We have a little etiquette secret for you. We know that your parents probably spent your entire childhood trying to get you to use a knife and fork properly, and to not just pick up food with your hands and mash it into your face like you’re a baby. But did you know there are foods you’re actually encouraged to eat with your fingers? Behold, the wonders of dining etiquette!
Anything served on a toothpick: This is pretty obvious, because what, you’re gonna pick the whole thing up with a fork and then get the toothpick in your mouth? No. Usually this is stuff like cheese cubes, olives, crudite, etc. Go ahead and use your hands.
Asparagus: Eating it with your fingers only applies if they are spears of asparagus and do not have sauce on them. In general, where there’s sauce, there are eating utensils.
Sushi: Usually Americans like to show off their chopstick skills at sushi restaurants, but sushi is really meant to be eaten with your hands. This is because many believe the delicate fish picks up the flavors of anything it touches, so metal cutlery is a big no-no.
Artichokes: I’d like to see anyone try to eat artichoke leaves with a fork. You’re supposed to rip each leaf off, dip in butter or any accompanying sauce, and then put it in your mouth and scrape the meat off with your top teeth. Charming.
Bacon: To eat bacon with your fingers, it must be crisp! If it’s soggy and limp, use a knife and fork. (ED: if it’s soggy and limp send it back to the kitchen to be cooked properly, yuck!)
Corn: Ok, so there is a way to eat corn on the cob with a knife and a fork, by sort of tilting the cob up on one end and scraping the kernels off but good lord that sounds like a recipe for sending your corn flying into the lap of the person next to you, and possibly taking out some fine china with it. If you’re a host and you serve corn on the cob you best believe your guests should eat it with their fingers. Otherwise you’re just trying to torture them.
Pizza: Someone suggested that if pizza is heavy with toppings you are allowed to use your fork, but that just means you’re a quitter.
Tiny birds like quail, and frog’s legs: These can be picked up in the fingers, though you must avoid the appearance of gnawing.
Dinner Rolls: As we keep saying, these are broken apart with the fingers and each section is buttered individually and then eaten with the fingers.
Indian food: Lots of Indian food, especially of Northern cuisines, is served with bread, which you should use as your utensil by ripping of pieces and picking up food with it, like a little sandwich! Just make sure to use your right hand, because your left hand is reserved for…something else.
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