A bowlful of luscious fresh fruits has long been one of the most classic desserts. In spite of that, today, many people wonder just how natural or informal they should be when confronted with a fruit bowl from which to select their choice of these tempting viands. Here are some tips that should prove helpful. The hostess will serve a small dessert plate and either a fruit knife or fork, however, since many people do not own fruit knives, don’t rule out the fruit bowl, simply use regular knives (steak knives are excellent if available).
Books of etiquette agree on these rules for eating fresh fruit at the dinner table:
- Pears and Apples: Quarter the fruit, then peel each quarter and remove the core. Eat the quarters while holding them with the fingers, or pick up with a fruit fork. Some pears may be very juicy. In that case it’s much easier to eat them with a fork.
- Bananas: Peel the banana, and here again, either fingers or forks may be used, breaking off and eating a bite-sized piece.
- Kumquats: Make two or three bites of it, depending on size. If there are pits, transfer them from the tip of the tongue to your cupped hand as easily and gracefully as possible, then place on the side of the fruit plate.
- Grapes: Unless grape scissors accompany the fruit bowl, the hostess should cut the grapes apart into clusters of about a dozen berries each —approximately a nice little bunch. Even though they look so tempting, grapes shouldn’t be pinched off the main bunch, one by one, while it still rests in the fruit bowl. As with kumquat seeds, grape seeds should be “herded” to the tip of the tongue and transferred as casually as possible to the cupped hand and from there to the side of the fruit plate. Grape skins, if not desired, should be disposed of in the same way.
- Grapefruit: No guest can be expected to remove a grapefruit from the fruit bowl and deal with it right at the table. Grapefruit should be halved in the kitchen and sections cut free. Seeds or pulpy centers should also be removed. A spoon, preferably with a pointed tip, should be served with the halved fruit. No matter how delicious and nutritious that last bit of juice, etiquette frowns on retrieving it by squeezing the rind! Seems a shame.
- Oranges: The loose-skinned oranges, tangerines, etc. can be peeled with little effort, then pulled apart into sections and eaten segment by segment. Oranges with tight skins require a fairly sharp knife. Then can be peeled spirally, round and round, or easier, cut just through the skin as though to quarter the orange, then strip away each section of skin. In other words, do relax and enjoy fresh fruits.
- Smart homemakers serve a fresh fruit bowl often. Not only is this an easily prepared dessert, but it is a most refreshing and healthful one. A fresh fruit bowl is a more reliable source of vitamins and minerals than pills. The American Medical Association advocates obtaining nutrients from foods, not drugs, except as a physician may prescribe supplements in specific cases.
- Fresh fruits are low in calories. The overweight can consume carbohydrates in the form of bulky fresh fruits and vegetables. This is one means of lowering the total calorie intake and yet eating a satisfying amount.
- Most fresh fruits are picked when juicy-ripe. Pears and bananas are exceptions. These fruits never ripen satfactorily on the parent plant. Bananas are picked when mature but green; pears when sufficient carbohydrate has formed, but the fruit is still firm. Time at room temperature may be needed to mellow these two fruits. After that they should be stored in the refrigerator. – Madera Tribune, 1966
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia