How many times in my brief walk on this earth have I been in a restaurant, at a dinner party or a formal event and observed educated, professional, adult men and women (oftentimes dressed to the nines), guiding food onto their forks with their forefingers? You know, just like infants and toddlers do with their entire hands while perched in their highchairs?
Granted, the American way of wielding eating utensils is ridiculously inefficient to begin with. Whoever invented it should be villifed in the annals of history. If there’s food to be eaten which requires cutting (steak, for example), the American consumer impales the meat with the fork and stabs it into submission with the left hand, while the right hand (the dominant hand for 90 percent of the population) does the cutting. Then, the knife is set down and the fork is switched from the left hand back over to the right hand. Finally, the ice-cold steak can be consumed.
This method utilizes a gluttonous level of overactivity, but, then again, our entire culture is based on gluttony. We eat too much, throw away too much, have 10 of everything, and have grown accustomed to thinking it’s okay to pay for parking at hospitals, amusement parks, doctors’ offices, and entertainment venues.
“You Americans waste everything,” commented a young Mexican friend of mine, Juan Manuel Guardado Ramirez. Juan is a master of the art of the”mexicanada” – aka, being resourceful, using what’s at hand, and repairing what you have (instead of jettisoning it to the curb). That’s what people do when they don’t have as much as we do.
Granted, I come to this criticism with a distinct advantage. As a young woman of 21, I was fortunate enough to have lived in Europe, where, no matter what hand is the dominant one, the fork is always held in the left hand, the knife in the right. It was here that I learned how to manoever these utensils like a master and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s called the continental way of eating and if you have 1:08 to spare, Elena Brauer, in the video above will teach you how to do it.
It’s never too late to learn a new skill. My friend, Judi, started a website design business in her 50s, after nailing three other professions prior. And, you wouldn’t be reading this right now if she hadn’t told me to stop screeching, “I’m not technical!” and led me to get this website up five years ago.
If you’re a parent, why not learn this method and teach it to your children? That way, if the day comes when they find themselves in foreign lands, unable to talk about current events or history beyond the realm of pop culture; or, when they reveal that they never learned to master cursive handwriting because our educational system deemed it obsolete; or, when they can no longer construct a sentence in the conditional tense or the past perfect because our language itself is under siege, they might not be viewed as total barbarians. At least they’ll be eating like civilized human beings and they might be able to fool a couple of people.
Finally, from the standpoint of dating, I must say that it’s anxiety-inducing (and a turnoff) to be sitting across the table from a “potential-someone” who doesn’t know the difference between a knife and a forefinger.
It’s downright unnerving, to say the least.