Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Folkways


Photo courtesy Flickr

You know you’re lunching with the right people when one of the company remarks that the restaurant’s salad fork is far too large. I had forgotten anyone cares anymore. I don’t stock mango or fish forks, but it never hurts to set a table with convenient flatware. Conforming to custom keeps the tablecloth clean and minimizes the risk of generating a dry cleaning bill.

Etiquette guru Miss Manners answers a hypothetical question about a multi-course dinner served a la russe. She says “what does it mean when you find yourself confronted by an array of forks? It means you’re not going to go home hungry, that’s what it means.” Wikipedia will fill in the details. 

Salad-wise, I’d just as soon eat lettuce with chopsticks. The latest Emily Post is a good technical reference. Choose a print guide: casual surfing brings up questionable sources of advice. Andy Warhohl illustrated the Sixties edition of Amy Vanderbilt’s Book of Etiquette. If you want to study a diagram to the point of memorizing it, his drawing are a joy to retain.

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