So after my brief stint here, I finally mastered the art of eating with chopsticks. Took a while though. My fingers which were used to direct contact with the food and my mouth and the occasional spoon and fork routine, yielded rather reluctantly to this new instrument.
“A pair of sticks? Bah! A lot of good that will do!” my thumb probably said to the other fingers.
Many tricky noodles slipped past my chopsticks, many snickers escaped from ‘A’s’ lips and many forks were requested in a flurry of impatience and hunger to eat the once-steaming-but-now-cold noodles. But finally, I got there.
But ‘there’ is just a teeny-weeny step in the right direction to impeccable table etiquette. I find myself constantly in situations where I panic whether I have taken the wrong spoon (again) or have to regretfully leave behind my plate with a delicious half-eaten piece of meat just because I don’t know how to cut the damned thing. Lest I cut it into morsel-sized pieces instead of bite-sized and destroy the ‘propah-ness’ of the whole dining experience.
I finally resorted to Googling about table manners. As usual, Google spewed pages and pages of awe-inspiring articles on the wonders of dining etiquette. I have skimmed through a few of the articles and done a rough compilation of some dining essentials to share with my readers. These are just guidelines, of course. If all else fails, just fake it or leave that piece of meat on the plate like how I did 😉
I am dividing this post into two parts. So that if you feel overloaded with too much facts at one go, you can go take a break and come back and read the second part.
The crunching of potato chips, the munching of freshly baked bread, all wonderful indications of your appetite. And also equally irritating for your fellow diners.
So keep the sound effects to a minimum. Chew quietly with your mouth closed, and try not to slurp.
MAC’s Cherry Blossom….or is that Vindaloo?
Wipe your mouth before drinking. Leaving a lipstick imprint on your glass or even worse the colour from your food is a definite no-no. We don’t want people guessing our dinners from our glass rims.
A tough one for me to abide by. Elbows must be kept off the table at all times. Unless you are doing a Miss-World style hands-on-the-mouth expression because your partner just popped the question, then its permissible.
How on earth do I eat THAT?
Relax, all foods however odd-shaped and tough can be tackled appropriately. With a little bit of patience and little bit of good fortune, all can be conquered.
Corn on the Cob: May be served with corn-holders. If not grasp the ends and eat in even rows as if on an old manual type-writer. And make sure not to grin too much afterward. Corn can leave nasty fibrous bits between the teeth, which might need a discreet cleaning out in the restroom afterwards.
Whole Fish: Now this part, I did not know. I normally attacked the fleshiest part of the fish and neatly assembled a nice heap of bones on the side of the plate. But the correct sequence goes like this…
Begin by cutting off the head. Next, slice along the center of the back and lift one side of the fish from the bones. Then remove the spine and other bones and place aside or on another plate. Eat the flesh in small bites.
Crab: First remove legs and suck the meat out of them. Next break open the backs and remove the meat with a small fork.
Lobster: When it is served whole, start by twisting off the claws. You will likely be given a nut cracker to get through the tough shell. A fork or a pick may be used to remove the meat from the shell. Next, start in on the tail, removing it from the body with your hands then removing the meat with a fork. The legs can be removed next; the meat can be pulled or sucked from the shell. Now, break the body in half lengthwise. Use a fork to obtain the remaining meat. The liver and any eggs may also be eaten.
Shrimp: Large shrimp are usually eaten with the fingers. Hold the shrimp by the tail. Smaller shrimp may be eaten with a fork.
(I usually avoid the fancy-shmancy seafood unless I am dining with ‘A’ or friends and then I just attack them as I please.)
So that’s the first part. Go take a break, nibble on something, careful not to drop any crumbs on your lap because that would go against the purpose of my post wouldn’t it? 🙂
Now off to the second part.