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How do Europeans handle the saying of Grace at the American table?

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Perhaps this topic should be on the United States board, or the Forum, but the subject was brought up on the European Forum in a discussion of French table manners. One of the posters, talking about universal good manners, said that no one should begin eating before Grace was said. St. Cirq responded that the concept of Grace said before meals would be considered really weird in France and in most of the rest of the world.

I agree, and find the practice of saying Grace in the States before a meal an extremely uncomfortable experience. I'm American, but a non-believer, so I just sit silently until the ordeal is over. I, however, refuse to participate in the practice of joining hands around the table while the blessing in given. If nothing else, I feel it rather unsanitary to grab someones hand just before I eat. I know I washed my hands, but ---

In any case, I am fearful of offending my host, but I feel they are making unwarranted assumptions about the feelings/beliefs of their guests.

In any case, what is the experience of our European brethren when subjected to this ritual when eating in an American home?

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