Tuesday, March 14, 2006

May the Forks be with you...

Originally Posted by TV's Outrider
How are you supposed to hold your fork and knife whilst eating steak?

It depends on which country you live in, and which social class you belong to.I'm not making this up.

Dig this:

In Britain, the traditional upperclass way to eat a steak is knife in right hand, fork in left hand, prongs down (upside down) as you put the little piece of steak in your mouth silently, perhaps between comments on cricket and Prince William's abs. On the Continent, it was polite to use the tines upwards, pronging the little food bits delicately. Imagine you're discussing Proust and the failure of the Paris Commune.

Of course, if you're a lower class brute, none of this applies to you, and while you're at it, feel free to not even bother cooking your steak. Hell, don't even kill the cow first.

The Continental Fork transferred over to the United States, kind of, and Americans almost universally use the left hand for forking and the right hand for kniving. The twist in America, of course, is that we don't flip our forks upside down, and we've added an extra bonus level for our own amusement. This leads to a few dos-and-do-nots that Emily Post has left us with.

When eating steak, it is polite to slice up little steak bits a few at a time, with the knife in your right hand. Then you should place the knife down, switch fork to the right hand, eat the steak bits, and continue until the conversation on the Knickerbockers versus the Senators is raucous enough to allow you to pick up the knife again.

Etiquette, however fun it is to read about, is rarely so easy to understand, but the steak rule is pretty easy. The point of American etiquette is that the knife could theoretically kill you at any time, so you are supposed to eliminate any opportunity to allow it to do so.

Here's an added bit of steak etiquette: however much you want to do so, no matter how dry the steak is, no matter how damn much you paid for it, NEVER ASK FOR STEAK SAUCE. The cook himself is supposed to provide it to you, and only if he's apologizing for how shitty the cut is. You are certainly allowed to ask for a refund afterwards, and you are well within your rights to withhold a tip or send a sternly worded letter to the folks at Outback Family Restaurants. But if A-1 isn't on the table, for the love of pete, don't ask for it. You are insulting the cook, you are insulting the waitress, you are insulting the fucking cow.

That said, rare, rare, rare.


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