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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Regional Topics / Continental vs American Table Manners
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    Continental vs American Table Manners

    GlamAtomic
    Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:39 pm
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    Hello Foodies!

    I have an interesting question to pose to you all- and some of you may have been in the same boat at some point so may be able to shed some light.

    I am Australian/British and was subsequently raised with 'continental' table manners and etiquette. My mother even sent me to a 3 month Summer School when I was 15 to learn deportment, etiquette, and various other old fashioned minutia.

    Obviously though, my husband is American and on his predeployment leave his parents posed an interesting question over dinner one night; when we have children, will I insist on them learning my type of continental table manners? Or will I allow them to get away with American habits?

    The subject again arose when my husband and I were chatting on IM today (only one more month until he returns from Afghanistan!) in relation to a Yahoo News article about what table manners still apply in modern day.

    I am admittedly a little neurotic (as is my own mother) when it comes to table etiquette although respect the fact that Americans do some things differently.

    The main thing for me is though... when I eat a meal, I keep my Fork in my Left hand- cut a bit of food- eat it and then repeat. I don't do the whole 'cut it all up and switch hands' process that Americans seem to use.

    So the question is- when my husband and I *do* have children...

    Which way do we teach them?

    Any input or 'food for thought' (no pun intended!) would be appreciated icon_smile.gif

    Thank you!!!

    Amber Lee
    Molly53
    Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:24 pm
    Forum Host
    I don't think you can go wrong teaching children proper etiquette, friend.

    It could be a detriment to their future if they don't know how to eat properly.

    Frequently, a potential employer will take an applicant out to eat. If that applicant has no idea of how to use silverware, it could cost them a job or future advancement.

    Be observant the next time you eat out in public...you'll see people shoveling food in as if there won't be another meal, blowing their noses in dinner napkins or picking their teeth. They don't mean to look bad, chances are very good they just don't know any better.
    Saralaya
    Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:12 pm
    Forum Host
    GlamAtomic wrote:
    Hello Foodies!

    I have an interesting question to pose to you all- and some of you may have been in the same boat at some point so may be able to shed some light.

    I am Australian/British and was subsequently raised with 'continental' table manners and etiquette. My mother even sent me to a 3 month Summer School when I was 15 to learn deportment, etiquette, and various other old fashioned minutia.

    Obviously though, my husband is American and on his predeployment leave his parents posed an interesting question over dinner one night; when we have children, will I insist on them learning my type of continental table manners? Or will I allow them to get away with American habits?

    The subject again arose when my husband and I were chatting on IM today (only one more month until he returns from Afghanistan!) in relation to a Yahoo News article about what table manners still apply in modern day.

    I am admittedly a little neurotic (as is my own mother) when it comes to table etiquette although respect the fact that Americans do some things differently.

    The main thing for me is though... when I eat a meal, I keep my Fork in my Left hand- cut a bit of food- eat it and then repeat. I don't do the whole 'cut it all up and switch hands' process that Americans seem to use.

    So the question is- when my husband and I *do* have children...

    Which way do we teach them?

    Any input or 'food for thought' (no pun intended!) would be appreciated icon_smile.gif

    Thank you!!!

    Amber Lee


    Hi Amber Lee,

    I just stopped ion to the forum today and saw this. First of all.. a BIG "Thank you" to your hubby- for his service and to you, for the sacrifices all military families make.

    Now then.... as to your actual question..... icon_wink.gif I grew up in the US and learned the "Switch hands" method as the "polite" way to eat... but that was as opposed to other..umm... less attractive ways of....how did Molly put it.... shoveling food into one's mouth icon_eek.gif The first time I saw someone at the table who used "continental" table etiquette I asked my Mom afterwards and she explained the difference to me. She reiterated that table manners were what counted... no matter where they originated! I know that some Americans consider "continental" table manners inappropriate.... but they are losing out. I say teach your kids to be polite at table whichever way you like... both ways... as long as they are politely behaved I don't think it matters!

    When your hubby gets home...please give him an extra hug and tell him it's from very grateful citizens that he doesn't know but who love him for what he does so that we can sit around and discuss whose table manners are best (among other things)!!
    duonyte
    Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:49 pm
    Forum Host
    Our parents were WWII refugees from Europe. We learned the Continental manner, although I sometimes switch off, for whatever reason. I have never heard of anyone having any issue with the Continental v. American manner of using utensils as an issue. To me that's not table manners, really. It's more important to know which silverware to use for what food, and as noted, not to shovel the food in like there is no tomorrow, to offer a plate to someone else prior to taking a portion yourself, to sip rather than gulp, etc. Whether you leave the fork in your left hand or switch it over is really not all that important.

    (And no one in Europe or South America has taken offense if I happened to switch hands - children might ask, but most people don't really pay all that much attention!)
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