Pinky out!

Yesterday, I was listening to a report on proper dining etiquette – how to butter your dinner roll, which fork to use at which time, how to spoon out that last bit of soup, etc.

Now, I accept that sometimes there are good reasons for doing things in a particular way – for example, I generally put on my socks before putting on my shoes.

Then … there are other things that are just inane. Yet … people for some strange reason feel compelled to conform, to emulate, to mimic certain forms of behavior without understanding or seemingly caring why.

The lower class try to emulate the upper class, and the upper class try to outdo one another by showing off that they are better than the riff-raff – typically done by assuming the role of a soulless automaton that executes perfectly preprogrammed responses and behaviors.

So what is the proper way to spoon the last bit of soup?

Tip the bowl away from you and spoon away, bringing the spoon to your mouth, not your mouth to the spoon.

How do I finish the last bit of soup in a bowl?

I bring the bowl to my mouth and drink.

From practical perspective, tipping the bowl away from you probably makes sense. If you accidentally tip the bowl too much and spill soup, it won’t run as quickly (if at all) into your lap then if you had tipped the bowl towards yourself. Of course, drinking from the soup bowl always runs the risk of dribbling soup down your front. On the other hand, sitting rigidly, bringing the spoon to your mouth is also a good way to spill soup on yourself, methinks.

Image grabbed from here.


Colleen said…
So who needs manners.. I drink from the bowl I slurp and do more but who needs to hear that..
Bee said…
From practical perspective, tipping the bowl facing me makes more sense... 'cos I can see its content. :)
Richard said…
colleen: slurping is actually considered polite in Japan. When you eat noodles, you are expected to slurp them (a Japanese friend told me this indicates you are enjoying the food - alternate explanations, say it is because the noodles are hot). The same friend also told me that you should also make loud noises when eating soup or drinking coffee.

bee: Well ... I can see you are not getting invited to any dinner parties anytime soon ;-)

For me, there is a difference between being polite and considerate and being a slave to custom.

I try to eat in a manner that is clean and hygenic and avoids grossing other people out - so no double dipping chips in dip, no reaching for food with chopsticks that have been near or in my mouth (or fork or spoon or whatever I'm using).

I use my hands when I think it is appropriate (think chicken or ribs or pretty much anything you need to nibble the meat off the bone - like guinea pig).
Aaaaahhhh...the guinea pig!!! :)

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