B1 Intermediate UK 1872 Folder Collection
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[The world was my oyster, but I used the wrong fork: Oscar Wilde]
Bon appétit.
Bismillah.
Buen provecho.
We say, itadakimasu.
We don't really have a word.
Where do table manners come from?
And what do they say about us?
I always see it as, there's no point presenting yourself well with what you wear, if you can't have proper table manners.
It's kind of like, wearing a nice suit but not having good hygiene.
What are your biggest gripes?
I really, really hate it when people blow their nose at the table.
Licking the knife.
Don't eat too quickly, don't have big bites.
Elbows on the table.
The elbow on the table.
Elbows, elbows, elbows, elbows, elbows on the table.
Maybe they made a mess?
Maybe we were putting dirty elbows on a clean table?
In medieval times, when tables were simply boards balanced over trestles, it avoided tipping the long table and gave room to your neighbour.
In times when the table cloth was the napkin, it was best to keep your elbows raised.
It makes me feel more powerful in the conversation, if I have my elbows on the table.
The importance of manners rocketed during the Renaissance as a way of implying civility, sophistication and status.
Even the simplest of foods developed complicated rules.
Do it like this...
From... I don't know how to describe that.
I believe the correct way to use the soup spoon, is to hold it in your right hand and to take the soup away from you and then to sip from the soup spoon.
And we never blow the food, because if you do it, everything can be spread and pfft, everywhere.
I just don't eat soup... I just don't.
I tend to dislike when people make noise while eating.
You are allowed to make noise, especially when you eat ramen.
Especially when it comes to soups.
It's not nice, innit (isn't it)?
It looks tastier somehow.
Around the world, we use all sorts of different tools, including our hands, to eat.
In France, in 1699, pointed knives were banned at the table because there was a very real risk of stabbings.
That's where we get the fork and blunt knives we tend to use today.
In parts of Asia, all this was avoided by the use of chopsticks, which in China have been used for over 3,000 years.
Using chopsticks keeps you fit, involving over 30 joints and 50 muscles.
But they come with their own social rules.
You're not allowed to stab your chopsticks vertically because this kind of like, replicates when you're like, at a funeral, trying to pay respect for someone, they normally like, put incense into soil and stuff so that's the whole idea of it.
This is a fish knife, never used one of these.
We rarely, rarely see these, these days, mainly because the fish we get now is filleted, where we used to get it on the bone and I think the use of the fish knife was to clear the fish from the bones.
Knife and fork is wonderful but it's as if you're feeding someone else.
You are not in touch with your food.
Even aristocrats eat chicken with their hands so, do the same thing and finish the bone.
I believe the food tastes better because you get to lick your fingers, don't you?
If it's not nice, you wouldn't lick your fingers would you?
The rules are endless, but do they really matter?
Food time is enjoyment time.
If you can enjoy and you don't hurt somebody, if you can enjoy and you don't disrespect somebody, then why are you putting rules?
It's definitely a way for people in the upper class or in the middle class to feel superior to people that just want to eat with their fork.
The basis of manners is respect.
Respect for the food, respect for the cook, respect for your fellow guests.
Food is not just for survival, it's not just so that you can carry on, it's a social thing.
Food really is the glue that sticks friends together and family and relatives.
It has to be enjoyed, it has to be fun, it has to be with people.
So maybe we should forget the rules and let dinner just be fun.
As long as you don't lick your chopsticks, blow your nose, catch your salad leaves, speak with your mouth full, dunk your bread, pour your own wine, pass to the left...
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What do your table manners say about you? | BBC Ideas

1872 Folder Collection
Seraya published on May 20, 2020    Seraya translated    adam reviewed
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