Apr 23, 2013 05:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            And I'm sure many of us here learned a great many manners from our parents that we've shared with our children.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Are we really talking about not teaching manners? I thought this OP was trying to discuss the importance of certain manners like buttering bread & passing the s&p. If we're going to continue to open the thread to every manner known to mankind, it's a difficult conversation. There are manners that I would 100% agree with. Gosh, this is an a to z coverage of manners 101...let me get my notepad!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                              foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 06:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              There are many on this thread (and others) who had no idea about the "manners" that are being discussed so yes, there are many who have not been taught. If they have children I would assume they are not teaching them either since I how do you teach something you don't know exists?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Apr 23, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                No idea or checking against the collective wisdom of a food forum of knowledge driven folks? Too different things. The OP knew enough to ASK in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I make no assumptions what people are teaching their children. But I do believe children are taught by many different avenues of learning in our society in addition to their parents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                But you just nailed one of my own points better than I could have: the focus on who is learning and who should be doing the teaching in a room of adults wows me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                  foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 06:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  People on various threads have responded they didn't know that etiquette states to keep salt/pepper shakers together, to butter their bread in pieces, to not cut up their meat at all once, not place elbows on the table, etc so while the OP was "checking in" not everyone else was, they were stating their knowledge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't judge how people act in their own homes but I do judge the colleague stabbing his dumplings with a chopstick at a business dinner. I do judge a job candidate that orders the most expensive item on the menu, talks with their mouth full and fails to show basic table manners.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And yes I do (silently) judge the parents of my sons playmates when they don't say please, thank you, and say " Ewwwww gross!" when offered something to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                                    HillJ Apr 23, 2013 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I clarified my opinion did not translate to the workplace hours ago. And if all that silent or otherwise observing rings your bell, more power to ya, foodiex2. And when others are judging you and your family I'm sure you give them the same respect and courtesy to express their opinions. So good for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                      foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's silent because it's not the kids fault or for that matter the parents. You can't teach what you don't know. What works for us doesn't necessarily work for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And I do hope when they are judging me (as I am sure they are) that is what they are thinking as well. We all find our way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                                        HillJ Apr 23, 2013 06:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        What works for us doesn't necessarily work for them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        You realize we could have started the conversation with this statement hours ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's the point! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                          foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 06:40 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kris in Beijing Apr 23, 2013 06:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Snark alert:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          >>when they are judging me (as I am sure they are) <<

                                                                                                                                                                                                          They might just be enjoying their food and their family, their way.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                                latindancer Apr 23, 2013 07:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                <I rather he know them and learn them when/where to apply them than to not teach him>

                                                                                                                                                                                                You're making excellent points, from my perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                        Tom34 Apr 23, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        After so many years in Martial Arts, I bowed to a New Judge in a Court room one time when I first met him. Talk about a funny look on a persons face.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 07:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          <After so many years in Martial Arts, I bowed to a New Judge in a Court room one time when I first met him. >

                                                                                                                                                                                          That is pretty funny. I suppose you accidentally did it (bow), right? Did the judge say anything to you?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                            Tom34 Apr 24, 2013 04:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            No, he just gave me a funny look and said hello.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                        HillJ Apr 23, 2013 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I travel with a sense of humor by my side and concede to needing to learn new customs from my hosts. We wind up laughing a lot=so this is not an issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Our youngest son traveled to France for a year of college and lived with a family in Paris the first semester. No language barrier but a great deal to learn about living in FR. To his credit and that of his host family they all thrived eager to learn from each other. Lifelong friendships too. Experiencing FR dinner parties, celebrations, food shopping, meal preparation all served him well.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                          foodieX2 Apr 23, 2013 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Are you saying you choose not to try learn in advance? It's one thing to have a sense of humor while at least showing that you tried learn in advance, as a sign of respect. Its quite another to disregard it all together and hope they understand and get your humor.

                                                                                                                                                                                          ETA: it is like when I first moved overseas. While so many places I went there were people who spoke English so many of them appreciated my attempts to speak Italian and Greek. The fact that I tried and failed miserably at first it was often an ice breaker that proved to be the start of a great interaction. I would see my colleagues not even try and be treated less cordially than I was-I don't think it was just my winning smile.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                            HillJ Apr 23, 2013 05:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm quite comfortable with my respectful and flexible nature. I'm a lifelong learner. So no I'm not saying that I choose not to learn. I actually said, "I concede to needing to learn new customs from my hosts."

                                                                                                                                                                                            The last trip I took I exchanged emails and Skype connections with my host in preparation for the trip. What a helpful tool, Skype! But, during the work assignment a good deal of humor got us both through some barriers. I don't make a habit of disregarding anything important let alone a sign of respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I do believe laughter is a wonderful communication tool.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                              Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Much of using good manners IS a showing of respect, in my opinion. That is why I insisted my children say please, thank you and your welcome to family members, too. Good manners shouldn't just be reserved for friends and strangers.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Apr 24, 2013 06:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                You're a wonderful parent no doubt. Who said manners should be reserved..? I said I'm quite comfortable with my respectful and flexible nature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                This thread is off the rails.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  No one said manners should be reserved. And you're right about the derailing. I have to admit to my part in that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tom34 Apr 24, 2013 11:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am not a complete stickler, but as I have said before, a well mannered (child / teenager / young adult) is immediately recognizable and a pleasure to be around. I think they also have a better chance of making a good / lasting impression on people who could help them be successful in life.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Apr 25, 2013 05:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                foodiex, 'm reading your "ETA" for the first time this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                              latindancer Apr 23, 2013 07:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              This is a very good question.

                                                                                                                                                                                              If someone is invited to a formal dinner with a colleague in Bejing, where customs and traditions are followed very closely, do they not care and take their chances with dishonoring and disrespecting the host or do they forget their allegiance to remaining a nonconformist/individualist & study the customs so they don't dishonor?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                                                grampart Apr 23, 2013 08:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't have any particular "allegiance" and the nonconformist thing is something that has been with me since forever and I don't really work at it, so I guess I'd just try my best and, if I broke some rule of their social structure, I guess I'd hope they'd figure I was just another American barbarian and get over it. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kris in Beijing Apr 23, 2013 08:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seen more than a fair share of folks who thought that Announcing "You guys will think I'm just a hapless American" would be a good ice breaker at a post-business-day dinner in Beijing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nope, doesn't fly, particularly when a young interpreter is tasked with trying to translate and explain a joke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Probably the biggest hurdle is how many mores are unconscious, so cultural expectations are only noticed when they are breached. And then it's toooo late to 'pologize.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                    latindancer Apr 23, 2013 08:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was asking the question because it appears some are wearing their badge of 'allegiance to nonconformity', when it comes to traditional manners and social norms, quite seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    At a dinner party where the host has taken his/her job of hosting VERY seriously and has spent many hours/days in the planning, it can be very uncomfortable for the person who has committed the dishonoring and disrespect. It's not just the host they are dishonoring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kris in Beijing Apr 23, 2013 09:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      LD-- would you say that trumpeting "nonconformity" is more common in certain cultures? Elements of the US and AU come to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a weird line where it appears people harp both education and personal freedoms of behaviour.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course, with this thread approaching 300 replies, I may be co-mingling people and posts!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 09:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        <would you say that trumpeting "nonconformity" is more common in certain cultures? Elements of the US and AU come to mind.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                        But then one would also has to realize that dining etiquitte is taken much more seriously in Western culture than in East Asia culture. Yes, there are a few rules here and there in Asia, like not sticking the chopsticks into a bowl of rice.


                                                                                                                                                                                                        But there are not a lot of other restrictions. There is no about chopstick position at 8 o'clock after you are done, no recommendation to keep hands under the table during eating or do not blow air to spoonful of soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        When there are not many rules, then there are not a lot to be "nonconformity" about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kris in Beijing Apr 23, 2013 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm thinking of:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chinese tea ceremony
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Japanese tea ceremonies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Table Shape
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The "way to order" [based upon the number of people] to get the right balance of pork/ fish/ beef/ chicken/ veg/ starchy noodle/ spicy/ "cooling"/ "warming"/ soup/ fried.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          The way to serve others based upon your "rank"
                                                                                                                                                                                                          When a dish is considered "empty;" never turning over the fish
                                                                                                                                                                                                          When a plate is considered "empty;" never having a completely bare plate/ there are always inedible items IN the food
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which cultures lift the bowl and which lower the head over the bowl
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which cultures break the bones/ suck the marrow/ scrape out the contents
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smoking/ drinking/ toasting/ paying the bill -- highly ritualized

                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's just off the top of my head : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 10:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <Chinese tea ceremony
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Japanese tea ceremonies >

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Those are very special occasions. Many Asians themselves do not encounter them and not follow the rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <Table Shape>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <The "way to order">

                                                                                                                                                                                                            No more worse than wine pairing. In fact, pretty easy like you said. You just have to make sure that there is a bit of everything. Any 3 years child can do it. There isn't a particular way to do it. It is not like "the fork has to be placed prongs down on top of the knife...etc"


                                                                                                                                                                                                            On top of that, you can order all the meat or all the vegetables you want, especially when you are eating alone. It is not considered to be an "offense" if you do order three pork dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <When a plate is considered "empty;" never having a completely bare plate/ there are always inedible items IN the food>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That won't be etiquette.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <Which cultures lift the bowl and which lower the head over the bowl>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is just cultural preference. People don't really care if you do it the other way. Go to any Asia noodle shop and you will see some people lift the bowls and other place their heads down. Some sit up straight, while most bend over.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            <Smoking/ drinking/ toasting/ paying the bill -- highly ritualized >

                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is just crazy party -- nothing to do with etiquitte. The whole "Let me pay the bill." "No me. Don't you pay the bill." "I will not talk to you if you pay the bill." "Waiter, don't you dare to take his money. Take mine" are not what is considered to be proper etiquitte. In fact, the highly regarded or highly educated ones are not supposed to fight over the bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kris in Beijing Apr 24, 2013 03:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps I was more often with people who were looking for a reason to be culturally offended by the faux pas of an expat or foreigners in China who clearly expressed their supposed cultural superiority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a side note-- what would you call the who-pays-the-bill argument [like the Chipmunk "You" "No, You"] if NOT a play of rules of etiquette?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kris in Beijing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 24, 2013 04:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                <As a side note-- what would you call the who-pays-the-bill argument [like the Chipmunk "You" "No, You"] if NOT a play of rules of etiquette?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You are correct. It is a play of etiquette in a twisted kind of way. I do not think that is part of the etiquette in general. This happens more among the business-type people and less so for regular folks. It also occurs more for late dinner meals, and not as often for breakfasts or lunches. Think about it. When people fight for the bill, it can get very visible because they can start yelling and they may look like real arguments/fights. Needless to say, they are not real arguments. More importantly, it actually rarely happens. It isn't like this happens for every single tables. The actual occurrence frequency is not that high.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                From my experience, other Chinese patrons often look at the fights in amuse, and sometime in disdain. The famous vocal fights are not widely viewed as acceptable by others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Kris in Beijing
                                                                                                                                                                                                          latindancer Apr 23, 2013 10:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          <would you say that trumpeting "nonconformity" is more common in certain cultures?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In my field I've become familiar with many different cultures and people. The majority of the people I've worked with are highly educated and well traveled.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          It would never occur to any of them to *not* become personally educated and knowledgeable about the country and cultures they're going to be working with. Mannerisms, traditions, societal norms are all part of their education and awareness and they take it very seriously.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, elements of the US and AU *do* come to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 06:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        So you're okay with representing yourself as an American barbarian rather than a sensitive American? We do, like it or not represent our country when we are in another. Hopefully there aren't too many who are okay with others seeing Americans as barbarians.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                          HillJ Apr 24, 2013 06:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wouldn't be easier to just focus on what you can do to best represent yourself without worrying about the next person?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                            wyogal Apr 24, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The part I find amusing is everyone wanting to fall all over themselves with "etiquette" when going to other countries, and yet, when someone asks what to serve guests from other countries, people fall all over themselves giving advice how to serve others that, for example, never eat with their hands (hamburgers, brownies, all with knife and fork, and don't ever serve corn on the cob to Germans because they consider it animal food).
                                                                                                                                                                                                            At what point do we just accept each other as we are? Not barbarians, but just people with different customs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, I would try to follow custom when dining with others in an unfamiliar place, but I would also hope that they would have the sense to know that my customs are not "barbaric" but just different. If they thought as you, well, I wouldn't dine with them again, and I would wonder why I even spent time with them in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Apr 24, 2013 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You have some excellent points, but what comes to mind for me is that different cultures/countries have enough trouble understanding one another and getting along, and it is good to try to understand and accomodate those who think and do differently than we do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                foodieX2 Apr 24, 2013 06:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, all good points. When I go to a culture, a country, a home etc that I don't know I try to find out as much as I can in advance. To me it is respectful. While I also agree that being pleasant and having a sense of humor can't hurt its more than that. It's about showing that you cared enough to try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                On the other hand I also would like the same consideration. I would like to hope that if I had the opportunity to host a person from another culture they would be have done the same and, bearing religious/political/etc requirements they would be open to trying things "my/our way".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My SIL invited her non english speaking elderly german relatives to our home for a family celebration. The more the merrier! I did my best to research german customs to make sure I wasn't serving or doing something offensive. However you could tell (even with the language barrier) they were thoroughly enjoying a truly "american" celebration and had done their own "research".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                To me that is ultimate in manners. Flaunting your "non conformity" in the face of protocol? Grandstanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  wyogal Apr 24, 2013 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not talking about flaunting nonconformity. I'm just saying that on these boards, people are making the point that when traveling to other countries, one needs to know the customs (manners) of that country, and try to fit into that mode. Which is fine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then, on these boards, when someone is asking about hosting people from another country, people suggest that one should accommodate the guests customs. Which, to a degree, I understand making a guest comfortable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm just wondering why it isn't O.K. for the same posters to understand that the visitors are like those in the first category, they are going someplace different and that one follows the customs of the hosts. I find it a bit of a double standard. That was what I found amusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Apr 24, 2013 08:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think that both guest and host should make an effort and hopefully find common ground somewhere in the middle. At the least they will see the effort made by the other and appreciate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just my silly two cents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      wyogal Apr 24, 2013 08:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Of course. I'm talking about those on these boards that insist on one thing, and yet the shoe is never on the other foot. They want it both ways. And it seems like American customs are never good enough for some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wyogal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        sandylc Apr 24, 2013 08:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Americans are always getting beaten up. We make a great target. Must mean we're pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          wyogal Apr 24, 2013 08:26 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                grampart Apr 24, 2013 06:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                To a large part of the world, we ARE barbarians and no matter how perfectly I succeed in not offending any of them with my table manners it isn't going to change that. As I said, I try my best and if I screw something up that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 24, 2013 07:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To large part of the world, they also adore the barbarians. (No, I am serious).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MGZ Apr 24, 2013 07:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I woulda certainly been outside the walls in 410.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      grampart Apr 24, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I suppose I could just chalk it up to my Viking heritage (50% anyway).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MGZ Apr 24, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Have axe. Will travel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 11:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps I read into your statement of "not losing any sleep over it". When I hear someone say that it means the same to me as saying that they can take a flying leap for all you care, which attitude denotes a deregard for other's feelings, disrespectful and is careless in my view. I apologize if I misinterpreted your intent. (It's so much easier to interpret a conversant's attitude face-to-face, but, hey, Skype this isn't!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        grampart Apr 24, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Absolutely no apology neccessary. I really am a pretty well-mannered guy. I was brought up right, taught to respect my elders, and perform all the niceties that were required in order to avoid getting my ears boxed. It's because of this that I figure, if I commit some kind of social trespass, it surely wasn't intentional and, since I no longer have to worry about parental punishment, I shrug it off as no big deal. btw, there is very little that would cause me enough angst to lose any sleep. Maybe a colonoscopy the next day........

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Apr 24, 2013 05:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with do your best and move on. Some here might disagree with the do your best part, it seems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pinky107 Jun 11, 2013 09:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for your gracious reply. If I "commit some kind of social trespass", I aplogize (if it's brought to my attention), and then use it as a lesson learned. I, too, was "brought up right". And, like you, "there is very little that would cause me enough angst to lose any sleep". But, unlike you, even a colonoscopy doesn't make me lose sleep. A grandchild in the hospital with pneumonia would, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                sandylc Apr 23, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I once got into a heated debate about grammar with someone. My argument was that the reason to make a good attempt to learn and adhere to good grammar was because if random people began speaking in random ways, the quality of communication would erode. Eventually I could imagine neighboring towns not understanding each other's speech at all if there weren't any language rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                This idea applies to table/social manners. Eating together is another form of interaction that needs to be organized with rules to avoid misunderstandings and chaos. When everyone is familiar with at least most of the rules, the meal and the social experience go more smoothly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's just another way to organize social interaction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, it is bad to criticize another's lack of manners and etiquette knowledge; but I think it is equally bad to scoff at the existance of rules intended for smooth interaction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see on this thread a number of individuals who don't know the rules of table etiquette and speak derisively of them. I see others who do know the rules and speak derisively of people who don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe everyone should make an honest effort to learn table etiquette; it would solve both problems at once.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  HillJ Apr 23, 2013 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I like what you wrote but frankly I find it unnecessary to remind adults how to behave. I don't even know you. But I can still respect your belief.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe if there's anything to be learned it's that we all come by our humble efforts on our own terms and once we hit a certain age what's expected of us varies. I'm grateful for what my parents and grandparents, mentors and colleagues have taught me. They also taught me to think for myself. Which lesson you'd rather follow is up to you...and should be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    donovt Apr 23, 2013 04:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I once ate a meal where one person buttered their roll all at once while another used the wrong fork for salad. The chaos that ensued was frightening. I'm lucky I survived.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: donovt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 23, 2013 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're using my husband's trick of zeroing in on details instead of looking at the big picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: donovt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        wyogal Apr 23, 2013 07:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and I suppose they passed the salt without the pepper, too! ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: donovt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NonnieMuss Apr 24, 2013 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're lucky the shock didn't cause you to drop your monacle into your brandy snifter! Simply the thought makes me clutch my pearls. (Fans self... Rethinks... Orders maid to fan self.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          debbiel Apr 23, 2013 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But the table manners identified in the OP are far from universally accepted, even when they are "known." Who decided those rules reign?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I still have difficulty with understanding how someone buttering an entire roll at once will result in chaos of any sort. I really cannot imagine how. How does that disrupt social interaction? In my mind, a gathering at which that would cause discomfort, let alone chaos, is one at which the formality and rigidity of the expectations would likely be what stifles social interaction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We are often able to communicate quite effectively with people who have not mastered grammar rules. I only recently started using anything other than present tense in Spanish, yet my travels in Spain were very rich with social interactions. Likewise, I suspect most dinner gatherings could be lovely with a mix of bite butterers and whole butterers at the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kengk Apr 23, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you note any incidents of missing salt or pepper shakers in Spain?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: debbiel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Apr 23, 2013 04:49 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                              See my answer above, as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. g
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            givemecarbs Apr 22, 2013 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've seen this, usually done quickly with great energy and gusto. My only concern would be if the person was a close friend or family member and left behind a juicy chop or steak or something else midnight snack worthy, now in pieces.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've told my one friend if you aren't going to eat it all don't mangle it as someone else might really enjoy it now or later. I can see the other point of view too though. It is their food. So I'm only horrified if something expensive and yummy gets mulched up and then discarded. But only for practical reasons. Then again many manners are based on practicality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. monavano Apr 22, 2013 02:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Scooter8 20 minutes ago
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The one thing I always cut at least half up at a time is a wedge salad or a romaine salad with the whole heart with big leaves on the plate. I like to make sure I can get dressing on it evenly and not accidentally get lettuce on the table every time I try to cut it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Me too. I have to be sure the dressing gets into every nook and cranny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Scooter8 Apr 22, 2013 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The one thing I always cut at least half up at a time is a wedge salad or a romaine salad with the whole heart with big leaves on the plate. I like to make sure I can get dressing on it evenly and not accidentally get lettuce on the table every time I try to cut it (especially a wedge salad because they can be cumbersome and in one unfortunate situation, a little slippery.) I am also a slow eater and often dine with a few very fast eaters and have found that sometimes I can keep up with their pacing of the meal a little better if I cut 3 or 4 bites at once. I'm pretty sure they prefer I break the rules and do this rather than slow everyone down because the alternative is I end up with everyone staring at me eat or most of my meal in a to-go container. One of my friends particularly likes the fact that I am a slow eater because we often split an appetizer and an entrée and he gets about 3/4 of it and the rest is the perfect amount for me. I would be more careful about following the lead of someone in a business related meal or if I had a mother in law. I was taught well by my Mom on when to be on your best behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Scooter8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  John E. Apr 22, 2013 03:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Years ago I remember my mother using a knife and fork to cut up her salad if some of the pieces were too large. I thought it was weird back then. Now, I occasionally find myself doing the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pinky107 Apr 23, 2013 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do that, too. However, I've found that in your "better" restaurants, the lettuce is hand torn into bite size pieces for the regular-type lettuce salad.. I loooove that. At Appleby's, etc. and your Mom & Pop cafe, be prepared to cut your own lettuce once the salad is served.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. EarlyBird Apr 22, 2013 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I dont' see how this would be "rude," but I do think it's childish and uncouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EarlyBird
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    monavano Apr 22, 2013 02:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sucking your thumb is childish, cutting up all your food, not so much to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is what it is. If this is what someone knows and has always done, so what, who cares?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As an aside, I find it fascinating watching celeb chefs eat on shows like Top Chef etc. Have you ever seen Colichio's fork holding skills? He looks like a 6-year old.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's funny how so many chefs hold utensils in a juvenile fashion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, open up that whole can of worms now...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 22, 2013 05:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah, yes, the fork-in-the-fist syndrome. Now, THAT looks foolish and childish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bkeats Apr 24, 2013 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We were having dinner at one of those trendy places in W'burg. Three young, fashionably dressed women were having dinner next to us. It was fascinating watching them eat. Its was as though they had been dropped on the planet and faced eating with unfamiliar implements. They set down their personal communicators (cellphones), grabbed forks in varying fist or crayon holding manners, and stabbed their food. I couldn't figure out what the deal was. Wife and I spent all dinner speculating about what planet they might be from and what the culture there must be like. We created quite a world. It was very amusing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 24, 2013 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <Three young, fashionably dressed women>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They probably look at you and think.... Man, those two do not know anything about fashion. What planets are they from?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HillJ Apr 24, 2013 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            so who exactly was from planet strange?> the three young woman or the couple speculating all through dinner?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            so, where's the lesson in manners for you and your wife, BKeats?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            you're right, it is amusing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bkeats Apr 24, 2013 11:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No doubt they were looking at the old (or maybe not so young) dude and wondering what's wrong with the stiff from planet suit. I gave up trying to be hip long ago. I take great comfort in the fact that its so much easier and more fun to be un-hip. And since I'm not busy spending my money on new clothes to be fashionable, I have more money to spend on food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But to think in the vein of Lake Woebegone, if everyone is hip doesn't that mean no one is?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                grampart Apr 24, 2013 11:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                George Gobel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 24, 2013 12:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your point is well taken, but then you do understand that everyone has different priority. So while you may think the three ladies are weird for not knowing how to properly hold knives and forks. They may think you are weird for not knowing how to dress trendy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    grampart Apr 24, 2013 12:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Frank Zappa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Frank Zappa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people's minds."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Frank Zappa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 24, 2013 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How far would the young women have to take it before you would think it remarkable? Putting their faces in their plates like dogs? I'm serious here, not sarcastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 24, 2013 06:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One can say the same about clothing. How bad would someone has to dress to consider unacceptable? I am not avoiding your question, but rather trying to put some perspectives. I think we all have different "lines" to draw as to what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Let me be very honest in answering your question. If the young women were to eat straightout of the plates, then I would think they are very strange and possibly uneducated in this aspect, but I won't call them "rude". To me, rude implies a level of intended misbehavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Apr 24, 2013 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very astute. One of the great dilemmas of humankind: Proving intent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bkeats Apr 24, 2013 06:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Totally understand we all have different priorities. But it's so hard to be trendy. What's trendy today is passé tomorrow. If I'm not trendy now, I don't have to worry about if I won't be trendy tomorrow. Much more comfortable. Food, clothes, being trendy is hard. I just stick with what I like. I hope everyone else does too. That way none of us can be "wrong." I spent way too much effort when I was younger trying to do the right things, be at the right places so I would seem hip. Now I don't worry about it. Much easier to stay sane.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 24, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <But it's so hard to be trendy. What's trendy today is passé tomorrow.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very good point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As for the dining etiquette, I think certain level is expected. I expect people learn to wait for the host before eating. I expect people be pleasant and conversational around the dining table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As I have written to sandylc, I do hope people know how to hold their knives and forks, but I won't say they are rude otherwise. Unsophisticated, maybe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    paulj Apr 24, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Speculating about the origins of other diners has a long and honored history.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    'Mary Barr Munroe, writing for the March 2, 1889 edition of Good Housekeeping, reflected on some people-watching she herself had recently done in New York. As she sat at a New York City restaurant she “saw a richly dressed woman with every evidence a lady, handle her knife, fork, and napkin in a way that bespoke anything but gentle breeding”. '

