Finger Foods and Table Manners

Sorry I’ve been MIA for four days. I was in Pittsburgh to see a friend who is in town on business. I hadn’t seen him in 17 years, but the minute I saw him, it was like I just saw him yesterday. I love when that happens.

Anyway, this isn’t a blog about meeting old friends, although if I shared a photo of him with you, I’m almost positive you’d want to know more about him – hehe. He’s gotten even better looking with age, if that is possible. One word: Greek. Yeah.

Anyway, so I was thinking last night (as I dragged a piece of steamed broccoli through the parmesan cheese on my plate with my fingers and stuck it in my mouth) about my table manners and how I’m probably the worst offender when it comes to not using utensils.

“Does this seem barbaric to you?” I asked my husband, my mouth full and spewing a few bits of green in the air (another bad habit).

I should know better than to ask him questions like that. It’s like saying, “Do these jeans make me look like I have an ass?” He’s not sure what I want to hear and so he has to think about his answer at great length, weighing the pros and cons of yes or no. Sometimes he just ignores me, which is probably best, and last night he just asked if he could eat the last Boca burger.

“Sure,” I said, licking my fingers.

Forks are overrated, and when a utensil is absolutely necessary, I find a spoon, a butter knife or a soup ladle can feed me just as well. Case in point: it’s possible to scoop up and eat from the container sugar-free, fat-free Blue Bunny Brownie Sundae Ice Cream with a butcher knife. True story.

Foods I consider finger foods include, but are not limited to: cooked or raw asparagus; artichokes; cooked or raw snap peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes; peas; green beans; all roasted vegetables including potatoes; strawberries; cantaloupe; all berries; veggie burgers with or without a bun; potato salad; cucumber salad; corn (and I don’t mean the kind on the cob); some kinds of coleslaw; and most types of pasta.

If you’re easily embarrassed, you really don’t want to eat with me.

I used to always use a fork for everything fork-worthy. When I became a vegetarian, I stopped caring. I’m sure it’s just me because I know many vegetarians who still have proper table manners. I figure as long as I have a napkin handy, I’m good to go.

I’m usually pretty good in restaurants, but sometimes when the conversation is rolling along and I’ve had a glass of wine, I’ll start eating mashed potatoes with my fingers, or I’ll dig the tomatoes and cucumbers out of my salad (or my dining partner’s) and pop them in my mouth without benefit of a utensil.

Is that wrong?

Don’t answer that.

Before I forget, I want to recommend my new favorite snacky things (and these little gems are meant to be eaten with your fingers). I’m really loving Altoids Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints (2 mints are 15 calories, .5 grams fat) and York Mints (3 mints are 10 calories, no fat). They’re like heavenly little pick-me-ups during the day. I keep tins of them in my car, my purse and in my file cabinet in my office.

Back to my finger-licking issue. I’m probably having dinner this week with my Greek friend before he flies back to San Francisco. I think I’ll write a note on the palm of my hand, “Use a fork!” I’m pretty sure he’d not understand why I was eating grilled portabellas with my fingers.

Can you send me some Emily Post vibes? I’d really appreciate it.

12 thoughts on “Finger Foods and Table Manners

  1. Lynn eating with your fingers is fine, at least your not eating your Snickers bar with a fork! (If you are a Seinfeld fan you’ll understand that joke)

  2. Absolutely NO offense meant – I do this finger eating too – ALL the time.Your listing all the veggies made me smile – especially the asparagus – because I related to that (and at least we’re eating lots of veggies).But why I am apologizing in advance – and hesitating to mention – IS – I think I have read that this finger eating is associated with eating disordered behavior. I looked for a link but couldn’t find one. I don’t know where I read this – but I am pretty sure that I have read it (several places).So, yes, I eat with (mostly everything but soup) my fingers too and I always wonder about it.

  3. I was reading an article on weight loss sometime this week. I wish I could remember where I read the article. It was saying to eat like a 3 year old and savor your foods. Be picky like a 3 year old and USE YOUR HANDS, smell your food, etc. I thought it was an interesting concept to get really into your food. I do use my fingers for asparagus, but few others. I might try to use them more to see what happens.

  4. I thought that asparagus (and most other food actually) was finger food! It’s hard because the hubby will reprimand the daughter (who’s 7 years) to use her utensils, so I really try to be a good example, but truly our fingers are the most reliable utensils we have!Oh, I bought a scale yesterday. Digital (my old one isn’t). Thought of your blog about weighing things. I mentioned your entry to my sister who has dusted off her scale again. You inspire.

  5. I used to eat Jif peanut butter from the jar using Kit Kat bars as utensils… 🙂Hey I have been loving those dark chocolate ALtoids since December! They make a GREAT “dessert” when you have no calories left for the day but need a sweet. Also may I humbly reccomend Nestle Chocolate Parfait Nips. OMG heaven… hard candy (caramel) with a REAL chocolate center. A long lasting, 30-calorie dessert.

  6. Whew! So I’m not the slob I thought I was. Our ancestors ate with their fingers, right? Why not me? I thought about the Snickers skit when I wrote the blog. I’ve NEVER been that anal (and I can be pretty puckery sometimes). Vickie, it’s interesting about the whole eating disorder possibility when eating with our fingers, and then to get a completely different point of view from Tara about the “eat like a kid” thing. I love how nothing is really concrete. We’re all so individual. No blanket statements or studies work with finger eating, I think. Lyn, I use graham crackers to scoop up SF/FF chocolate pudding. I totally forgot about that little habit. I love how something as mundane as eating with our fingers brings us all together. Group hug! LOL

  7. I saw the movie Tom Jones in college and the only thing I took away from it was how sensual eating with your hands can be (which I’m sure was NOT the point they were trying to make at the Presbyterian nunnery on the hill but I was 18 and had an active imagination – and hormones to match). Nowadays, I’m afraid, it’s less about sensuality and more about practicality. Anything that causes me to have less dishes to wash is okay in my book!

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