Finger Licking Disgusting
Every once in awhile we all seem to need a refresher course in social graces. I blame the ever increasingly casual world we live in. I remember when people used to dress up before getting on an airplane and when we spoke to each other in full sentences. Now flip flops aren’t just for the beach and I will c u ltr. But a casual world also leads to laziness. And when laziness sidles up to the dinner table it translates to downright boorishness.
Last week I caught my reflection in the kitchen window as I shoveled a heaping forkful of something-I- couldn’t-resist into my trap. Thank god I was alone because it wasn’t pretty. That’s the thing about eating; unless you’re Nigella Lawson it can be an unpleasant event to watch someone else do. So no matter how delicious your meal, if you’re not alone please resist the urge to commit the following top 5 table crimes and misdemeanours:
Finger licking - Use your napkin or a finger bowl or go wash your hands. There are a few occasions when eating with your hands is acceptable, like a sandwich, popcorn and french fries (or when you go to Ethiopia). In these cases you may be able to get away with a single digit lick, but beyond that is extremely unsightly and grating to listen to. And using your finger to mop up leftovers? Seriously? It’s akin to nose picking.
Talking with your mouth full – Please swallow before making your next point, because no one wants to see the chewed up remnants of your last bite. If the building’s burning and you really need to talk and you’re not sure if your mouth is clear, use your hand or your napkin as a mouth shield. And take advantage of the water on the table to clear food from your teeth and gums. Talking with a full mouth is common where bar snacks are served so keep that in mind before reaching for the peanuts.
Taking over-sized bites – Even if your mouth is closed, if it’s stuffed and bulging it’s almost as bad as talking with your mouth full. If you find yourself in this situation (it happens to me when I order a sushi cone) use your hand or napkin shield as per above. Taking smaller bites prevents having to stretch your mouth to unsightly dimensions then struggling to get it down. And smaller forkfuls help you know sooner that you’re full thereby avoiding overeating.
Loud eating – Some people are chronic loud eaters. I don’t know if it’s a high amount of saliva or the formation of their lips and gums or just being really excited about what’s on the menu, but it seems to happen to some people all the time. If you know one of them, please tell them.
Utensil licking - This occurs when diners are trying to scrape every last morsel off the plate; when they want to lick the plate but know they shouldn’t. So they lick the knife, back of the fork or spoon instead. Utensils are for cutting and picking up. That fork is not a popsicle and If you need more food, ask for another serving.
If you have to sit at a table with people who break these rules, the upside is that it means they’re really enjoying themselves. And if you’re unsure of your own eating habits, I would suggest having your next solo meal in front of a mirror. Or recording yourself as you inhale that burrito. Would you want to sit across from you?
Have I left anything off the list? What bad table manners make you crazy?