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When Umbert goes to the restaurant with his friends, they like to discover new dishes and try any new experiences.
But sometimes some dishes requires different utensils, especially in France.
Here is list to know if Should you cut your steak with the oysters fork ? How to eat some dishes properly.
“Whoever does not eat at the table eats in the barn”, French proverb
« Celui qui ne mange pas à la table mange à l’étable », proverbe Français
In this articles :
- Foie gras
- French fries
- Fruit pies
- Chocolate cake
- Soup : only with a spoon. You can now finish the plate by leaning backwards and slightly to the right (for right-handed) or left (left-handed).
- Asparagus : you can eat them either with your fingers in an intimate dinner, either cut with its fork, leaving in the plate the harder part. If the asparagus are very thin : they can be folded in the middle with a knife and put in the mouth with a fork.
- Artichoke : use to fingers to did the leaves in the vinaigrette sauce. Use your fork and knife to eat the heart.
- Salad : the salad should not be cut with a knife. Take your fork to fold the large leaves. The host must serve cut leaves to avoid this problem.
- Caviar : serve the caviar with the little spoon, then spread it on the toast or blinis. You can use your fork and knife, or your fingers, to eat the blinis.
- Oysters : the oysters are eaten with elegance. It is necessary to take the shell in the left hand, to unhook the flesh with the oyster fork, and to suck it with the water from shell without making noise.
- Mussels : hold the shell in the palm of your hand and use an empty shell as a pliers to detach the flesh.
- Lobsters : the claws are cracked with a nutcracker. Take the meat with a seafood fork. If the piece is big you can use a knife to cut it into small pieces.
- Sushis : you need some chopsticks. Pick up the sushis so it doesn’t break into pieces. Dip it into the soy sauce, eat part of it, then let the chopsticks on the table side by side. The best is to practice before with someone who will teach you. Advice from one of Umbert friend who is a well-known chef in Tokyo : “don’t put to much perfume before going to a sushi place, because the strong smell may modify the sushi taste and your experience.”
- Foie gras : do not spread it. In France, it is eaten with a fork, with a piece of toast. In England, cut a piece and place it delicately on a piece of bread.
- Escargots : hold the shell in tongs, use a snail held and remove the snail from the shell. Use the fork to dip the bread in the garlic butter.
- Omelet : the omelet is cut and eaten only with the fork.
- Spaghetti : never cut with a knife. Wrap them around a fork.
- Fishes : for the soft fishes use the fish cutlery. Split the fish with the fish knife from head to tail and lift the nets. If the flesh is hard use the cutlery especially the knife.
- Poultries : detach the flesh with the knife and fork. Never use your fingers. Do not suck the bones. When can you use your fingers exceptionally ? Caution: provide a finger rinse (warm water with a lemon slice or mint leaf) : ortolans, quail wings, wings of young pigeons, frog legs.
- Sandwiches : tea sandwiches are eaten with the fingers. For the other ones, even club-sandwich, you can use a fork if they are not cut already.
- Tacos : you can use your fingers.
- French fries : do not use your fingers. Prick them with a fork.
- Cheese : present it, it is possible to leave the label. Warning: the Camembert never stays in its box as pretty as it is. Cut it if it is round into sections. If it is square: it is sliced. If it is in a semicircle : it is cut into a triangle. To eat cut a piece and put it on a small piece of bread. You can use your fingers or cheese fork and knife.
- Fruit pies : the fruit pies can be enjoyed with the desert spoon. If a pie is made with puff pastry, you can use a dessert knife to keep it from breaking.
- Chocolate cake : the chocolate cake can leave traces around the mouth. Remember to wipe your lips, especially before drinking, so you won’t stain the glass.
- Orange : cut the bark, detach it and separate the quarters by hand.
- Pear/Apple : cut the fruit in four, peel with a knife and a fork and eat with a fork.
- Ice-cream : you can eat ice-creams and sorbets with a desert spoon.
There are many other dishes, cutleries and flatware, especially if you travel in different countries.
So now you know if you should cut your steak with the oysters fork ? And How to eat some dishes properly.
Umbert will bring you in some amazing restaurants and cafés in Paris, with more advices to come during his monthly Weekends.
Don’t forget to read my other article Chronology on how to behave at the restaurant like a gentleman, and respect the New Etiquette (Video & Podcast).
What should be remembered : it is very important to know those advices and train before, so you won’t be surprised and look ridiculous.
You can post a comment or ask Umbert about your next weekend in Paris, and new etiquette advices, in the section below.
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Bon voyage !
Umbert De Paris