Are table manners the product of a bygone era like eight track tapes and full coverage underwear?
I know most parents have or are raising their kids to embrace the basics like don’t talk with your mouth full, elbows off the table and please and thank you. But how many of us are still kicking it old school and teaching our children the ins and outs of what fork to use when.
I was raised in the era of protocol classes (It was so ghastly that during the dinner manners portion of the course I wrote out in baby green leseur peas, “I hate my mother for making me do this.” Yep, I flunked.), cotillion dances and debutante bows and even I’m stumped when I see five forks at one place setting.
Quick, can you guess what each fork is for? Yeah, me neither. I had to look it up to refresh my memory. If you're keeping score at home here’s the list: salad, fish, dinner, seafood and dessert. When I attempted to share this knowledge with my daughter she give me the side eye and asked, “Isn’t a seafood and fish fork redundant?
That question led me to explain that I think the fish fork is for ocean creatures that swim and the seafood fork could be for the bottom dwellers like shrimp. To check my logic I went to Google where I got no clear answer, just more confusion because hello, there's more freaking forks! Luncheon, pastry, lobster, snail, oyster, fruit, strawberry and even ice cream. WTF - What The Fork? As in who eats ice cream with a fork and I sense an intervention quality fork fetish going on.
If you already have a seafood and fish fork then why all the additional Little Mermaid collection of forks? The same logic can be used on the fruit and strawberry fork. Help me out here. A strawberry is still a fruit - right? (It’s not like the tomato that we all know and love and grew up with thinking it’s a vegetable and then - ta da - it’s now a fruit.) It’s too much. All this cutlery is enough to kill your appetite if it doesn’t bring on a migraine first.
Furthermore let’s be real: Who’s eating that much bounty from the ocean in one meal and not dying from mercury poisoning? What needs to happen is some fancy pants etiquette person and Kohl’s (or even Walmart) should join forces and design a new cutlery collection for the holidays geared towards the way we live today.
As a way to get that party started here are my suggestions.
Ditch all those fish forks and introduce one fork that does it all— the “big boy.” This fork will have tines so new and improved it can spear a puffed Cheeto with nary a fleck of cheese dust falling off. And if you’re thinking who eats Cheetos with fork to that I say - you do. This is 2016 and if you want to be classy (or maybe klassy) it’s all about fingers free.
The spoon will also get a makeover and resemble more of shovel with enhanced, curved sides because eating cereal for dinner isn’t just a lifestyle choice it’s a survival skill. With the spoon 2.0 you can ensure that you get the perfect amount of cereal to milk ratio with each bite.
Now, you might be thinking that the knife can’t be improved upon and you would be wrong. The knife’s girth would be increased so, in a pinch, it can also function as a spatula because if you’ve ever tried to cut a Chipotle chicken burrito with everything on it and attempted to eat it with some sense of decorum then you know that’s almost impossible. Now, all you have to do is use the “knife-tula” for precision cutting and scooping.
If you’re doubting my brilliance do me a favor. Tomorrow, as you’re eating Thanksgiving dinner and attempting to cut and pile some turkey atop your mashed potatoes ask yourself, “Wow, wouldn't a knife-tula sure be helpful right now?”
Reach Sherry Kuehl at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.