Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Simplest Are Most Widely Used

Historians believe the use of chopsticks began because of the way Chinese food is prepared. Generally meats and vegetables are cut into small pieces before being served which eliminates the need for a knife at the dinner table. Usually about eight inches long, chopsticks are normally made of wood or bamboo, although modern ones may be made of plastic. More elaborate pairs are made of enameled wood, ivory or bone, and have even been known to be made out of gold, brass and silver.



Chopsticks Came First
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
K’uai-tzu are the most widely used eating utensils in world

To those unfamiliar with Oriental terms, k'uai-tzu might sound like the name of a new martial art or next season's replacement for television’s, “Kung Fu.” But it is actually the name of the second most popular eating utensil in the United States, and by a wide margin, the most widely used eating utensil in the world. K'uai-tzu (pronounced kwi-zu), or chopsticks, were used in China in the fourth century 8.C., long before Europeans stopped eating with their hands. “Today, chopsticks remain the most popular eating utensil in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other East Asian countries influenced by Chinese culture,” says Chun King consultant Ms. Anne Byrd. “Here in the United Stales, they rank behind the knife and fork in eating utensil popularity.” 

Historians believe the use of chopsticks began because of the way Chinese food is prepared. Generally meats and vegetables are cut into small pieces before being served which eliminates the need for a knife at the dinner table. Usually about eight inches long, chopsticks are normally made of wood or bamboo, although modern ones may be made of plastic. More elaborate pairs are made of enameled wood, ivory or bone, and have even been known to be made out of gold, brass and silver. “Through centuries of use, chopsticks have also been associated with many superstitions or practices,” Ms. Byrd points out.

Chopsticks have been used as gift items between friends sometimes decorated with inscribed poetry or painted with good luck designs. A gift of chopsticks to newlyweds suggests a wish that the couple will quickly have children. “Also, it is still common for a pair of chopsticks to be placed upright in the bowl of rice offered at a memorial service for the dead,” adds Ms. Byrd. “The chopsticks thus mark the sacredness of the offered rice, and also are a sign to prevent the coming of evil spirits to disturb the peace of the dead.” 

The word “chop” is derived from k'uai, which means “quick” or “speedy,” but many people experience just the opposite when they use them. But mastering the Oriental art of chopsticks is not difficult, as some believe. All it takes is practice. Beginners can learn to best maneuver chopsticks by starting with frozen egg rolls, heated crisp and savory. After a little practice, separate items such as chow mein noddles or Oriental dinners can be tried. – Desert Sun, 1979


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

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Social Etiquette and Masked Messaging

Wearing face masks has become de rigueur Covid-19 etiquette for many around the world. They are being worn for one’s piece of mind, safety and health. But as Gabriella Kanyok explains, they can damage an important part of human communication. — This piece of textile covers half of our face, taking away what we have developed over centuries, our visual cues, which are part of our everyday interactions. By wearing a mask, our communication tool-kit is partially dwindled away. The movement of our lips, our facial expressions remain hidden. Our face as a whole is the gateway, which shows the reality of our feelings and mood, and is the focal point. With a global effort to defeat Covid-19, we have currently lost part of this focal point of that kind of communication, which only increases the distance between us, and slows down communication. These times, I would say, the mask protects us and alienates us at the same time.



Smile and the world smiles with you. Unless you’re wearing a mask, because then no one in the world can see you smiling, so they don’t smile with you, or if they do, you will never know it for sure. We don’t realize how many times we wear a smile a day: when we greet someone, when we express appreciation, when we like something, when we're embarrassed etc... Smiling is particularly important in the human gesture system. A smiling person makes a very positive impression and is extremely attractive. On the other hand, there are many different types of smiles, which are particularly important while interacting with each other.

Nowadays, we wear more often protective masks than our smile. This piece of textile covers half of our face, taking away what we have developed over centuries, our visual cues, which our part of our everyday interactions. By wearing a mask, our communication tool-kit is partially dwindled away. The movement of our lips, our facial expressions remain hidden.

Have you thought about that yet? Yet non-verbal cues play a central role in shaping our relationships, and right now, when we talk to someone, we don’t know how the other person feels, we can’t read his face, we don’t know what his intentions are. The eye is a mirror of the soul… but our eyes alone are not sufficient for the purpose. The movement of our eyebrows carries so many different meanings (confused, angry, surprised etc...), and shouldn’t be taken for granted. 

Our face as a whole is the gateway, which shows the reality of our feelings and mood, and is the focal point. We have currently lost part of this focal point of that kind of communication, which only increases the distance between us, and slows down communication. These times, I would say, the mask protects us and alienates us at the same time.

