The world really is going to hell in a soup tureen. Yep, you heard me. According to a recent survey (hey, I don't make these thing up) good table manners have become a thing of the past. Horror of hors d-oeuvres, can you imagine? Personally, I think Colonel Sanders and his finger lickin' good chicken is to blame for the downfall of civil mastication. On the upside he saved us all from washing the utensils over and over again. But I digress.
A study of British diners by Bisto found that a quarter of people surveyed believe table manners are not important. Oh, British dinners. Have you seen the food they eat? When you subsist on a diet of bangers and mash that could help explain things.
Listen to this. 44% of those polled say they start their food before others arrive at the table. Another 38% regularly answer phone calls while they are eating. Why? Don't they know it's just a telemarketer at the other end of the line? This number does not include my wife who would be among the per cent of people who read e-mails on their blackberries during a meal. What? I'm not entertaining enough? I digress again.
33% admitted to not thinking twice about stealing food off other people's plates.
Here's a few things that weren't included in the survey - some food faux pas as it were - although they've been known to happen in my house, and I'd be curious to know how prevalent these activities are.
Loading up with salt and pepper without tasting your meal.
The old border-house reach as opposed to "Could you please pass the brussel sprouts."
Lifting the soup bowl to one's lips to sip the last drop of pottage.
Licking of the dinner plate.
Putting your plate on the floor so the family dog can clean up your leftovers.
Scraping the vegetables you don't like onto your spouse's plate when they're not looking.
Eating ribs, drumsticks or refried beans with your fingers.
Loud, satisfied passings of air out of any number of orifices without so much as an "Oops, excuse me" or "Ah, now that was good, dear."
I confess except for feeding food to the dog, as we don't have one, I have at one time or another (hey not at the same meal, what do you think I am?) undertaken all of these.
Miss Manners would roll over in her grave...if she were dead. And if she's not, she wouldn't last long at my house.