What the Fork?

Let the record show that I am sorely disappointed in you, the reader. I put out a call for recommendations on Chinese food and got (cue the crickets)…nothing. Weak sauce ya’ll. Should you choose to redeem yourself, please feel free to drop me a line any time if you know of something decent. 

While we’re still on food: I came across this article last week (you probably need to read it for this post to make sense). Reading the article took me back to a meal I had several years ago. I was in England to visit the illustrious Jem Jones and watch a few football/soccer games. One Sunday afternoon we joined his parents and grandfather for a meal. The Sunday Roast consisted of roast beef, roasted parsnips, broccoli and carrots, Yorkshire pudding and gravy (straightforward and delicious). About halfway through the meal the grandfather, who was in his nineties I suspect, piped up and asked “Is there something wrong with your knife?” I was caught a bit off guard and fumbled to come up with a response to a question that I didn’t fully understand. Mrs. Jones came to the rescue by explaining to him that Americans perform an odd ritual of silverware utensil switching whilst eating. The whole table of English (who all love America) then piled on regarding this particular American peculiarity. This was news to me, as I never had pause to consider that my mother taught me anything other than solid dining etiquette.

That conversation caused me to rethink how I eat. As a result, I adopted the more efficient Continental method of wielding knife and fork.* It just makes sense- it’s more efficient, it’s equally acceptable from an etiquette standpoint (according to manners mavens), and the practice was derived from a culture that “ain’t from ‘round here”.

I promise that there is an urban design connection to this particular story. You must, however, wait until next week to see if I can pull it off.

*I find, however, that when faced with a very formal meal I often subconsciously revert to the American method. This happened last year at Le Taillevent, which of course didn’t make sense as the French, who the Americans first emulated, actually quit the utensil switch back in 1853.

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