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Etiquette of Eating Olives – Victorian-Era Table Manners

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      VenusCafe May 7, 2013 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not saying it is similar at all...but about 30 years ago (before
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the really bad manners), a beautiful and accomplished woman had us for dinner at her ocean side home. She ate the dinner with her hands! I was fascinated. It was an extremely elegant performance. I enjoyed it soooooo much! Found out that I was unable to duplicate that elegance at home; it was entirely her elegance and custom that pulled it off as a lovely action.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        jlhinwa May 7, 2013 03:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting....curious to know, what was the dinner? It would be easier to pull off elegant with certain foods than others. For example, I cannot imagine how one could eat something like spaghetti or lasagne with hands and not be anything but a mess!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Jun 28, 2013 09:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Um-m, maybe Seafood Gumbo Over Rice?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc May 8, 2013 09:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Beautiful and accomplished are clues that indicate how she got away with it. Also, it sounds like she possibly made an artistic statement of some sort with her "performance". Different than your typical slob jamming food randomly into their pie hole ;-/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          EDIT: Oh, but thank you for that story; it is interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: VenusCafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            bobbert May 10, 2013 05:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Found out that I was unable to duplicate that elegance at home"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a similar situation with a beautiful young woman who lives next door to me. When she puts out the garbage every Tuesday morning it is so elegant and lovely. No matter how hard I try to emulate her, every Tuesday morning I'm still an overweight middle aged guy just lugging out the trash. Now that I think of it, it appears that beautiful people always look better than me regardless of what they're doing:-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              debbiel May 10, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Crap. I just realized I forgot to take out the trash today, elegantly or otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Chemicalkinetics Apr 22, 2013 10:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <It drives me crazy when people cut up all of the food on their plate before they begin to eat>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You know.... I know a few people who do this. Maybe not all of the food, but they do cut up a good portion of the food, then eat, then cut up a good portion again. I actually wish I do that, but I don't because I don't have the patient to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it has a lot to do with American dining etiquette which requires switch the fork...etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Gastronomos Apr 22, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Speaking from only personal experience, here in New York. I know of two older gentlemen that cut up all their food before they start eating. Whether French toast for breakfast or steak for dinner as an example. They have become tired and just want to sit and eat. Manners and etiquette mean little to them anymore. One of the two knows what’s proper and very much knows how to use a fork and knife but is just a nervous older gentleman that wants to eat and enjoy food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The other may know by looking at others at the table that he doesn’t have the refined table manners others do and points out “other things” or “makes comments” if anyone alludes to his behavior. His daughter once asked why he cuts up his whole steak before beginning to eat. ONCE. He doesn’t know how to properly hold a knife and fork to cut his steak anyway, so he does it quickly at the beginning and avoids the constant dinner long knife cutting and eating with a twisted fist and subsequent attention grabbing thing he gets with his poor knife and fork skills. It is only drives some people crazy when if in conversation something comes up and he verbally lashes back at something else. A defense mechanism of his knowingly clueless ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Some consider it snobbery to actually know something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A cousin of mine had his mother cut his steak or pork chop for him until he was well into his 20’s. He now has his wife do this for him at the table or before dinner at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          John E. Apr 22, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "A cousin of mine had his mother cut his steak or pork chop for him until he was well into his 20’s. He now has his wife do this for him at the table or before dinner at home."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That is really weird.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics Apr 22, 2013 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <That is really weird.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I actually find that rude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jay F Apr 22, 2013 11:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah. It's one thing to do it yourself, but to have someone else do it? Just ain't right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MGZ Apr 22, 2013 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, if Mommy's still wipin' your ass at twentysomething . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tom34 Apr 22, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was the first thing that came to my mind too but I was afraid to say it, LOL :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    monavano Apr 22, 2013 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seriously, it's like some adults who have a baby fetish. Something is not right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      linguafood Apr 22, 2013 11:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      'cept for that usually stays (or should) in the bedroom... which really is nobody's business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        monavano Apr 22, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not really, since I saw if on tv! A handful of times in fact (Dr. Phil is one).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monavano
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          linguafood Apr 22, 2013 12:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Right. But we're not talking about people with an adult baby fetish showing up at the dinner table in diapers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There are all kinds of.... interesting folk on daytime TV, I hear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            monavano Apr 22, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sometimes, you have to see it to believe it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chemicalkinetics Apr 22, 2013 12:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              <talking about people with an adult baby fetish>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Let's not exaggerate, shall we? It is a stretch to equalize these people to babies. Ridiculous. Absolutely, unfair to the babies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Babies can perfectly eat on their own -- maybe in some unsophisticated forms, but they have no probably eating.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They don't demand people to cut up foods for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                linguafood Apr 22, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I wasn't the one equating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 22, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  True, true. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 04:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i've not made it my business to comment....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              VenusCafe May 7, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've made it my business not to comment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Jay F
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 22, 2013 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I really don't care too much about etiquette. If you want to cut up all the food, cut with your fork, poke with your chopsticks, eat with your hands.....etc. These are bad etiquette, but that just mean you eat differently than what are considered to be the proper or educated forms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Having another person to feed you (or cut up all the foods for you) is a completely different issue. It is just not caring and thoughtful to make people to cut up food for you -- assuming you are physically capable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tom34 Apr 22, 2013 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Some king of freak is how I see a physically normal adult being fork fed by mommy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        monavano Apr 22, 2013 11:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        His momma ought to be slapped! She raised a boy, not a man.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To be blessed with all your digits and the motor skills to execute such a task, and not us them, is really stunted.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't imagine marrying a man who wanted me to cut his food. There just wouldn't be a second date, let alone a wedding!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bkeats Apr 24, 2013 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Has anyone watch "Big Bang?" Howard fits the description.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gastronomos Apr 24, 2013 04:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          it still bothers me to see this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4. h
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        HowDoYouDoThat Apr 22, 2013 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can certainly understand your annoyance, but I find it just that, annoyance. To me holding a fork in your fist and stabbing your food to cut it is something I would rather not see. We all have our quirks, I probably have more than most! Happy eating everyone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. i
