Monday, September 25, 2006

A visit from Miss Manners

I just stumbled on this post about Manners at Lex Culinaria, and I had to point it out. What's even more amazing than the fact that manners need to be pointed out, is the people who posted comments scolding her for such a post. Apparently those are the people to whom this post was directed, and they've taken offense for being called out for being disgusting.

I agree wholeheartedly with most of her list. I was raised to have table manners, and am raising my kids to do the same. Basics like chewing with your mouth open and lip smacking were not tolerated at my house. I remember my little brother Caleb having the hardest time complying with chewing with his mouth closed. SO my parents invented "green lips". That was when Glad first introduced their zipper seal bags that had a blue stripe and a yellow stripe, and the commercials stated that yellow and blue make green. Green lips was code that could be used among company if needed. Well, we've started the green lip treatment with Abigail, ans she's doing very well. They only thing she really struggles with is that she would rather eat most things with her fingers. But we're working on it. Nothing drives me batty more than a grown adult chewing with their mouth wide open and eating like they are starving. Blech. Then again, it also drives me batty that grown adults don't know how to hold a fork. Forks are not shovels. Hold them correctly. The list could go on, but I'll let you read her list at Lex Culinaria.

I do feel it necessary to add a few things to the manners list though.

1. Do not take a portion of food and then put half of it back on the serving platter. Ack! Start by taking a half portion if you must, but do not return food from your plate to the serving vessel. Yucky.

2. Please, don't clean off your children's plates by scarfing it down yourself. Honestly, I am not going to be offended if your kids leave food on their plates. But eating your full meal, and then proceeding to eat your children's is piggish. Have second helpings if you would like, but leave someone else's discarded food alone. Would you do that at a restaurant? Would you walk up to a random table and clean off a strangers plate? I don't think so. Stop it.

3. No discussions of bodily functions at the dinner table period. No potty training, no fiber discussions, nothing. Zip. Even if dinners been cleared away already. You're still at the table. That is no place to discuss Aunt Ethel's bowel movements.

4. The butter rule. The proper way to butter bread is to scoop up a portion of butter with your butter knife and put it on your plate. Then use that to butter your bread, rolls, whatever. Please don't put your gobby and goopy knife into my butter dish. That's just yucky. And when you see, on occasion, an actual knife with the butter, use that to scoop butter onto your plate, and then put the other knife back with the butter. And for God's sake, don't use your finger to wipe the butter knife clean.

5. If you don't like a component of the dish I've created, quietly separate it and leave it on your plate. Don't go on about how you don't like xyz and why you don't like xyz and then apologize for not liking xyz. A quiet removal of the xyz component will do, thank you. And maybe next time I will remember that you don't care so much for xyz and leave it out. Otherwise, you will just annoy me, and I may leave it in again just to be snarky. Plus, it's setting a poor example for my children who are sitting at the same table with you, and are learning to like new foods. Don't send them several steps backwards on the trying new foods lesson please.


Andy said...

ha, my brother STILL doesn't know how to hold a fork, and he's 26!

AK said...

Good additions!

Fork-handling skills vary across the world: it's bad manners to think ill of someone who's using good manners in his/her own culture.

My sister has a good one, I think, she's taught her sons to say, "No thank you, I don't care for such-n-such" vs "I don't like such-n-such." That said, she also uses my Mom's rule that we grew up with and works wonders, even for picky kids, "You don't have to like everything but you do have to taste it."

veuveclicquot said...

Right on!

Another pet-peeve of mine is people who complain about how I've prepared the food (eg. "Oh, you should have grilled it instead of roasted; or "I would use butter, not oil;" etc.) Needless to say, they don't get invited back...

Anonymous said...

Talk about ignorant. Some people took offense to Lex Culinaria's post because of her cultural bias, not because they are disgusting. The world is made up of many different people. Eating with fingers and slurping is acceptable in some cultures. And your blog as well as hers is not private. People from around the world can read it. You are showing your ignorance by saying people who do things differently from you are disgusting.

Erika said...

Wow anonymous. Talk about ignorant! When in Rome! I'm certainly not saying that people in China who slurp their noodles are disgusting. I am saying that people at my table who cannot behave are disgusting. I also don't have anything on my list that is "cultural" behavior. And quite honestly, if you're the type of person who is offended by good manners, you are not welcome at my table either, and this probably isn't the site for you to be reading anyway. So move on.

Anonymous said...

And yet again YOU MISSED THE POINT. Did you read what I wrote? You are again imposing your beliefs in what is acceptable. This is what you wrote in reply: "I am saying that people at my table who cannot behave are disgusting". I take offense to your term disgusting for people who do things differently. Don't you get that? Obviously not and that's why I said it was ignorance. There is nothing wrong with ignorance if you take the time to learn.

If you don't like what I'm saying you should have taken more care when writing your post. When you throw around offending terms, saying people are disgusting, for doing things differently from you, expect someone to get offended.

Erika said...

Lol! You crack me up. You do realize that you are reading the blog of a simple housewife and mother from the rural midwest. Here, we still have values and manners are one of those values. My audience is composed mostly of family and friends and a few awesome bloggers from around the country. I highly doubt that in my meager 70 visits a day that I am offending an army. And just as you have the right to be offended, I have the right to post such a "hot item" on my blog.

I find it extremely humorous that you are offended that I am asking visitors to my home to be a good example for my children. I also find it humorous that you felt such a need to post about this, and here you are posting as anonymous. If you are truly offended by a simple blogger and her beliefs, you should truly stop reading blogs. I don't know a single blogger who isn't passionate about what they blog. Whether that be cheese sandwiches or the latest movie.

Anyway, thank you for the chuckle this morning. It was very entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Yes I do realize I am reading a blog from some housewife in the midwest. But you do realize that when you link to another blog people can click on your name and read whatever thoughtless thing you write?

So yes you are right. You probably only have a few readers and aren't offending an army.

I crack you up? You crack me up because it seems you have missed the point AGAIN. :-D So let me clarify. You are mistaken about what I take offense to. There's nothing wrong with wanting visitors to set a good example for your children. However when someone does something differently from you it's not disgusting. Do you understand that? It's different. And to teach your children that different is disgusting is a shame.

You seem to have missed THAT numerous times. Reread my comments. That's what I was saying.

Erika said...

Let me clarify. I do get your point, but I do not agree 100%. Picking your nose at MY dinner table IS disgusting, and I do not permit that kind of behavior from my children. There are different definitions of what is disgusting, just as there are different ways to describe something as salty.

If you feel so strongly, perhaps you should address this issue on your blog. Other than the comments at Lex Culinaria, and now here, I don't think anyone has discussed the opposite side to table manners, and it might make for interesting reading for some.

And I am very sorry you clicked on the link to my blog and found bits of drivel. I do not link to other blogs for attention, I link to them because I've enjoyed their content from time to time, and think others would as well. I will be more selective about where I link to in the future.