I’m going to take a moment to shift away from food talk to discuss the topic of table manners. Wait, that is incorrect and I owe you an apology. I don’t want to discuss table manners. I want to bitch about people who don’t have them. Sorry for the confusion.
Now if you are under the age of six and are reading this, I am giving you a pass. (I also applaud your ability to read and surf the Internet.) Everyone else is fair game. If you don’t have table manners, learn them. If you don’t want to learn them, then never eat in public again. That seems totally fair.
I am also giving a pass to burping. In many cultures it is considered totally acceptable. It is a compliment to the cook. My wife’s grandmother is a tiny Chinese woman, yet she burps like a 300-pound trucker. It’s just her way of saying how wonderful the lobster in black bean sauce tastes. Plus it’s just funny as hell.
Here is a list – albeit, partial – of unacceptable eating habits:
Elbows on the table – We’re not in prison. I’m not going to shank you and steal your cappellini. Sit back, relax and chill the hell out.
No napkin in your lap – Don’t we all know that your napkin belongs in your lap? Haven’t we all watched a romantic comedy where the man or woman stands up in a huff, removes his or her napkin from his or her lap and then throws it on the table? That’s not the screenwriter taking creative license. That’s not made up. People actually put napkins in their laps. It prevents food from falling on to your clothes. So go ahead and pretend to be Mila Kunis or Justin Timberlake and put your napkin in your lap.
Not wiping your mouth before drinking – Few things are worse than seeing little bits of food in someone’s water glass. Hydration is important, but so is me not yakking on your food because I see little bits of meatloaf in your Poland Springs.
Smacking your lips – Next to listening to Maroon 5, the most annoying sound ever. I get that you enjoy your food. I applaud you for enjoying your food. Now do me a kindness and stop with the saliva smacking lip movement. I would have more respect for you if you just yelled out in the middle of enjoying your meal, “Pardon me while I pull down my pants and have sex with this chicken parm sandwich!”
Manhandling the bread in the breadbasket – What did that poor sourdough baguette ever do to you that you feel to need to strangle it with two hands? Ease up a bit. There’s no need to go postal over the bread in the breadbasket. Rip off a piece and be done with it.
Shoving massive pieces of food into your mouth – If I challenge you to cram an entire waffle in your mouth, then by all means cram away. Until I offer up that challenge, try smaller bites. It makes food taste better, last longer, and, hey; you don’t look like a jackass when you eat.
Scraping your teeth on your fork – This is the equivalent of waterboarding. I would actually prefer the waterboarding, because then at least I wouldn’t have to see and hear metal scraping your bicuspids.
Talking with your mouth full – Unless my hair is on fire or Amy Adams is behind me making obscene finger gestures then please just shut it. Nothing is that important that it can’t wait until you finish your salmon patty.
The inability to properly use a knife and fork – How the hell do you not know how to cut your food? Were you raised by wildebeests in the deep, green forests of Scotland? I bet you that you weren’t. So stop being a nob and learn how to properly hold a knife and fork. It’s not hard. My five-year old nephew can do it and he thinks he owns a cat when he doesn’t.
Again, this is a partial list. I could go on and on. But if you are confused, here is the most important rule to remember about table manners: