Originally posted by Raghavendra nandavar: Want to know more about the Dining Etiquette in a professional environment, especially when we are with a business associate. And want to know how good or bad it is to use our hands for dinner.
"Dining Etiquette in a professional environment, especially when we are with a business associate" dosen't allow that i suppose
I belive that Dining Etiquette can vary a lot from place to place. These things cannot be taught but you will gradually learn it when you interact with more people from different places. [ March 17, 2006: Message edited by: Venkatesh Sai ]
Joined: Jun 26, 2005
I agree, but not all things we can learn from interacting with people, Some things we must be knowing before hand.
Actually, my observation (in the US) is that people, including managers, do use their hands while eating stuff that really can't be eaten using forks and knives. In fact, in all the big business meeting I have attended, I have never seen ANYBODY eating a eating pizza, tandoori chicken, or hamburger using a knife, forks, or spoon of any kind. I like the fact that people here do not try act too sophisticated (or act too british as they say) while eating. One approach that I like is to wrap the burger into a paper napkin so that you can hold it and bite it from one end. It also avoids spilling the guts out since the burgers here are quite big.
But then I do find eating sambhar-rice with all your fingers dipped in, plain disgusting, not just in public but in private too. Unlike several of my south indian friends, I don't find it satisying either. I think a spoon makes much more sense for such foods.
Speaking as an genuine ugly American: the links above describe what is called "fine dining" -- i.e., eating in a formal restaurant. Eating burgers, pizza, or Tandoori chicken with a fork and knife is not a problem that will ever come up in such places, because a formal restaurant won't serve pizza, burgers, or Tandoori chicken. If you're in a restaurant where jacket and tie are required, and there are cloth napkins and tablecloths, and there actually are three forks to the right of your plate, then yes, you should indeed follow those instructions. But there aren't as many restaurants like that as there used to be, and unless you're interviewing for an upper management position, you probably won't get taken to one.
But if you're at a restaurant (or someone's home) that serves hamburgers then it's absolutely OK to eat them with your hands. The same with pizza, Tandoori (or more commonly in the US, fried) chicken, tacos, french fries, bread (including puris and chapathis,) samosas, and many other foods. In fact, if you try to eat a hamburger with a knife and fork, people are going to think you're odd.
But on the other hand, eating rice, dal, salad, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, refried beans, soup, stew, yogurt, eggs, or any similar things with your hands is a huge error. Americans (and Europeans) will be totally, utterly revolted and disgusted. This is something that children are taught not to do by the time they're three years old. You must use a fork or spoon for these.
There's no formal "rule", so I have to think about it, but I think the distinction that we make is that bread and foods that are wrapped or coated in bread and that can be picked up without leaving any real food residue on your fingers, can be eaten with your hands in an informal setting. That applies only to foods that you pick up, take a bite out of, and then put back down -- anything small enough to go in your mouth all at once should be eaten with a fork!
Anything that would involve getting any kind of sauce or liquid on your hands, or anything that is tiny and you would scoop up many small pieces (like rice), is never eaten with the hands, in any setting, formal or not. You never eat any kind of noodles with your fingers. Also any kind of large flat piece of meat like a steak, chop, or cutlet -- you have to cut it with a knife and eat it with a fork. You can never pick it up and tear it or bite off a piece.