Etiquette expert: ‘It’s fine to eat with your fingers, but don’t lick them clean!’
November 29, 2012
Debrett’s has published new guidelines for eating with your hands:
‘FINGER FOOD: THE DOS AND DON’TS OF EATING WITH YOUR HANDS’
In our more informal times, it is acceptable to eat certain foods with your hands. The aim should be to create as little mess as possible.
1 – It is sensible to cut large items into manageable-sized pieces that can be supported with both hands. Always put the food down on your plate between bites.
2 – When eating with your hands it can be tempting to hunch over your plate. Try to sit up straight, don’t intrude into your neighbour’s space and never put your elbows on the table.
3 – If your food is too hot to touch it will be too hot to eat; avoid over-the-top blowing on your food to cool it down. Be patient.
4 – When eating with your hands, it is better to take plenty of small bites. This will avoid any excess mess or possible overspill of any filling. If the filling spills onto the plate, use your fork to eat it -don’t pick it up with your fingers.
5 – Make use of your napkin. Place your napkin on your lap, don’t tuck it into your shirt or collar. Wipe your hands as you need to, but remember it’s likely to be a bit messy. If your hands get food on them, try to avoid licking your fingers clean.
6- If you get food on your lips, dab the corners of your mouth with your napkin as necessary during the meal. Don’t make grand wiping gestures. When you’ve finished, leave your napkin unfolded beside your plate.
7- Never wipe your mouth with your hand or talk with your mouth full – even if you have a conversational gem up your sleeve.
8 – Even if all your fellow diners have chosen to eat with their hands, it is perfectly acceptable to use a knife and fork if you wish.
9 – Eating with your hands is a relaxed and convivial style of dining, but don’t let your standards slip. Remember your manners.
10 – Never use your phone at the table.