French Table Manners Matter...

Old Nov 11th, 2015, 08:34 PM
  #221  
 
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Maybe this will work better than my description for those of you who have the stamina to pursue this inquiry. Attached is a link to a silver set by Tetrads that is not mine, nor does it resemble it, but the knife has the same treatment of the mark on the blade. So hopefully it will give you an idea.

Thanks again

http://www.ebay.fr/itm/TETARD-FRERES...-/261979042660
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 09:13 PM
  #222  
 
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If you google "elegant place settings" and look at the photos, you will see that the knife blade <b>always</b> faces the plate.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 09:29 PM
  #223  
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I am NO expert, but it looks, from these photos, that the mark would be face up on ANY knife positioned in accordance with normal rules of etiquette.

One other thought: My mother also taught me that when in doubt, one should act as though what one is doing is EXACTLY what should be done, and to do so with grace and aplomb. ;-) Have a response ready if anyone questions you, e.g., "that's an interesting option... I'm sure you can appreciate that I chose to honor the tradition of [it seems you can go either way here!] ."

Looks like you have a gorgeous set of silver -- I hope you don't let your qualms about niceties interfere with your enjoyment of these lovely items!

I look forward to hearing any other guidance you receive! And I've put a question to a friend of mine who might know...
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 01:17 AM
  #224  
 
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When I was setting tables in our Salle Des Fetes, shortly after moving here (France) , I was told to put the fork tines down - formal silverware usually has the monogram on that side. Our village aluminum cutlery certainly doesn't have that, but still the custom lingers.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 04:07 AM
  #225  
 
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That's a butter knife, and should be placed on the butter plate. Here's a picture:

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/i...gIo6NIIv890I-F

Do you have one for each place setting? Often they are used as service pieces.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 02:14 PM
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I love of food is more important than a love of etiquette!
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 02:24 PM
  #227  
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I wonder if the edicate is the same for plastic ware? I've eaten many a French family meal but can't recall the fine points which in my in-laws may not be totally observed - I never got why they ate corn on the cob with a knife and fork or a slice of meal with a knife and fork - why not just use your ole hands - ah yes a no-no in French dining - may French son when young would even eat French fries at fast-food places with a fork!

And I always recall my in-laws saying (about ketchup, mayo, sweet sauces) "you Americans always like things so sweet" - shortly later the yoghurt came out for desert and they dumped a ton of raw sugar in it and the ubiquitous meal ending coffee too!
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 08:32 PM
  #228  
 
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Jtpj...not if it means others at the table are put off by someone eating like a pig...no one should care what fork a person uses etc, but basic etiquette like elbows off table, mouth shut when chewing, no reaching etc are just as important as good food to me..
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 08:32 PM
  #229  
 
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>>That's a butter knife<<

I'd doubt that - Most people w/ fine sterling (including prmbrown) do know which is the butter knife.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 08:55 PM
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I think you're right... looks like a fish knife to me, when you see in in proportion to the other pieces.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 06:57 AM
  #231  
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sayler - you said a mouthful there - lots of digest in those appetizing comments.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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Justine,

We must agree to disagree.

Had a lovely meal in France last night not "haute cuisine" but nicely prepared and the bonus of a couple of Frenchmen playing live music just a couple of feet from our table. As I mopped up the delicious sauce of my starter with some bread and thought about this thread, and how ridiculous most of it was!
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 08:24 AM
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Justine,

We must agree to disagree.

Had a lovely meal in France last night not "haute cuisine" but nicely prepared and the bonus of a couple of Frenchmen playing live music just a couple of feet from our table. As I mopped up the delicious sauce of my starter with some bread I thought about this thread, and how ridiculous most of it was!

(although I do agree with you about the mouth open thing!)
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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I am not sure what you are disagreeing about.. because I do not think you understand what I mean by etiquette.. basis etiquette to me is just being considerate.

Using your bread to mop up sauce is fine.. do you really think etiquette is all about being prissy and having your pinky out when sipping tea( could be to some folks I guess) or only using the correct fork for the correct course .I think basic etiquette is simply about being considerate of others.. reaching over folks is not considerate, chewing with mouth open we both agree is unpleasant for table mates, shoving your elbows into your seat partners space.. rude..

Once we get into the finer strict points of "correct" behaviour .. like knowing the difference between the fish knife and the butter knife.. well I think that's just getting nit picky and no one should be paying that much attention to how someone enjoys their meal.
I pick up my pizza in Italy and my fries in France.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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I am laughing about this. The "bread thing" has probably driven me the most nuts about this thread, jtpj777.

While I'd say the French are most likely to put the knife and fork are put into action (as opposed to we Americans who will try to eat a lot of stuff with our hands--I admit I LOVE to gnaw on asperagus!!! to the horror of all), from my consistent observation from bottom to high cuisine, the French know that their excellent bread is made to sop up great sauce.

Heck, good sauce takes time and skill to make!

Americans need butter on the table. The French do not.

Enough said.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 09:02 AM
  #236  
 
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Sayler
Truly your wife jerks you when at table ? (add uppercases where you see fit, I find it rude to write in upper case).

I read somewhere that a mayor of NYC got into trouble because he ate a pizza with fork and knife...

My mohter was taught to peel a pear with a knife and fork.

Things change with time, but I hope we carry on eating pizzas with a fork and knife (in Eurpoe at least, I was raised like that).

So I think some should refrain from comparing table manners from different countries. There is no contest but somebody not obsvergin the local rule is going to be looked upon...

When in China 2 weeks ago, I saw everybody eating fish with the head, bones, skin and then spitting out the remains in their bowls.

No problem of etiquette. If I don't like it, I just go elswhere...
But in France, if you do so, you'll be considered as one of the most disgusting persons to eat with.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 09:41 AM
  #237  
 
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Fine Justine,

I agree to agree with you!

Just amused by all the talk about which way up forks should be etc,etc, hence my comment about enjoying food over etiquette!
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 09:50 AM
  #238  
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the French know that their excellent bread is made to sop up great sauce.>

Well in my in-laws family meals the bread is used to clean off the plate no matter what is on it - they make awful sauces and call themselves terrible cooks in general but the bread is ubiquitously used to clean off the plate IME regardless of if there is any sauce on it or whatever.
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 09:54 AM
  #239  
 
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>>I love of food is more important than a love of etiquette!<<

>>Just amused by all the talk about which way up forks should be etc,etc, hence my comment about enjoying food over etiquette!<<

Just because someone has fine things and would like to know how they are used traditionally doesn't mean they don't enjoy food or are snobs (which you seem to imply)
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Old Nov 13th, 2015, 10:00 AM
  #240  
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Yes indeedy I concur with janisj but also appreciate those who want to know the etiquette but the two can be separated from each other.

I think for the average foreign visitor who is eating in a French home or nice restaurant should try to 'obey' the basic rules of etiquette - like not pulling off a chunk of bread but cutting it nicely, etc.
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