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Eating Habit Options
Priscilla86
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 5:04:34 AM

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When eating something like steaks, is it true that Americans cut up the steak into smaller pieces first (by holding the knife in the right hand and fork in the left - for right-handed people) and then switch the fork to the right hand to eat, as opposed to what the Europeans do, which is cut the steak a little bit at a time and then eat it by shoving the morsel into the mouth using the fork held in the left hand, without switching of utensils?
papo_308
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 5:23:31 AM
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I'm a European and I eat steaks (or similar dishes that need cutting) exactly as you have described it.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 5:50:25 AM

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I don't know about ALL Americans, but most of them eat the steak like Europeans (what I've seen). And not ALL the Europeans eat like that ALL the time.
Cutting the whole steak first and then eating it with fork is very informal habit.




In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
taurine
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 6:01:32 AM

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I am a reformed left-handed who wields a knife while eating steak proudly in right hand.
mactoria
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 6:16:51 AM
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An American here. The vast majority of right-handed Americans cut up one or a few pieces of a steak (or other meat) with the knife in the left hand and the fork in the right hand (left-handed people usually just reverse the process), then eat the one or few pieces of meat...then cut another or a few more pieces, etc. Of course, there are exceptions based on such factors as people who are new to the US or possibly first-generation Americans who were taught the way you wrote from whatever culture they are from. And then there is a small number of persons who do cut up some or all of a piece of steak/meat using the knife in the left hand and the fork in the right hand because they like it to it that way or they saw it in a movie and think it's nifty.

I'd be interested in why you thought Americans cut up a whole steak/meat at one time using the knife in the left hand and the fork in the other hand....it seems like a stereotypical version of what Americans are "all" like, one that's mostly incorrect.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 6:19:49 AM

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In some cocktail buffet parties food is already cut or don't need cutting. You pick up some food on your plate with a glass holder and only need a fork or a toothpick to eat.



In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Priscilla86
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:11:59 AM

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mactoria wrote:
An American here. The vast majority of right-handed Americans cut up one or a few pieces of a steak (or other meat) with the knife in the left hand and the fork in the right hand (left-handed people usually just reverse the process), then eat the one or few pieces of meat...then cut another or a few more pieces, etc. Of course, there are exceptions based on such factors as people who are new to the US or possibly first-generation Americans who were taught the way you wrote from whatever culture they are from. And then there is a small number of persons who do cut up some or all of a piece of steak/meat using the knife in the left hand and the fork in the right hand because they like it to it that way or they saw it in a movie and think it's nifty.

I'd be interested in why you thought Americans cut up a whole steak/meat at one time using the knife in the left hand and the fork in the other hand....it seems like a stereotypical version of what Americans are "all" like, one that's mostly incorrect.


First of all, I need to make sure there's no typo here. Did you really mean to write Americans (right-handed ones) cut up a steak with the knife in the left hand and fork in the right hand? You repeated this in your last paragraph but that's not what I wrote. It's the other way around (when cutting up: knife-right, fork-left; when eating: fork switch to the right, knife down).

I hope it's really a typo because if it's not, then it's a whole another way of eating, and frankly I think it would be hard for right-handed people to use their non-dominant hand (left) to cut up the steak, so if what you describe is true then it is even weirder than the switching method to me.

Second of all, you asked why I thought so. Well, I first read about this from a book many years ago about dining etiquette around the world, under the USA section. And this thing would pop up every now and then on TV, an example that I remember the most is an episode of La Femme Nikita back in the '90s, where a character recognized another as a European trying to pass as an American from the way he ate (he didn't switch the fork).

And then several websites have written about this:

thekitchn

slate

huffington post

thar
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 7:42:34 AM

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Surely if you cut it up into pieces it gets cold quicker?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 9:36:05 AM

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THE correct American manners were set by Emily Post in the nineteenth century.

Quote:
Good table manners go beyond knowing how to use your utensils correctly. They are also about navigating awkward moments smoothly and understanding subtle cues to the waitstaff and other diners. Many of the table manners below might apply when dining at your home or as a guest at someone else’s, too.

“How do I…”

…cut my food? One bite at a time. Always.


Mark Vanhoenacker in Culturebox wrote:
"Zig-zag is etiquette doyenne Emily Post’s term for it, but we could also call it the Star-Spangled Fork-Flip, the Freedom Fork-Over, or the Homeland Handoff. Or the cut-and-switch. See, when using both a fork and knife, Europeans (and everyone else, basically) will keep the fork in their left hand and the knife in the right as they cut and eat their food.
But the traditionally well-mannered American? After he cuts a piece of amber-waves-of-grain-fed steak, he’ll lower his knife to his plate. And then he’ll switch the fork (USA! USA!) to his right hand to convey the food."


According to Anna Post (Emily Post's great-granddaughter), putting down the knife as soon as you'd finished cutting was a signal that you were not planning to stab your host with it or cut someone else's throat.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
TMe
Posted: Sunday, May 21, 2017 9:46:54 AM

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With no malice towards DragO sir;

Good table manners go beyond knowing how to use dinner tableware correctly.

Is it a better sentence than

"Good table manners go beyond knowing how to use your utensils correctly."?

Deliberate practice of one hour is worth ten hours of normal practice.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, May 21, 2017 1:14:58 PM

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TMe wrote:
With no malice towards DragO sir;

Good table manners go beyond knowing how to use dinner tableware correctly.

Is it a better sentence than

"Good table manners go beyond knowing how to use your utensils correctly."?

Nothing to do with me - that's a quote from the infamous Emily Post book "On Etiquette".

u•ten•sil n.
1. any of the instruments or vessels commonly used in a kitchen, dairy, etc.: eating utensils..

Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Priscilla86
Posted: Monday, May 22, 2017 3:57:27 AM

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But still, though...is there any truth to this switching method? I've never come across any in real life and when it's on TV, it's almost always an intentional plot point, so it's like an urban legend in the sense that the story is out there, alright, but somehow you can't prove its existence Think
almo 1
Posted: Monday, May 22, 2017 7:42:39 AM
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Location: Fussa, Tokyo, Japan
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