[thechat] american table manners -- fork in right or left..?

Alan McCoy a.r.mccoy at larc.nasa.gov
Wed Aug 25 08:22:33 CDT 2004

=> I realized then, that he eats steak like that --  cutting 
=> the meat with 
=> the knife in the right 
=> -- transferring the fork to the right, then picking up the 
=> meat with it, 
=> and eating it. 

We encountered the same thing while in Ireland.

My wife, Shell, has impeccable table manners, while mine are slightly less
refined. (city girl + country boy) However, we were both raised to hold the
fork in the left, cut with the right, put down the knife, move the fork to
the right, and eat. It's just the way we've always done it.

There we were at breakfast with the other B&B lodgers, all of whom were on
holiday from other parts of Ireland. Shell was the first to do the ol'
switcheroo and as she continued cutting/switching/eating, I noticed that the
others were staring at her in amazement. She finally looked around and
uttered an innocent, "What??"

Smiling warmly, one of the lodgers said, "Do you know what we call that in

"Call what?" Shell had no idea what they were talking about.

"Switching your utensils around. Do you know what we call that?"

"No what?" said Shell, now intrigued.

"Chicken picking."

We all had a good laugh at that one. Luckily, Shell wasn't the least bit
offended or embarrassed. The others went on to comment that doing that was
"just too much work" and "why not just EAT?!"

Makes perfect sense, right? I got to thinking shortly after that is IS too
much work. And too much of a risk of dropping utensils during that complex
maneuver. So, gradually (as not to alarm my wife's more refined gentile
Southern family) I've switched.


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