Monday, 7 September 2015

Entire French Nation in Cutlery Shocker

Clearly I am not a very observant person.

Because it took me eight years to discover that in France, not only is it acceptable to eat your breakfast baguette off the table without using a plate, but you can also hold your knife in your left hand and your fork in your right and use the knife to snowplough food on to the fork before scooping it into your mouth.

And I only found out when a friend who is also married to a Frenchman told me that at her in-laws' house, this practice is so common that they actually set the table the opposite way round and she is always getting into trouble for laying out the cutlery in the conventional British fashion.

It's not that this particular way of eating is particularly shocking per se, it's just that in the UK we tend to believe that the French are more sophisticated and refined than we are, and in high-class British etiquette it's considered rude even to turn your fork over and use it like a spoon - even for eating peas, you're supposed to push them on to the back of the fork and raise them delicately to your mouth with your left hand. In real life, most people would turn over the fork, or use it in their right hand to eat foods like rice or baked beans, but using a knife in the left hand is so bizarre to me that I don't think I would even know how to do it.

With nothing more than our upcoming wedding to stress about, I worried for about 5 minutes about how Understanding Frenchman will ever teach our children table manners (if we ever have any children), but then I realised that if it took me 8 years to notice what the French were up to, it couldn't be as serious as all that.


  1. This is EXACTLY why I like eating with chopsticks. Not of that nonsense.

  2. NONE of...

    Typo. Hit publish too fast. Ah.

    1. I'll suggest my friend tries that one with her in-laws!

  3. I will never get used to eating anything straight off the table. So many crumbs to clean up after... I'd rather wash a plate or at least use a napkin.