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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Food Manners

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Mind your Manners

"The country in Europe that first adopted the fork was Italy because if you think of long strands of spaghetti-like noodles, the prong is a perfect tool with which to eat them. When travellers came from England to Italy they found this profoundly odd and there was a man called Thomas Coryat in Elizabethan times who went to Italy and came back and reported on this and said that he would like to use a fork himself. And his friends made fun of him and called him Furcifer. There was something about fork eating that was, it was repeatedly seen as unmanly or effeminate in some way...

In Europe people carried around their own personal knife. You kept it in a pocket, you got it out when it was time to eat. But people increasingly saw that knives were also objects of potential violence. So the invention of the table knife which was something that was ostentatiously blunt. It's as if to say: don't worry, I'm not going to do you any harm. Deliberately pathetic. The table knife is a really strange passive-aggressive invention which on purpose does a worse job of cutting food. Once you have a table knife you need something to impale the food and put it up against the knife just to enable you to get any purchase on it. The fork in the West is an accessory to the table knife. The fork now has become completely democratic. A disposable fork is probably the single most universal implement the world over...

It is not exactly the appropriate apparatus to enjoy the Indian meal. If you are using a thin watery soup like rasam [sp?] with your rice in South India, eating it with a spoon will make you feel like a baby. So I would much rather enjoy that meal with my fingers... I don't feel that my stomach is full if I eat with spoon. If I eat with hand my stomach is full...

'I've lived in Asia for a long time and I notice there that people belch quite happily after a meal. And that there's no stigma attached to it'

'Is it good for you to belch after a meal?'...

'The Romans and Ancient Greeks thought it was very polite to belch and vomit after you've eaten. The fuller we are, the more pressure it puts on the stomach. From an actual digestive viewpoint that probably then leads to the feeling of indigestion, so certainly belching is one way of doing it'...

The average American eats 1 in every 5 meals in their car and the majority of American families report eating together less than 5 days a week...

The most interesting statistic to me is that in the Western world, the sale of dining tables has really declined...

It's been said that while on the European Continent people have good food, in England, people have good table manners"
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