There were a lot of rules in my home growing up. Many had to do with table manners: no elbows on the table; sit up straight; eat everything on your plate; no slurping; etc. But the one that stands out to this day is eating everything with a utensil. Everything!
Bacon, fried chicken, pizza, watermelon, olives, everything!
Ok, obviously there were some exceptions like hot dogs and hamburgers and the like but bacon, fried chicken and watermelon are very clear in my mind as being eaten with a fork.
When a child, it was all I knew and there were no fast food joints then. Eating out was maybe once a month and then it was with fine china and cloth napkins. As I got older, however, I began to realize I may be in the minority.
Going on picnics, for example, was a bit of a challenge because fried chicken was often served. I honestly didn’t know how to eat it without knife and fork. It was awkward, to say the least. I assumed I was correct and my friends weren’t taught well.
It came to a head once when we were visiting my grandparents. Eggs and bacon were served. We kids naturally began cutting the bacon with knife and fork (which is not always easy) and eating “properly” with said fork. Well, my grandfather couldn’t stand it and told us to “pick it up, for heaven’s sake!” My mother was livid and we never challenged her.
I think junior high school was the turning point for me. After attending a small Christian School through elementary school, I entered a large public junior high school, with lockers and a cafeteria and school buses! It was a whole new world. One day, when I was allowed to buy my lunch, pizza was served. And no utensils. I was stumped! Obviously I observed and did likewise but it just didn’t seem right. Eventually I succumbed and bought into the culture – at school anyway.
Now, about a hundred years later, I’m totally on board with the fingerish food thing. Even my mother has relented a bit. Although still using knife and fork for bacon, she loves ribs! Eating with her fingers! Me? I think they’re too much work with a knife and fork and just way too messy as finger food. Maybe in my next life. . .