{29/07/2012}   Table manners

Bad table manners make me very frowny and annoyed.  I put my elbows on the table and I spoon soup/cereals towards me rather than away.  Double standards to an extent, but I was recently reminded how unbelievably horrible it is to dine with someone incapable of eating with their mouth closed.

Where do you learn table manners?  I assume it’s from your parents.  I largely know what I shouldn’t do, but when it comes to elbows on tables, not eating at a table, I have my own rules.  But I don’t mind other people doing the same!  But I do get irritated by people who start eating before everyone at the table is ready to start.  Actually, the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get about that.  I don’t think it’s the etiquette side of it that bothers me, more that it seems rude to be tucking in while other people are either awaiting their dish to be served or the cook/your friend is in the kitchen still.

As for eating with your mouth open; I just don’t get how you go through your childhood without learning that it’s rude, it’s unpleasant for others to view the masticating process, it sounds revolting and it makes people not want to go out with you.  There are few things that repulse me more where everyday habits are concerned.

Another one that annoys me is talking while eating, to the extent you can see food being churned around.  I do talk a bit while eating, but I at least cover my mouth and wait until most of it has gone.  It’s still pretty gross, really, isn’t it?!

I remember many years ago eating with someone who used to swill the food in their mouth with gulps of beer then do the swilling thing, mixing food and beer.  I was horrified, it sounded foul and the thought of lumpy beer was just too much to endure.  The result is also a burp fest of enjoy-it-twice sounds.

Now, as to burping, I burp.  I do make efforts to disguise it when I’m eating in polite company, but I am prone to burping.  Cucumbers and fizzy drinks are guaranteed to make me burp.  It’s horrible, for me and anyone eating within earshot.  Burping does, however, still make me giggle, the more inappropriate the situation, the better!  But it is horrible and shouldn’t be heard by anyone eating with you.

Living in Japan, I got to quite enjoy the slurping-is-fine way of eating noodles.  But it doesn’t translate well back here, it seems rude because it is considered rude, whereas in Japan it isn’t rude.  But if I eat soupy noodles at home alone, I slurp, and I love it.

Oo, beard dribble and bits is minging.  But that’s just unfortunate and isn’t about table manners.  I was getting side-tracked there.

As for fine dining, the etiquette there eludes me, scares me and puts me off my food; all this napkins a certain way, careful cutlery selection, which way to “scrape” your plate.  I guess I fall into the just about acceptable category of table manners, and there I feel relatively comfortable.  At least I don’t chew with my mouth open though, that to me is the worst table manners faux pax.



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