Sunday, January 21, 2018

Tea Etiquette and the Pinky Debate


Not only did Disney have it wrong on the pinky finger sticking out, but Alice having her elbows on the table, is certainly considered rude.
“Disney has it wrong I’m afraid; the extended pinky is a big no-no. The correct way to hold the teacup is to lightly grip the handle between your thumb and fingers but not clutch your fingers around the handle. Sticking your little finger out into the air whilst drinking tea in England will likely get you some strange looks and weak smiles but they won’t get you invited to the palace for afternoon tea, so please keep them tucked in nice and tight. Some people say that the “pinkies out” affectation dates back to the eleventh century when it was considered cultured to eat with three fingers and common to eat with five. Another explanation is that the earlier styled tea cups had no handles and therefore the little finger was extended to provide balance.” – Rachel North

Old Chinese tea cups In Great Britain. 

Many disagree on the whole pinky finger debate, but most anthropologists believe the lower classes watched the upper classes on how to hold their cups, and believe that heat had nothing to do with how people held their handless cups of tea. “After all, the tea and cups came from China and the Chinese held their handleless cups in a manner without fingers extended.” – Maura Graber 

And prior to small salt spoons being used, other ways of salting one's food or adding spices were devised. "Pinky fingers were extended while eating, and kept away from the greasy foods so that they could be used for dipping into expensive spices." –Bernadette Petrotta, The Art of Social Graces



Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia