When dining out at an establishment where a person comes to the table, takes your order, and brings you your food, which items are acceptable to eat with your fingers?
Fried chicken? Pork chops? Ribs? Corn on the Cob? French fries? Burgers/Sandwiches? Asparagus? Tempura items?
(pizza is deliberately omitted)
Bonus question: for skewered dishes such as souvlaki or satay, is it EVER permissible to eat the meat off off the skewers, or should it ALWAYS be removed first?
Bread Sticks. Use a fork for the all you can eat salad.
It is acceptable to eat all of that with your fingers, if that is your personal preference. Emily Post is dead! My personal preference is to use a knife and fork and avoid touching my food as much as possible. On that list only the corn on the cob and the sandwiches would I eat with my fingers. And I would hold the corn by the ends of the cob, and not touch the kernals of the corn, and I cut burgers or sandwiches into bite size pieces and then pop each piece into my mouth, rather than holding a partially eaten sandwich in my hands. This is all just my personal preference, and other people often comment that I am trying to be uppity by not just digging in. I also eat very slowly because of a hiatal hernia.
Donuts from a box at home -- fingers.
Donuts served on a plate at a restaurant -- knofe and fork
[quote]Fried chicken? Pork chops? Ribs? Corn on the Cob? French fries? Burgers/Sandwiches? Asparagus? Tempura items?
Yes, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, no, no.
And never eat off skewers. Ever.
Fried chicken ok
Pork Chops No
Corn on Cob ok
French Fires No
Asparagus/ Tempura No
Skewered dishes removed
[quote]French Fires No
Um... on what planet does ANYONE not eat French fries with their fingers?
Because there isn't a single individual on THIS planet that eats French fries with a fork and knife. At least not without getting punched for being a pretentious ass immediately after.
French Fries - Fork
unless your at the fair.
[quote]Because there isn't a single individual on THIS planet that eats French fries with a fork and knife.
Watched a Brit eat steak, fries and peas with a knife and fork in that interesting way they have of spearning the meat and then piling the other foods behind it on the back of their forks.
I'm pretty much in agreement with you r2. I think I might start the fried chicken with a knife and fork (eating European style with the fork in my left hand at all times tines down) if the piece were too big, but might try using my fingers to finish it if it were manageable. Corn on the cob really should be served with cob forks which are inserted at each end of the cob making less of a mess on your fingers. Also, one takes a portion of butter and butters only that portion of cob to be eaten, eat it, butter another portion/row, etc. etc. The same with pork chops as with the chicken, if they are stuffed pork chops I don't see how you could eat them with your fingers. Actually I don't see any reason to finish off the chop with your fingers. I never eat ribs as I'm not a fan, but if I did I think I would start out with knife and fork and finish with fingers. Burgers and sandwiches can be eaten with fingers but I agree that cutting them (at least sandwiches, maybe not burgers) at least in half is more manageable. If fries are served on a plate I would definitely use a fork, otherwise, if in some McDonalds cardboard container I suppose fingers are OK, but I dislike getting my fingers all greasy and then getting the grease all over my paper container of drink but I guess sometimes it's unavoidable. I always eat asparagus and tempura with a fork; artichokes almost have to be eaten with the fingers until you get to the heart which should be cut and eaten with a fork. For kabobs I would take a few seconds to decide whether it's finger food or fork food once it was served. I would say the bigger the kabob the more likely I would slide it off and eat it with knife and fork.
Minding my Emily Post but still try to be practical.
When Fries are served with sandwiches they are allowed to be eaten with your fingers. When served with let's say, steak, use a fork
If the fries are covered in ketchup, it is messy to eat them by hand. I have gotten the impression that when dining where a knife and fork are pre-set at the table, the one should use a fork.
I brought up the pork chop as I am in the habit of eating most of it with a fork, but gnawing off the not-easily-removed morsels.
I don't often have donuts served off a plate. We did have a set of corn-holders in the house growing up. I would not thinking of eating salad with my fingers generally, although I have been known to pick up those large frondy pieces, chomp off the greens, and leave the uneaten stalks on my plate; I've also been known to pick up spinach leaves, but feel naughty doing so.
PS--I always eat bacon with knife and fork, I never pick up the bacon with my fingers. So much of eating with fingers can be almost childish which for me is something to be avoided, that is why in Ethiopian restaurants I find it awkward to eat everything with the fingers using only the injera bread. I invariably ask for a fork if I feel like giving up with the fingers--too messy for one thing.
None of it! EWWWWW! What are we, in Henry VIII's time?
