Mahita Suresh works with various educational training institutes to set the curriculum for training in Business Etiquette. She also imparts active training in the field and regularly writes tips on Business Etiquette for tips4me.com.
You could be at a business conference, a dinner with a client or even a date and suddenly your fine etiquette might be on display. It’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the rules of formal dining, so you won’t be traumatized while wrestling with your spaghetti and chain sawing a buffalo wing! Mahitha Suresh gives you some tips.
Eating Tricky Foods Without Cutlery
Have you tried eating corn on the cob with a knife and fork? How about chicken wings? Yes, it can be done, but is devilishly difficult and does not cut a pretty picture! So how does one decide when to use the cutlery and when to abandon it for the comfort of eating with one's hand?
Here's a short list of food one can pick and eat without cutlery:
• Artichokes, asparagus, cheese and crackers, chicken and other small fiddly bits of fowl, corn on the cob, escargots (snails), some fresh fruit, French fries, shellfish like shrimp, lobster and crabs claws, mussels, clams and oysters on the half shell, pizza and sandwiches.
• It goes without saying that even for these foods, there are rules. Don't pick up chicken, squab, or asparagus that is drenched with sauce; go easy with the butter on the corn and after cracking shellfish, eat the meat with a fork. The whole idea is to be comfortable but neat!
• When you have finished, resist the temptation to lick your fingers; use a finger bowl or napkin to get rid of the greasy bit.
Which Is The Best Way To Eat Spaghetti?
Some food is exceedingly difficult to handle and seems to rest in the plate only to make life difficult while eating it. Spaghetti strands drape themselves on our chin, artichokes baffle us, and peas bring back childhood memories of 'No, I won't eat them, I hate vegetables!'
Here are some tips to make eating difficult foods easier.
• French onion soup: Anyone who has eaten French onion soup will think twice before ordering for it when in the company of someone they want to impress the cheese ends up all over the face or clothes! To avoid this, take some of the stretchy cheese in your spoon and cut it against the edge of the soup bowl. Eat this along with the soup. The bread can then be cut, again with your soupspoon, and eaten with the soup.
• Pasta: Some pasta like linguine, fettuccine, and spaghetti can be a bit troublesome to eat. Use a fork to eat your pasta, and not the fork and spoon combination. Twirl the strands of pasta around till it is neatly wrapped around the fork and nothing is dangling down. In case some of it unravels, bite off (don't suck in) what ever you can't fit into your mouth comfortably.
How Do I Handle Artichokes?
Artichokes: Artichokes are served whole, in a plate, with a bowl of butter or sauce on the side. Peel out the outer leaves one by one, dip the meaty base of the leaf in butter and pull it through your teeth to remove the edible bits. Discard the leaf. When you get to the heart, scrape away the thistle with a knife and fork cut the heart into bits and eat with a fork.
Peas: There are two commonly used methods for eating peas. The first involves the use of a knife and fork. Holding the knife in your right hand, and the fork, prongs turned down, in your left, push some peas onto the fork. This works better if you already have some meat or larger vegetable to serve as a support for the peas. You may also spear the peas with the prongs of the fork. Alternately, hold the fork prongs turned up in your right hand and scoop up the peas. Don’t ever mash and eat peas!
Skillfully Managing Kebabs And Shellfish
Kebabs: Ethnic foods like satay and kebabs are often served on skewers. There's no way you can eat them off the skewer, without doing yourself damage, so don't try it. Hold the skewer in your left hand and using the tines of the fork, gently ease the kebabs, one piece at a time onto your plate. Don't wrench wildly! A bit of steady pressure works wonders on the stubborn pieces.
Shellfish: Shellfish, like lobster and crab, is messy to eat, and is probably best enjoyed at home or in informal company. However, if you have to eat it in polite society, this is how it's done. Hold onto the claw or shell with your hand, and crack with a nutcracker. Extract the meat using a fork and dip in butter or sauce. Eat with a knife and fork. The small claws can be cleaned and the meat sucked out, as if through a straw. Soft shell crab is cut and eaten as it is, with a knife and fork.
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