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Isolda Apr 22, 2013 09:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think the reason this behavior is considered rude is because it's all about eating efficiently, greedily focusing more on the food than on one's dining companions. It's a minor etiquette offense, in my book, and one I'm not likely to notice, especially if it's not accompanied by behavior that's truly disgusting, such as____________(fill in the blank.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            paulj Apr 22, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            " it's all about eating efficiently, greedily focusing more on the food than on one's dining companions" - that is projection, ascribing a motive to a simple act.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A person who cuts all their meat at the start, focuses on that task for a few minutes, but after wards is free to pay more attention to their companions. On the other hand, the person who cuts one bite at a time, has to momentarily shift their attention to the cutting at each bite. Plus there's all the noise when they set the knife and fork down to switch hands. And who's to say they aren't more focused on the food. After all, one of the reasons given for cutting one bite at a time is that it keeps the food warmer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rules like this shift the attention from the real faults (greed, self absorption, judgmentalism, etc) to superficial things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Isolda Apr 22, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Paul, I didn't make the "rule" and could not care less if you follow it. This was the logic used to explain to me when I was a child why the behavior was considered rude, and it still makes sense to me. However, as I said in my post, I hardly notice if others do this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Calling all such rules superficial overlooks the fact that manners are intended to demonstrate our participation in the social order, and that we are not greedy, self-absorbed or judgmental. Following what we might think of as a trivial rule can indicate great respect for others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                paulj Apr 23, 2013 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                or respect for those who had out the brownie points (aka promotions).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MGZ Apr 23, 2013 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Calling all such rules superficial overlooks the fact that manners are intended to demonstrate our participation in the social order, and that we are not greedy, self-absorbed or judgmental."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To be clear, your belief is that pointing out others etiquette flaws is not judgmental? Or that anyone can define the "social order"? Didn't the latter lead to separate water fountains?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Honestly, had I been raised to have the same rote adherence to every rule, my life probably would've been a lot easier. Although, it certainly would've been less fun, or true.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. melpy Apr 22, 2013 09:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes! We were just talking about this last night. I believe it started when parents would cut food for children at the beginning of the meal to save time. It grates on my nerves. We have several friends who do this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                HillJ Apr 22, 2013 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                melpy are the kids old enough to cut their own food up or are your friends just getting the kids situated so they can focus on their own dining enjoyment?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  melpy Apr 22, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The several friends have no children but cut all their own food up before eating. They are in their late 20s and mid thirties. Sorry for the confusion. I also think I may have been harsh in that it is not rude but uncouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: melpy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Apr 22, 2013 04:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My father had a visiting business associate over for dinner once when I was.....5 or 6? Now, know that I was cutting my own steaks by about age 3. Well, this guy, who was sitting next to me, without skipping a beat in the conversation, reached over and cut up everything on my plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nice family guy, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  NO!!!! I burst into tears because I thought he had ruined my food and my poor mother had to get me a new plate.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pinky107 Apr 23, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's funny, but I'm sure the business associate was terribly embarassed that he made you cry. He meant well but he happened upon the only 3 year old in the state that could cut up his/her own steak. BTW, I'm curious whether you cut it all up at one time, or 1 or 2 pieces at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 23, 2013 03:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, one at a time! Strict table manners in our house. Funny, my elderly remaining parent has entirely forgotten hers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tom34 Apr 23, 2013 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Funny you mentioned that about the elderly. Growing up, my grandfather could recite the book. Never saw him without a formal shirt and tie. After he could no longer drive, he put on a 3 piece suit to walk to WaWa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After about age 80, his table manners vanished. Most notably was starting before others & failing to pass sides. He loved to eat & I often wonder if it was the last thing he had to look forward to and just couldn't wait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Apr 23, 2013 06:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think maybe they are working hard just to keep track of themselves and aren't thinking about others as a result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. John E. Apr 21, 2013 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It has never occurred to me that cutting up one's food on your own plate would be rude. I have never run across this 'rule'. I have only remembered seeing such food eating when young children or the elderly are involved. I don't see how it could possibly be seen as being rude. I also don't see how anyone could possibly be offended by such innocuous behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sandylc Apr 21, 2013 08:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Basic etiquette rule. Cut one bite at a time. Arbitrary? Probably.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      John E. Apr 21, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I understand that. I have not observed it but for the exceptions I pointed out. I don't think people should hold their fork in their fist, but I don't get worked uo over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ipsedixit Apr 21, 2013 08:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think this is where alot of this thread goes haywire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a difference between socially improper (breach of etiquette) and socially impolite (rude).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think, in this case of pre-cutting, it is more the former than the latter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sandylc Apr 21, 2013 08:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's a really perceptive point. What silly rule are you breaking vs. whose feelings are you hurting......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ipsedixit Apr 21, 2013 08:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you mean it's a matter of perspective (as opposed to "perceptive") then you're absolutely right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            All social norms are a matter of perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc Apr 21, 2013 09:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              No, I meant perception.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                sandylc Apr 21, 2013 09:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But your perspective is also welcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                John E. Apr 21, 2013 09:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Instead of whose feelings are being hurt, my perspective is who is allowing their feelings to be hurt over something as innocuous as this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Apr 22, 2013 08:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was attempting (apparently poorly) to differentiate between silly rules and rules that actually are in place to avoid insulting people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MGZ Apr 22, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't think you did a poor job at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's also the school of thought that good manners means making everyone around you feel as comfortable as possible. If cutting meat a certain way makes someone uncomfortable, well,... I can't think of a situation where this could make someone truly uncomfortable. If you were having dinner with the queen and your husband was mincing everything on his plate, then sure. Awkward! Otherwise who would care enough to get squicky about it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        monavano Apr 22, 2013 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In the words of Joy Behar, "so what, who cares?".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CKaty Apr 23, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Can I like your comment? If cutting up their food in advance makes someone I am dining with happy and able to enjoy their meal more, then why on earth would it bother me? I cannot imagine staring at someone else's plate enough to even notice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CKaty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            monavano Apr 23, 2013 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I mentioned above (or below?) that I noticed my mom cutting up all her food before digging in to eat, when she visited DH and I a few years ago. I guess since I've switched to (mostly) cutting food one bite at a time, it seemed different.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But, I made her a favorite; lamb chops. They're pricey and I overcooked hers a bit because she doesn't like meat as rare as i do. No biggie. She cut all of her 2 chops. No biggie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Know what the "biggie" was?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Watching my mom enjoy those lamb chops to pieces!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It brought me joy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. MGZ Apr 21, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm squarely in the "who the f*ck cares" camp. Antiquated notions of manners from another time are just that. Personally, I think anyone who cuts up all their food at once is likely wastin' good food. Then again, if it was steak cooked past 125 or so, they might as well destroy it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              35 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pinky107 Apr 23, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope your never turned down for a business promotion due to your lack of caring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MGZ Apr 23, 2013 09:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In my experience, no one gets turned down for a promotion when they are extremely good at what they do. Hell, I refused to wear ties for a coupla years unless I was going to Court and was asked to become a partner early. Sometimes, what folks think is the "right thing" is way more limiting to them than what is the "right thing for them".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At this point, it doesn't matter, I've been self employed for over a decade and haven't had to commute less than walking distance for close to twenty years. We choose our lives. Everything about 'em. There's very little reason to succumb to the restrictions of others if we know that everything in life is purely of our own choosing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    grampart Apr 23, 2013 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "We choose our lives. Everything about 'em. There's very little reason to succumb to the restrictions of others if we know that everything in life is purely of our own choosing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well my friend, it seems we don't think alike on this subject. I tend to believe pretty much the opposite; we don't "choose" anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” ― Albert Einstein

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      MGZ Apr 23, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's simply your anarchism conflicting with my existentialism. No sweat. I'd still rather eat with an anarchist than lotsa others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Edit - I'll pay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pinky107 Apr 23, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Having been in the legal field, too, I'm heartened you recognize the need for proper decorum in the courtroom. And just as there is proper decorum there, it exists in other places, too. Wouldn't you agree that if you refused to wear a tie to Court, your becoming a partner would have been very unlikely? Therefore, although you may be extremely good at what you do, you may have never seen the inside of a courtroom as an attorney. You did, however, agree to "succumb to the restrictions of others" in that case. Good luck in your continuing practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MGZ Apr 23, 2013 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hell, I retired from that nonsense a decade ago. All that "white shoe" money couldn't keep me adhering to bullsh*t. Truth is, I was hired to write, for the most part, and that's what I did. I'd wear a bowtie to court since a necktie reminded me too much of a leash. My success was the product of talent, not obedience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          paulj Apr 23, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          G&S recognized the need for proper decorum in the legal field many years ago:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          .In serving writs I made such a name
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That an articled clerk I soon became;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For the pass examination at the Institute,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And that pass examination did so well for me,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But then even Rumpole had a white wig at one time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          jlhinwa Apr 23, 2013 10:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "In my experience, no one gets turned down for a promotion when they are extremely good at what they do." Maybe in the field in which you are employed, but definitely not true across the board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As I mentioned above, I used to work for a global investment firm with offices around the world. The most challenging location was Tokyo, and people were turned down for advancement because of not having the right people/social skills, nor the interest in developing them, to be successful. It was routine to educate expats in minute details of business and social etiquette before sending them over. Big brains alone do not equate to success. Entertaining clients in a culture with major differences in etiquette and not being aware or sensitive to those differences is like walking through a minefield. Many employers are not willing to take the chance on losing business or offending good customers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            kengk Apr 23, 2013 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just today I read where Bill Gates is on somebody's shit list for not shaking hands properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kengk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              HillJ Apr 23, 2013 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Right, Bill Gates has had a devil of a time giving his fortune away...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kengk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                jlhinwa Apr 23, 2013 08:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Kengk, just goes to show that no one is immune from judgment on these things. Remember when Jimmy Carter caused a big flap for daring to kiss the Queen Mother? (Okay, I am clearly dating myself with that one!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jlhinwa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  VenusCafe May 7, 2013 07:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  OMG! We are lost if you can 'date yourself' based on what occurred in the reasonably recent past! (the '80s)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not that I remember that incident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jlhinwa
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MGZ Apr 23, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Maybe in the field in which you are employed, but definitely not true across the board."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not employed. Twenty years ago, I was, and it sucked. I ain't goin' back. I still eat sheep, but won't act like 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is such an awesome topic. In my line of work, dressing is kind of important and kind of unimportant. Let me explain. As a scientist, I can pretty much wear anything from causal to business causal to my meetings. On the other hand, when I am in the lab I have to wear lab coat and gloves.... I can get in real trouble for not wearing a labcoat or safety glasses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MGZ Apr 23, 2013 11:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But, wouldn't that be more reason than rule? I mean, safety glasses have a purpose, but a necktie?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <wouldn't that be more reason than rule?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, but it get fuzzy too, right? I mean. The safety glasses and gloves are definitely based on practical reasons. The lab coats are less so. The lab coats probably marginally protect the person compare to regular coating. I am guessing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I suppose people in other lines of work have to dress in a certain way to show respect -- like wearing ties to dinner or taking off shoes before entering a Japanese house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        grampart Apr 23, 2013 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Besides looking "important", I always thought lab coats were like a body-bib.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          :) Like baby body bib? That is adorable:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, I can tell you for sure that family doctors definitely wear labcoats to be "important". It isn't like family doctors really go to the labs anyway. They just sit in the office.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And if the labcoats are really to protect the medical doctosr, then trust me that they should not be wearing the ties at the same time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MGZ Apr 23, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Along those line, why do doctors who go on TV insist upon wearin' scrubs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              grampart Apr 23, 2013 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cuz they be surgeons, man. Cain't be more better than that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 12:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                They probably view the them (scrubs) as their uniforms, and that they give them a certain level of credibility. I know. It gets pretty silly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MGZ Apr 23, 2013 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "[T]hey give them a certain level of credibility. I know. It gets pretty silly."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep. Kinda like when guys wear neckties out to dinner. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jay F Apr 23, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    > Kinda like when guys wear neckties out to dinner. . . .<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What could be sillier?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought about this some more. I think there is one small but important difference. Doctors who wear scrub on a TV show is doing so to demand respect and authority from the audience. People who wear neckties out to dinner is to show respect to the other person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tom34 Apr 23, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I find getting dressed up in formal attire every once in while and going out for premium entertainment and 5 star dining is quite rewarding. On the other hand, an evening at a good tavern with great buffalo wings and cold beer get me just as excited, just in a different way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          melpy Apr 24, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think this is it. It is all about accepted norms of the situation and individuals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For two hours of trivia and bar food at the local pub, I might have my elbows on the table from time to time to eat my wings etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Still will cut my meat one bite at a time for the most part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hobbert Apr 23, 2013 03:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some may, but I've worked in ER's and OR's and it gets pretty gross sometimes. I have no idea if I seemed credible but I was happy not to get bodily fluids on my clothes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Apr 23, 2013 04:55 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think we mean those circumstances. After there is real practical reason why medical doctors at one point wearing labcoat or scrubs. MGZ was referring to doctor who go on TV show and wear a scrub. I refered to family doctors who don't not go into labs or operation room and wear a labcoat all day long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      sandylc Apr 23, 2013 04:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some women think men are sexy when wearing scrubs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        donovt Apr 23, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's why I wear them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        PS. I'm not a doctor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tom34 Apr 23, 2013 06:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My wife wears them but I never got that sensation. Now when she takes them off and is left with the skin tight Under Armour, thats another story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Karl S Apr 23, 2013 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Excusez moi....


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pinky107 Apr 24, 2013 07:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Non-comformity has its place. But it IS what can land someone involuntarily in the unemployment line. I believe that's the point jihinwa is making. Like he said, "Big brains alone do not equate to success."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MGZ Apr 24, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Have your worldview. I respect it, like those of everyone else, so long as they are based upon rational consideration. In fact, continue to be vested in it. I'm sure it is serving you well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nevertheless, please keep in mind that it is just your worldview. That does not make it objectively the correct one. And, realize,just 'cause you preach, it doesn't mean everyone's gonna wanna be baptized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lotsa folks spend their lives learning. Let 'em learn what they choose to learn. Perhaps, to them, it's more important to study bricklayin' than other cultures' customs. That, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pinky107
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    jlhinwa Apr 24, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    'But it IS what can land someone involuntarily in the unemployment line.' Yes, saw it happen more than once, with Ivy league MBA's and PhD's. It wasn't outright manners that would do them in, but the apparent belief that their IQ's and pedigrees earned them the right to ignore the conventions of their work environment. An asshole is an asshole, even if they have a Harvard MBA, 1600 SAT scores and a 180 IQ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. p
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pwmfan Apr 21, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A question: I never cut up all of my food at once but, when served a thick steak or chop, I cut off a slice and then cut that slice into 3-4 pieces. After I've eaten those pieces I cut another slice and do the same. Would this be viewed as gauche by someone who was a stickler for proper manners? Would it be considered "more correct" to cut off a slice and then cut each bite individually as I eat it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not worried about this when dining with family or friends but rather in the context of business/formal occasions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          64 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pwmfan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Excellent question - I find myself doing the same sometimes. Does anyone have a textbook etiquette answer for this one? It's also difficult if you have, say, a filet to just cut one bite off on the first cut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MGZ Apr 22, 2013 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With all due respect, why should you care? I mean I'd be more likely to pick it up like a burger than slice the whole thing into pieces first, but how important is the opinion of strangers or long dead uptight Victorians to you? Eat your chop how you wanna eat your chop, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                NonnieMuss Apr 22, 2013 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Honestly I DON'T care, but I'm just plain curious at this point. Since my invitation to the royal wedding seems to have gotten lost in the mail, nothing this particular has come up since. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  monavano Apr 22, 2013 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't get invited either, and I'm 11,254 in line to the throne!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MGZ Apr 22, 2013 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, if it would please you and monavano, I'll arrange for invitations to the christening? You will, however, have to sit with me, and suffer the humiliation that comes when the rest of the family watches me drink wine from a pint glass and eat my roasted meats with my fingers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Heatherb Apr 23, 2013 11:13 AM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    danna Apr 22, 2013 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Really? Do you have no respect for the social customs called "table manners"? Is keeping your elbows off the table or your napkin in your lap or waiting until others are served before eating uptight and Victorian?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm shocked at the preponderance of the replies on this topic. Cutting up your meat all at once is poor table manners. Is it rude? No, not in the sense of being discourteous to your tablemates, but yes if one is using rude as a synonym for unrefined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: danna
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jay F Apr 22, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What is so wrong, actually, with putting your elbows on the table, Danna? I can easily think of a hundred things that are more annoying, awful, bad--whatever you want to call it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MGZ Apr 22, 2013 01:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You don't wanna break the rules, especially those that have no present meanin' behind them. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Personally, I'm more of a reason over rule guy, even if that has sometimes gotten me into some bit of trouble. When confronted with a silly rule that accomplishes nothing, I'm virtually powerless not to violate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          grampart Apr 22, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You and I think very much alike MGZ, but keep in mind this is coming from a guy who was called an anarchist by his 3rd grade teacher. I had to look it up and then told my parents all about it.....20 years later!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MGZ Apr 22, 2013 01:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd rather break bread with an anarchist than someone who blindly followed other peoples rules. I have a feelin' the dinner conversation would be much more enjoyable. Besides, the world's not right and anybody who doesn't see that we need to change things kinda scares me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            monavano Apr 22, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I love this reply!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Jay F
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            danna Apr 23, 2013 07:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good question, Jay. That one actually came to my mind first, because it's the #1 ettiquette rule I wish didn't exist. I like to sit that way. Like all rules of ettiquette, it has to have originated for a sensible reason, I suspect because if you actually ATE (rather than just sit and converse) with your elbows on the table, it would mean leaning into other people's space and generally sloppy, aggressive "shoveling it in."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The OP asked whether the meat cutting thing was considered poor manners and it is. "awful, bad"?..no...less than optimal table manners?.. yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lagatta Apr 28, 2013 07:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There is a significant difference in this rule between English and French-speakers. No, it isn't polite in formal settings to put your elbows on tables in French-speaking countries, but nobody hids them in their lap, and hands and wrists are definitely seen on tables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                mbfant Apr 28, 2013 11:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had lived in Italy for about fifteen years when an acquaintance pointed out that "like a good American" I had my hand in my lap -- i.e., the left, while eating pasta with the right. I quickly learned to keep both hands in view at all times, as everyone in Italy does, but with my astute power of observation, I had never noticed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mbfant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc Apr 29, 2013 05:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Were they afraid you were holding a weapon? I seem to remember that as the origin of the hands-above-the-table in some cultures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mbfant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jun 28, 2013 09:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Going way, way back, the practice of keeping both hands in view, while dining, was to show that one was not hiding any weapons below the table.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      globocity Jul 21, 2013 05:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hunt: Now the only weapon I fear at the dinner table is a Smartphone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: danna
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                MGZ Apr 22, 2013 12:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Napkin in the lap has a practical value. B*tchin' about someone cutting up there food in a different order than you do is just silly adherence to a time long since forgotten. Maybe you still have "downstairs" servants to open the outer envelope before bringing the mail to your chambers, but I had to give mine up when Lehman Brothers collapsed. If we need to adhere to the traditions of the past, shouldn't we go back to the days before forks?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Apr 22, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Maybe you still have "downstairs" servants to open the outer envelope before bringing the mail to your chambers>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is so awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  < If we need to adhere to the traditions of the past, shouldn't we go back to the days before forks?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Eating with hands is the most traditional form of eating, I tell you. The most traditional and educated people eat with their hands....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    MGZ Apr 22, 2013 01:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're very wise, my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sooeygun Apr 22, 2013 01:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Napkin is the lap doesn't have much practical value for me. My chest catches any spills or crumbs before they get a chance to reach my lap. The other well-endowed women in my family agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      MGZ Apr 22, 2013 01:49 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        grampart Apr 22, 2013 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The bib that is supplied with a lobster dinner or the bbq shrimp at Mr. B's is probably only reluctantly accepted by the Miss Manners devotees, but I think one should be offered with any dish that contains a staining "aspect". Until such a time arrives, I'll continue to tuck my napkin into my collar, keep my shirt clean, and let the naysayers be damned. jmho

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gastronomos Apr 22, 2013 02:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Salad dressing is guaranteed to 'dress' my shirt. A pisghetti dinner in a restaurant will always have me tuck a napkin, paper or linen, into my collar. My shirts no longer suffer red sauce stains. And the looks and comments make for (brief) dinner fodder...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Sooeygun
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          monavano Apr 22, 2013 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Love this! My MIL puts the napkin right over her boobs aka, crumb catchers.