Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eating Utensils? Is There a Right Way?

One thing that I have learned since moving to London is that everyone eats differently. I am not talking about the kinds of food that we eat. That is obvious, and I knew that before coming here. I am talking about how we eat and how we use our eating utensils. It is so interesting to me to see different people from different places eat, and to observe how they do it.

First of all, let me introduce to you, The British Way.

Everyday at work, I eat lunch in different staff rooms full of British people. It is amazing to me how delicately, properly, and beautifully they eat their food. It it like an art form. It would take practice for me to ever get it down. Someone may think I am British, but when I open my mouth or eat my lunch with a fork, I have American written all over me!

British people hold their utensils like this:

They always use a fork and a knife, ALWAYS.

And even if they are right handed, they hold their fork in their left hand, ALWAYS. They use their fork more as a dust pan and the knife is used as a scooper to pile things onto the shovel. They do it ever so delicately, with little quaint movements like a little squirrel. And when they go to lift food into their mouth with the fork, the fork is always upside down in their mouth.

I even have seen people eat fries (chips) with their fork and knife. They use the knife to press the fry (chip) onto the fork and then bring the fork to the mouth.

No hands or stabbing business going on. And they would NEVER use their fingers to scrape up some pieces that they missed from their plate. (Guilty)

Now for the Chinese Way....

At dinner, or on weekends, I see how the Chinese eat.

I share a kitchen with 9 Chinese girls. Yes, I said 9. It is a big kitchen with 2 ovens, but ya, it still is hard. They use chopsticks to eat their food. I see this take place on a daily basis. This is just amazing to me. No matter how hard I try, using chopsticks just doesn't come natural to me. I can't see how using two sticks together would be easy to pick up food. I like my fork. :) But this, like the British, is an art form in its own way. How they hold the sticks so nicely and precisely. They never use their hands but just these two little sticks. Amazing.

Last but not least....the American Way.

Isn't it funny how Americans use the side of their fork to cut things?

I know that I do this ALL the time.

I rarely use my knife unless am I cutting some really tough piece of meat, which I rarely eat meat, so ya, I mostly am a side fork cutter person. For me, knifes only come out of their drawer for spreading jam or honey on toast, or just to look cute on a nicely set table. :) My fork does the job just fine for everything. I use my fork to stab things, cut things, scoop things...really, a fork is all you need.

See, he is using his fork in his right hand, and his knife is just sitting to the side for decoration.

Or sometimes as Americans, we just give up on utensils all together. We just use our hands! I must say that it can be very we are really going to eat a burger and fries with a fork and knife!
A little food for thought....

1 comment:

  1. Ha Ha! I have always eaten the British way, even though the rest of my family does not, other than my dad, who is British! I wouldn't say I'm quaint about it though! But, people have always noticed and made mention of how I eat. It just makes sense. If using a knife to cut your food up, why cut a bite off, then put your knife down, change the fork to the right hand, and take a bite. Only to do it over and over again. Way too much work!