Furthermore, communication, and human to human interactions are not just transactional exchanges. The aim is to build relationships, and connect with each other, which is challenging these days. If the situation remains for months, then perhaps we need new, socially distanced non-verbal cues, otherwise how could we bring the message across? Will this be the new normal?

We don’t know it yet, but what we surely know is that currently we cannot rely on the non-verbal cues. What we could do is to clarify, and make sure that our messages are going across. 


Gabriella Kanyok is a diplomatic protocol, etiquette and communication expert with more than 10 years' experience in working with EU institutes, NGOs, internaionalorganisations, and supporting professionals. She not only advises and trains government- and EU officials, and businessmen in the field of diplomatic protocol and business etiquette, but she leads the communication department of an international organisation. Gabriella holds a Master’s degree in International Studies, and a Master’s in Protocol, Diplomacy and Cross Cultural Relations. She speaks Hungarian, English and French, and is currently learning Mandarin Chinese.


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

Monday, May 25, 2020

How Forks Replaced Knives

The fork was originally, and up to very modern times, used only to hold meat and other pieces of food, while the knife was cutting them. The putting of it into the mouth instead of the knife was only an afterthought, due probably to the unclean appearance of the knife blade after it had been used to shovel into the mouth, gravies, egg yolks, acids, etc... – Photo by site editor Maura J. Graber

Questioning the Fork: 
The Origins of This Very Useful Article and Why it Replaced Eating From Knives


One of those heterodox fellows, who may be found to question everything, asks upon what  sound principle is the law founded that forbids the putting of the knife into the mouth in eating. Why should a plate of steel, he asks, be interdicted from an office that the same steel, bifurcated, trifurcated or quadrafurcated, may properly perform? There is no objection to be made on the score of cutting one’s mouth, for in all ages of the past, when everybody ate with the knife, nobody ever cut his mouth. This heretic asserts that a certain consistency of food can be ‘‘hoisted,” as a western man would say, much more readily by a knife than by a fork. Of course, you can get the bulk of a mashed potato
 or turnip by dexterously fishing with a fork, but you can do it much neater and in better time with a knife, he continues; and thru the knife will secure all the gravy, which is mostly sifted out by the operation of the fork, and one thus loses the richest part of the meal. 

It is a matter of history that knives played an important part in domestic life long before forks were invented, and that when first the latter implements appeared, it was considered a mark of effeminacy or ultra refinement to use them. To such a degree was this prejudice against them indulged in France, that in the Sixteenth century the use of forks was considered sinful in monasteries, and the monks split up into two parties on the question. Forks originally came into use to save the fingers from soiling, and Italy was the first place where they were used. Ben Jonson writes of “the laudable use of forks brought into custom here as they are in Italy, to the sparing of napkins.” Some time later, a writer praises the King of Hungary for eating without a fork without soiling his clothes. An old writer explains why the Italian used the fork by saying that he could not “endure to have his dish touched with his fingers, seeing that all men's fingers are not clean alike.” 

But the fork was originally, and up to very modern times, used only to hold meat and other pieces of food, while the knife was cutting them. The putting of it into the mouth instead of the knife was only an afterthought, due probably to the unclean appearance of the knife blade after it had been used to shovel into the mouth, gravies, egg yolks, acids, etc... For this reason, silver forks were made; they are cleaner than iron and steel forks. Every step, then, from the original use of the fork as a substitute for the fingers, to its more extended use a substitute for the knife, together with the employment of silver in place of iron, has been dictated by cleanliness. —Good Housekeeping, 1880

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

Well Bred Table Etiquette of 1901

Do not leave your spoon in your tea cup. Do not sip your tea or coffee with a spoon. Do not drain the cup.

Table Etiquette: 
How to Eat According to the Rules of Good Breeding

  • Do not leave your spoon in your tea cup. 
  • Crack the top off your egg instead of peeling it. 
  • If you have bacon or fish, have a separate plate for your bread or toast and butter, but not when only having boiled eggs, which require very careful eating, by the by, as nothing looks so nasty as yolk of egg spilled all over the plate and egg cup. 
  • Do not sip your tea or coffee with a spoon. Do not drain the cup. 
  • For fish do not use a dessert knife instead of the fish knife. If there be no fish knife, use a small crust of your bread, but leave that piece of crust on your plate. Do not eat it afterward, as so many people do. 
  • Do not be dainty and fringe your plate with bits of meat. Eat what you can and put any skin or bone on the edge of your plate in one little heap, which moves down from the edge when you have finished. 
  • Do not crumple up your table napkin. If you are only a guest for the day, do not fold it up, but if you are staying on and in a quiet household, fold it up. If you are staying in a big house where everything is done “en grand prince,” do not fold it up. Just place it on the table when you leave, as in rich establishments, there are clean table napkins every day. 
  • After eating it is well before you drink to wipe your lips, otherwise you leave a smeary mark on the glass. 
  • Do not gulp liquids and bolt food. 
  • Do not masticate or swallow audibly. 
  • Do not pile your plate with food or grasp your knife, fork or spoon as if it were a weapon of warfare. 
  • Do not crumble the bread by your side or drain your glass to the last drop. 
  • On the other hand, do not be affected and eat as if an appetite were a crime, drink as if you were a dicky bird, and hold your knife, fork and spoon as if they were red-hot needles. – Hanford Journal, 1901



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

Edwardian Brits’ Etiquette Supremacy?

With the Continental eater, the knife enters into conversation. It is retained in the gesticulating hand, it is raised imploringly to the celling, and — heaven!— it is brought into strange circles of argument. It is used to point the conclusion at the very breast of the fellow diner. When you see a man waving his knife at table, you may be sure he is an alien. “We wear no swords here,” as Sir Lucius O'Trigger says, nor do we argue with knives at table. – London Chronicle, 1907


Good Table Manners are the Art in Which the English Claim to Be Supreme
————————
They Sneer at Other Nations Germany, France and America, Say the Britons, Cannot Compare With Them in Good Form at Meals — Use of the Knife, Fork, Spoon and Napkin

Let it be admitted that our army is a failure, has never won a victory and never will; admitted that our navy would have difficulty in sweeping six combined great powers off the sea; admitted that we cannot act up to the French standard or trade up to the German or hustle up to the American or cheat up to the Greek. But we cherish our little pride and prejudice. The Englishman regards himself and is generally regarded as the best dressed man in the world. He also plumes himself on having the best table manners. To the Frenchman may be conceded the supremacy in the preparation of food, while the production of it owing to the decay of our agriculture, may be left to such outlying places as Siberia and Chicago.

But when it comes to the eating of food the Englishman asserts his supremacy, for if the highest art be to conceal art the highest etiquette of eating should be the triumphant pretense that one is not eating at all. And here the Englishman wins. He can eat his way through a seven course meal quite unobtrusively. It was not always so.

Lord Chesterfield, as I have been reminded by Mr. Philip Wellby's edition of the “Advice to His Son,” sketches the awkward man who “holds his knife, fork and spoon differently from other people, eats with his knife to the great danger of his mouth, picks his teeth with his fork and puts his spoon, which has been in his throat twenty times, into the dishes again. If he is to carve, he never hits the joint, but in his vain efforts to cut through the bone scatters the sauce in everybody's face. He generally daubs himself with soup and grease, though his napkin is commonly stuck through a buttonhole.”

That napkin is a test of table manners, and the nice conduct of the napkin caught the attention recently of the German Emperor, who saw one of his guests tucking the napkin under a chin. “Do you want to be shaved?” was the Imperial question. England's supremacy— in the matter of soup— lies in the spoon. An Englishman is taught to take soup from the side of the spoon. And he is the only man on earth who emerges from soup with the white shirt front of a blameless dinner and without the aid of a tucked napkin. He lays the napkin across his knees and uses it when necessary without ostentation.

That discreet conduct of the knife is the Englishman's pride and prejudice at table. There is no nation which (in its upper middle classes) reaches the English standard of the nice conduct of the knife, though we are assured that in the highest circles— among ameers, shahs, sultans, dukes and millionaires—there is a beautiful uniformity of deportment. Our insular instinct is to make the knife as inconspicuous as possible, for there is some suggestion of brutality in the slicing of bits of corpses that are doomed to keep our rile bodies alive.

No such feeling restrains the German eater, and the French diner is scarcely less sensitive. The German who feeds in the average restaurant will shovel his food into his mouth with the blade of his knife and when in a difficulty, will cram it down with the handle, nor has he the least scruple about depositing the rejected residue upon the floor. Moreover, with the Continental eater, the knife enters into conversation. It is retained in the gesticulating hand, it is raised imploringly to the celling, and — heaven!— it is brought into strange circles of argument. It is used to point the conclusion at the very breast of the fellow diner.

When you see a man waving his knife at table, you may be sure he is an alien. “We wear no swords here,” as Sir Lucius O'Trigger says, nor do we argue with knives at table.

The English knife, with all its blood thirsty suggestions, is reduced to the lowest and least obtrusive office. It is not even dug into the salt cellar, for England has reached the delicacy of salt spoons, and only in a Soho restaurant will she give you the real savor of the continent by providing salt cellars without spoons. You shove your knife into the salt and dream of Paris, Bohemia, the gypsy life in which “you dip your fingers in the pot.”

England has suppressed the knife at table. The Englishman does not use it for argument or menace or persuasion or even for the taking of salt. His table manners enjoin that the knife shall never be raised. The properly conducted knife at table never reaches forty-five degrees above the horizontal.

Unfortunately the American goes a little too far in the desire to avoid the obtrusive use of the knife and takes refuge In obtrusive concealment. Many Americans will slice their meat with the knife, lay the knife by the sitle of the plate and put the pieces into the mouth with the fork held in the right hand. Now, this is injustice to the knife, which has its modest function.— London Chronicle, 1907


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

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Right Table Etiquette

“All sorts of small relishes, like radishes, olives, salted nuts and bon-bons, are eaten from the fingers, but this must be done very daintily.” 


Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time 
is the Giveaway

“A man by nothing is so well betrayed as by his manners.”— Spenser 

THERE are many persons who feel that a man’s table manners are an index to his general good breeding. If he handles his knife and fork in the way that is accepted as “correct” they will put him down as well bred until they have very conclusive evidence that he is not; but if he shows ignorance of, or indifference to, this accepted method then it will take much to make them believe that he has any claim to good breeding. This may be unfair, but it is true. 

Here are some of the things that convention requires us to remember in our manners at the table: 
  • The salad is cut with the side of the fork and then eaten from the side of the fork. 
  • Fish, soft entrees and, in fact, anything that does not absolutely demand the use of a knife, are separated into small pieces by the use of the fork, which is most excellent, as the knife at its best is a most ungainly utensil. 
  • That you should never mash your food with your fork and never sit with your fork or knife upraised, like a telegraph pole. 
  • That when not in use, either knife or fork must be laid on the plate at one side. 
  • Never tilt your fork and knife on the sides of your plate, that is, with the handle on the tablecloth on either side and the tips on the edge of the plate. 
  • That every time a course is removed you should lay the knife, fork or spoon used in eating it on the side of the plate. 
  • Do not cross knife and fork on the plate, but lay them side by side. 
  • In eating soup, custard, fruit, or any dish which demands a spoon, be sure you sip the food noiselessly from the side of the spoon, never from the tip. 
  • Never dip your individual fork or spoon into a dish that is passed to you, but always employ the fork or spoon which will be found on the tray beside the dish, or on the dish itself. 
  • All sorts of small relishes, like radishes, olives, salted nuts and bon-bons, are eaten from the fingers, but this must be done very daintily. — By Mary Marshall Duffee, 1921


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

Table Knife Etiquette

We have all seen humorous pictures of the uncouth man who sits waiting for his plate with his knife in his right hand and his fork in his left, points upwards. See that you don't let yourself look so ridiculous. 



The Right Thing at the Right Time with the Knife

“Since trifles make the sum of human things.” —Hannah More



DON’T hold your knife at table as if you contemplated cutting your way through a barbed wire entanglement with it. Take it no further down toward the blade than is necessary to hold it securely. In fact, it is a mistake to let your fingers rest anywhere but on the handle, save that the index finger may be placed on the edge of the dull side. When you have finished with a course in which a knife is used, place the knife across the side of the plate with the sharp side of the blade toward the center. 

If you are dining with your family and send your plate to the carver for a second helping, the knife and fork should be placed in this way, not removed and laid on the butter plate, much less held in mid-air. Never hold the knife in the hand, save when using it. Some persons, you know, forget that they have it in their hand and raise it in an awkward fashion with the point of the blade ceiling-ward. We have all seen humorous pictures of the uncouth man who sits waiting for his plate with his knife in his right hand and his fork in his left, points upwards. See that you don't let yourself look so ridiculous. 

Never use a knife in eating salad. Do not use a steel knife in eating fish. Some persons would say, never use any knives at all with fish, but it is quite all right to use a silver knife and small silver knives are especially designed for the fish course. In the ordinary household where fish is served as a substitute for the meat course, it is served with the usual knife and fork, but this knife should not be of steel. Do not use a knife when eating desserts, although in some provincial hotels, the waiter will give you a knife and fork with pie. A small knife may be served and used with cheese. When this is done, cut off a bit of cheese and place it by means of the knife on the wafer with which it is served and then convey the wafer to your month by means of the left hand. 

Never, never use your knife as an implement with which to assist food on your fork or to scout about your plate the last morsels. In fact, the knife should not be used at all for potatoes or other vegetables, these being broken entirely by means of the fork. If no butter knives are used, it is quite all right to use the dinner knife for buttering bread. Remember, however, never to spread more than a small morsel at a time, and never wipe off gravy or other food on a slice of bread by way of polishing your knife before using it on the butter. — By Mary Marshall Duffee, 1922


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