[quote]When served with let's say, steak, use a fork
Uh...no. It's [italic]always[/italic] ridiculous to eat fries with a fork. Don't be a pretentious dumbass.
No touch food with fingers!
Crispy bacon is very difficult to eat except manually, as it crumbles into pieces otherwise.
I used to dine periodically at an Ethiopian joint that had a lunch buffet (yes, the food was kind of mediocre), noticing that they had a bin of rice, and optional forks, to accommodate squeamish westerners. I tried that once, finding the experience felt "wrong." On the other hand, there was a print ad for Biman Airways (Bangladesh) I believe it was, showing smiling diners all eating with their fingers, where my first reaction was "UGH!"
[quote]On the other hand, there was a print ad for Biman Airways (Bangladesh) I believe it was, showing smiling diners all eating with their fingers, where my first reaction was "UGH!"
If you can't decide whether a food should be eaten with your fingers or with a fork, go with your fingers. And suck them good and deep when you're finished.
Remind me not to shake hands with you r15.
OP, I noticed you deliberately omitted pizza, but I have a story to tell you. I was traveling in Canada once and had pizza in a restaurant in London, Ontario. When my pizza came I started eating it with my fingers but then noticed MANY of the others were eating theirs with a knife and fork--is this a Canadian thing, or what is the deal here??
r10 and r13
Why, you never heard of napkins? Or washing ones hands? Or do you make it a habit to always shake hands with someone immediately upon getting up from the dinner table? (talk about weird and rude)
Get over yourself.
If it's really heavy deep-dish Chicago-style or stuffed pizza, a fork & knife is okay.
If it's ANY other style, and you're eating it with a knife and fork, you're a fucking idiot.
R21 -- I omitted pizza as there seems to be a significant knife-and-fork contingent there, making it a lose-lose discussion. I will often eat the bottom part by hand, cutting up the crusty sections into bite sized pieces.
Do you really expect people who eat mostly in fast food places to ever eat french fries with a fork?
And isn't normal that they would see eating fries with a fork as "pretentious"?
You cannot stuff your face with fries using a fork as well as you can using your hands.
It has always been proper to eat asparagus with your fingers. Though I seldom do because if the sauce or butter on them.
The bar has been set very low for what is "pretentious" if it now involves eating french fries with a fork.
r22, I think you need to take your own advice. If I want to eat my fries with a fork, it's no business of yours whatsoever. If you want to eat them with your fingers, that's your business so let's keep it that way, no need to get all nervous, jerky and defensive about it dearie.
Hint: If you were meant to eat an item with your fingers, the host would have provided a bib and finger bowl.
Dining is seldom about sating your hunger; it's about experiencing food and atmosphere. You don't have to eat every morsel.
No, R27... eating French fries with a fork is just ridiculously ludicrous. I've been in many fine dining establishments, and I've never seen anyone eat steak-fries or French fries with a fork. Because they'd look absolutely stupid doing so.
Yes, it is pretentious. No, that's not a low bar, just a statement of fact.
[quote]Hint: If you were meant to eat an item with your fingers, the host would have provided a bib and finger bowl.
Hit, you're an idiotic pretentious moron if you honestly think that.
If you're at a nice restaurant you do. not. eat. french fries with your fingers. I don't feel comfortable eating fried chicken with my hands at a nice restaurant. If it's just wings or small drum sticks, maybe. In the privacy of your home or at a fast food place it's ok.
Some people eat like animals, it is disgusting.
Becoming adept with a knife and fork is one of the first steps in human learning...gads, some of you would be embarrassing to dine with.
[quote]If you're at a nice restaurant you do. not. eat. french fries with your fingers.
You. Are. Full. Of. Shit.
[quote]I don't feel comfortable eating fried chicken with my hands at a nice restaurant.
Dear lord, you're a hot-house flower. Just don't fucking order it then. Dear god, what the hell is wrong with you?
[quote]Becoming adept with a knife and fork is one of the first steps in human learning...gads, some of you would be embarrassing to dine with.
Apparently you've never stepped outside of your little isolated elitist cultural bubble, I guess
Maybe "pretentious" isn't the right word here. Maybe a better phrase is "annoyingly prissy"?
[quote] I've been in many fine dining establishments,
no you haven't
r34 you sound like some pushy,obnoxious New Yorker, something many of the rest of us find the most disagreeable about you. You seem to have alot of growing up to do and that includes learning how to eat with a knife and fork apparently. If you want to eat your fries with your fingers, I guarantee I will not stop you--satisfied now? And by the same token I should think you would accord me the same courtesy if I choose to eat my fries, which I don't always do, with a fork. Learn a little forebearance, you'll live longer, not that that would be doing any of the rest of us a favor; the good die young they say......
Knowing how to use a knife and fork is elitist?
Sawing up fried chicken with a knife (as well as pork chop pieces nearer the bone) seems as ungainly as just eating the damned things with fingers!
I have seen lots of people eat fries, especially steak fries, with their fork! I'm coming tio the conclusion that fries/onion rings are a matter of how comfortable you feel eating with your fingers there.
Everything you eat at a restaurant should be eaten with a knife and fork except your waiter's cock.
Sometimes even the waiter's cock.
I always eat fried chicken with my hands, but I'd never order it at a nice restaurant - way too messy.
Fries are always eaten with hands unless there's ketchup, cheese curds, or something else on top that would make it messy. I've never seen anyone eat plain fries with a fork in my life, I'm shocked we're even having this discussion. I'm assuming it's just trolls (or one troll) trying to get a reaction out of people.
Good table manners are seen by the inhabitants of our trash culture as "elitist".
If fries are served a with food meant to be eaten with a fork, the fries are too.
[If you're at a nice restaurant you do. not. eat. french fries]
Because they don't serve them.
I don't run across too many waiters I'm all that interested in, and the one I am attracted to (where I'm a regular customer) I don't think would be interested in me.
I mentioned the tempura in the opening post as I find it's usually fairly bulky to eat that with chopsticks!
Meant to write:
"If fries are served with food meant to be eaten with a knife and fork, the fries are eaten with a fork too."
R46 Nice restaurants do not serve fried potatoes? Really?
r44, despite the odd and surprising "mountain out of molehill" upheaval about fries and how one should eat them, I do eat plain fries with a fork if they are served on my plate. Actually it is almost a matter of mood; I will maybe start with a fork then switch to fingers if the mood strikes me as far as fries go. Fries seem to be such an informal thing anyway that it hardly makes a difference as far as I'm concerned but apparently to some here it is as though you're breaking one of the Ten Commandments to eat them one way or another.
When I talk about a "nice restaurant" I mean one that has table cloths and silverware and cloth napkins on the tables, OK. Not Nathans or McDonalds or plastic knives and forks.
Oh, and when I eat lunch at my desk at work and order a hamburger and fries it comes with a plastic fork and knife. So even the local diner knows the need for a fork and knife.
R21, yes, eating pizza with a knife and fork IS a Canadian "thing." I live on the Canadian border (Northern NY) and see a ton of Canadian tourists, all eating pizza that way; also, I went to college in Canada, and around common rooms: fingers, but in restaurants: knife and fork. I never asked why; should have! Good question. I will say, as a generalization, Canadians are in many ways more polite than Americans; maybe this is part of it.
That was pretty much what I meant in starting this thread, R50.
It seems many of you are making the idea of "nice" as applied to restaurants an objective thing when it is subjective, nice to one may not be nice to another. Expensive and snooty does not necessarily mean "nice". Nice to me means that the food is good and the atmosphere relaxing and fun.
Californian, not a New Yorker
[quote] When I talk about a "nice restaurant" I mean one that has table cloths and silverware and cloth napkins on the tables, OK.
I just fell off my chair.
There's nothin' wrong with Big Daddy, why he ate like a P-I-G hog.
R51, is it possible it's more of a Quebec thing, or even a Montreal thing?
R53 -- "nice" in terms of my discussion here was intended to mean "not fast food." Captain Larry's Seafood Shak (sic) may have great food, and be jolly fun, but if you order at a counter, dining there isn't relevant here.
I'd like to see someone eat poutine with their fingers. On second thought....no I wouldn't.
My opinion: Fries with a burger - use your fingers. Fries with a steak - use a knife and fork.
OP is there a tablecloth and cloth napkins? Because that makes a difference. You could look around you and see what the other diners are doing.
If the food is a meat on the bone I eat what I can with a knife and fork and take home the rest. Actually I usually end up taking food home because most restaurants serve such large portions.
How about in Mittel Europa where they eat Big Macs with their hands, but one layer at a time.
Candy bar - eat with a fork. It's classy.
You eat French fries with your fingers?!! We're you raised in a barn?
In-N-Out always gives you a fork to eat Animal Fries. Take a hint.
R59 -- there are joints I patronize that could be considered middle range, but don't use tablecloths. I have been known to eat fries with my fingers at my parents' country club, though lunches are more informal there ... oh well.
This is why we can't have nice things. Greasy-fingered people decide on situational manners.
You're not matching clothing to an appropriate activity. You're using whatever manners you possess at ALL establishments.
R62 -- though I have not eaten at those establishments, my guess is that a fork is needed after a diner squirts the packet of ketchup all over them!
I eat a Snickers Bar on a plate with a knife and fork.
I would never put ketchup on a fry but I would eat them with my fingers. I would eat a lot of food with fingers save soup and salad.
[quote] I have been known to eat fries with my fingers at my parents' country club
Were you a child at the time? Or were you at the bar watching sport on television?
R62 here. Damn autocorrect changed "were" to "we're."
only the most vulgar flyover eats with their fingers when served at a restaurant.
Does McDonalds even have forks?
This is interesting. I'm from Europe and I eat almost everything with knife and fork. Including pizza and fries. Even in fast food restaurants you get that little plastic or wooden toothpick so you can eat your fries.
R70 New Yorker here since birth.
I totally eat with my hands whenever I get the opportunity.
I stand corrected. Only the most vulgar flyover and bridge and tunnel lowlife ...
My motto is that if I am paying for it, I should be able to eat it any effing way I want to!!!!!
R68 - no, my country club experiences are recent, and the place has no TV's playing sports to watch.
I was at a catering hall. Cake was served with a spoon. Baked items are always eaten with a fork.
Cake with a spoon = childrens' birthday parties
Do you Americans eat food with your fork in the right hand, or left hand?
If you use the right hand, do you feel slightly embarrassed if the person you are eating with uses the left?
Can you eat with the fork in the right hand and still be considered sophisticated?
American forks are used in the dominant hand, so most people use it in their right hand. If I noticed which hand, I'd figure that a person with a fork in the left hand ... was left-handed! I find your question a bit strange.
This thread reminds me of the time I took a long-time friend to lunch in a white table cloth, upscale restaurant and she began to push peas on her plate with her fingers (instead of using her fork or pushing with her knife like the Europeans do). She is a middle-aged middle-class woman (although her parents apparently were working class European immigrants). I had seen her do this before over the years and had never said anything, because we usually eat in casual ethnic type joints, but in the context of a "fancy" restaurant, I was actually shocked (as someone indoctrinated as a child in the worship of Emily Post would naturally be :-)). So of course, being a new agey type, bohemian type, she got her knickers in a twist--it seems I was the rude one for commenting on her lousy table manners.
So was I the rude bitch or was she? Inquiring minds....
Soup, no. Unless it has noodles.
The two different ways are here, OP.
Starting at 1:00.
I was wondering if all Americans eat the "American" way, or do some eat the "European way" thinking it is more sophisticated/correct?
I was brought up in what I believe is still the American method of eating meat: Hold fork in left hand, cut with right. Put knife down, switch fork to right hand and eat.
But I guess I've gradually evolved over to the European method of using the fork in the left hand to eat the meat after it's been cut. It's definitely faster and more efficient, but I don't know that that's necessarily a good thing.
I like using my left hand, pushing food with the knife onto the fork. I'm right handed, to write anyway, but I eat mostly with the left, it's easier.
I agree with all of R5 except the skewered foods.
Look around: what kind of restaurant is it? How are people dressed and eating? I could go either way on skewered foods - part of the fun is eating off the skewer.
Now the list would be more relaxed if eating these things at home - I could pick up tempura or asparagus with my hand, but not at even a casual restaurant would I do that. I've never eaten a chop by hand, even at home. If you're at home, though, go for it. Please be tidy if eating cobbed corn- follow previous advice to butter small sections at a time.
You eat off a skewer r89!?!
I eat with my fork in my right hand with the concave side up most of the time, as do most Americans; however, if I'm eating something that requires a knife to cut pieces, I find it easier to hold my fork in my left hand with the tines pointing down, European-style, and cut with the knife in my right hand, I probably pass the fork back and forth between my hands during a meal when I'm using a knife, but it doesn't seem awkward at all, really.(No, I don't change hands to put a cut piece of steak into my mouth. I stab it with the fork in my left hand and put it in my mouth with the upside-down fork, European-style.)
Not sanitary to eat with your hands. Even after washing up. I never do. I even eat sandwiches with a knife and fork.
Asparagus is to be eaten by hand, unless served with long stalks. Who's with me on this?
I always thought shifting the fork back and forth between hands for anything was awkward.
So, no one uses a spork?
They are both awkward. The shifting might be awkward for a few seconds, but how do the British eat things if they can't "shovel" with the fork in the right hand?
Sporks are for desperate outdoor situations.
The common way Americans eat is fork in dominant hand. Knife in dominant hand for cutting, and then either pierce cut piece with whatever hand is holding the fork, or switch back to fork-in-dominant. I never said that it was proper, just common.
Late 90s, a Yugoslavian exec told me in Europe, you always hold the fork with the right and knife with the left. No matter what. I found the idea uncomfortable as I'm right-dominant and cutting with my left doesn't feel right.
Is it permissible to lick your knife?
[quote]Is it permissible to lick your knife?
No, only your server.
Who are these people who suggest eating asparagus by hand? You're talking about cooked asparagus that's served on your plate of food, maybe with Hollandaise sauce over it? You want to pick up wet, cooked food with your fingers? That's disgusting!
R78 Always, No. Often, Yes.
It depends on where the pizza is served. If you are at a coffee bar or bakery and get a slice (often square) it is served on a square of paper and you use the paper to lift and eat.
In a restaurant you often get a small pie, uncut as is the European norm and you then use your knife and fork for the most part.
Diners with the most to learn, etiquette-wise, will eventually become strict arbiters of the proper way to behave at table. Do not put up with this.
Eat your soup with salad fork. Diss he place settings. Toss your veggies on the dog. Just for fun.
r100, steamed asparagus is eaten by hand.
Why would you do that, r103? Why is a knife and fork difficult here?
Can a whole, steamed artichoke be eaten with a knife and fork?
The point of artichokes is to tear off a leaf, dip the bottom of it in hollandaise (or in my case, mayo), and scrape out the "meat" between your teeth. When the leaves are all consumed, you can then scoop the gunk out of the bottom, cut the cleaned portion into pieces, and eat those with your fork!
I have never encountered a spork (runcible spoon) except at KFC.
R100 There are a few foods that are considered ok to eat with your hands. Asparagus is one of them.
I insist on eating cum with a spoon. Much classier that way.
Not the WHOLE pork chop, but the parts nearer the bone that are difficult to remove with a knife! Geez ...
Completely unacceptable, r110.
Rimming should only be done with the proper utensils.
r101, don't Itaians also eat pizza by sort of folding it over into a kind of sandwich and eating it that way or have I been watching too many Sophia Loren movies? Anyway, I have a nagging question that I asked on DL before and got a few tepid answers, so I will ask it again here since this seems to be a more lively thread and that is, if you are serving both soup and salad in a meal, which is served first? My guess would be salad as soup can be regarded as an entree, depending on what kind of soup it is I suppose. Or are salads and soups not normally served in the same meal? BTW, OP, artichoke leaves dipped in melted butter are good too but I don't think I've ever had them with mayo.
Also--almost forgot, if one does not have a soup tureen, is is proper to serve it from the pot on the table? I know that sounds sort of like hog slopping time at Ma and Pa Kettle's place but thought I put it out there to see if indeed it is "within the bounds of etiquette". Re the American vs European way of holding the fork, I find it easier to cut and eat meat, whatever it is, even fried chicken sometimes, the European way--fork in left hand tines down at all times and knife in right hand. The British way of piling little quantities of food alongside the meat on the fork is OK too I think. My neice was pathetic as a kid as my brother nor sister-in-law never taught her how to cut and eat meat properly--she would stab a huge piece of meat with her fork and try to eat it by biting off pieces from the large piece on her fork, almost like an ice cream sucker, stupid bitch, I wonder if anybody showed her a more civilized way.
Welcome to the thread R113.
That gnawing off pieces does sound rather extreme, though I just now defended doing so with the tail end of pork chops - ha ha!
Serve the soup and salad at the same time, as they do in restaurants when you order it as a combo. Last time I had it, the joint presentation appealed to the A.D.D. in me.
The pot on the table does sound a bit ... informal, shall we say. Perhaps there's a tureen(like) dish at your local thrift store?
R113, I was going to say everything R114 said. He beat me to it. The only thing I'd add is if the soup really is the main dish, maybe do salad first before bringing your tureen and baguette to the table. Don't forget Freecycle as a great source for your tureen or deep soup bowl.
But, the stupid bitch in your family is not your niece. The stupid bitches are the parents who have forever embarrassed her by neglecting their duty to teach her basic skills she can take with her wherever she goes.
I work with kids some, and I'm amazed at what parents allow. Like sitting haphazardly on you seat (leaning out, ready to flee), or at a ridiculous distance from the table / bowl. And they wonder why the clothes, table and floor are covered with food droppings. You sit facing forward, right next to your bowl/plate, which is right next to your body. You lean over your dish when taking bites (at least if you're a young child), so if anything spills, it goes back in the bowl and not all over everything.