11 June 2011

The Great New World / Old World Fork Debate

We New Worlders pick up our knife in our right hand, our fork in our left, cut our U.S. Grade A not-mad steak, then put down the knife, transfer our fork to our right hand, then we take a bite, then put the fork back in the left hand, the knife back in the right and repeat.

And we wonder why there's an energy crisis in the U.S.

European epicurean efficiency experts can only shake their heads in dismay. They have a more sensible way: The fork stays in the left hand.

Here, they pierce the meat with their down-turned fork, then use their knife in the right hand to scoop up morsels of vegetable or potato onto the back of the fork. This yields more than just energy savings. Because this little ballet requires some finesse, each bite is smaller and takes a little longer to construct. It forces you to pay attention to your food instead of inhaling it. When Europeans do it, it looks perfectly natural.

And yet, we New World left/right forkers can legitimately quibble with this precious custom. Since when did chowing down become a tightrope walk? We're hungry, right? Let's eat! So what if it takes an extra sec to put the fork back in our shooting hand and shift it to shovel position?

Bon appétit!


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