Table Etiquette: Is Savagery relative or absolute (when it comes to food)?!

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Travelling Soldier 4 years, 10 months ago.

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    Travelling Soldier

    What essential good is table etiquette (or any other kind)?! In fact, are you absolutely sure that what etiquette is good for you is also good for ANYONE you meet ANYWHERE in the world, if that person does not consider necessarily obliging you with etiquette to your own?!

    In fact, this reminds me of another post of mine in which in paragraph 6 or so I once again mentioned my fervent belief in the relative nature of life itself:

    So where were we?

    Yes, etiquette! I believe that as long as someone is not invading your space or physically contimating or polluting your food (which are ‘not’ relative, but absolute things, and practically immune from the theory of relativity!), then there is no reason why you should condemn the way they eat and deem them to lack table etiquette, just because their ‘manner’ of eating ‘upsets’ your tender soul.

    I think we as a society and human race should, in general, learn to be more tolerant, especially when it comes to leaving someone to enjoy their meal ‘the best way they know how’!!

    I mean, regardless of whether you considered yourself following table etiquette or not, if someone asked you to change the way you ate, would that change not perhaps at least to some extent spoil your experience with your food?! I think the answer to that is quite an obvious ‘yes’!

    If you’ve eaten with a fork and spoon all your life and were compelled to eat with your hand all of a sudden, would that not make you at least somewhat uncomfortable and uneasy with your food and in turn, ruin your enjoyment of your lunch/dinner/breakfast/etc.?!

    What I say is live and let live, unless someone is in the absolute wrong at the table, and there is not theory of relativity involved. Like for example, if someone is spitting and talking at the table while eating food together, if someone is constantly nudging you in the ribs while eating without realizing they are doing so just be they way they are sat at the table, if someone is making a real mess of the food and actually spoiling the food for the rest of the guests to taste, if someone is being unhygienic and digging their nose at the table while eating socially. These are clear cases of interfering with the way you enjoy your own food in a peaceful, hygienic and clean environment. Therefore, these examples cannot really be put to the test of the theory of relativity, just like robbery, stealing, killing and the likes are not relatively bad but absolute ‘wrong’ regardless of which angle you look at these things or who the person is that looks at these things.

    So, all-in-all, as long as you don’t start flinging food in my face or spitting all over the table or flinging your hair all over the food or nudging me in the ribs with your elbows, or anything similar, then I am perfectly fine whatever manner you choose to dine with me with and whatever according to you is table etiquette according to you even though it may not be regarded as the ‘official’ table etiquette (which does not take into account the theory of relativity)!

    So the next time you call someone a pig for the way they eat at your table, please think again! They may be a pig to you, but to them, you may just be a pig too! That’s the theory of relativity in full-play. So unless they are either physically or in any other way seriously invading your space and food-experience, please refrain from looking at someone in a derogatory fashion simply because they don’t eat ‘your way’. Call me a ‘radical’, but then again that could once more be just ‘relative’.



    Emotional topic, with a lot of passion! 🙂

    But yes, reading this topic might be useful for those who visit India for the first time. There are some differences in table etiquette over here. For example, in most restaurants and cafes they don’t serve you a fork and a knife, like you would expect when ordering uttapam, for example ( or a meat dish. Instead, you’ll be given a fork and a spoon, but the edges of the spoon is usually rather sharp, so it can be used as a knife if needed.

    Also, most people in India wouldn’t touch the food with their left hand, but nobody is going to lecture you or to give you a scornful look if you do – it’s obvious that you’re from a different culture.

    It’s also not unusual when people eat rice with their hands instead of a fork or a spoon – to be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever adopt this manner, and it’s rather unpleasant for me when someone does it in my presence, but I’m working in this direction :))


    Travelling Soldier

    @anna-marine: That is a great piece of input from your end about the topic, Anna!

    I know, it’s not just one particular country that has it’s rules about table etiquette (like, England, for example). Even in India, there are certain rules, like you quite rightly mentioned about not eating with the left hand.

    But like I’ve already in some form or shape mentioned before, the only rule I believe in while eating food, is having no rules and just being sensible and understanding to the one you’re eating with. And as long as you’re not infringing the other person’s space or being unhygienic and as long as you’re following general universal codes of conduct (which apply not just while eating but to life in general), then there is not need for you to follow any PARTICULAR rule or FORMAT for eating at a table, or on the floor, or in a cave in the middle of the mountains, or under a waterfall (or anywhere really)!

    I am a bit of a freelance thinker and my thoughts can at times come across alien to another’s mind, but I believe in the free-thought policy and the ability to think even when no one else believes in doing so – going against the world’s point of view simply because you know and they aren’t convincing enough to change your mind!

    I guess this free-thinking ideology is probably completely annihilated by the time one finishes her/his schooling in one of our beautiful extra-ordinary schools in India.

    In fact, why not check out the link below to get to know more about what Indian schools can be like:

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