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Eating Etiquette

Belton, Missouri
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Eating Etiquette

My wife and I are going to Paris for the first time in July 2013. I have read these forums (and others) voraciously and value the experienced advice. However, my wife has asked a question I have not seen addressed so here it is:

In the U.S. we eat pizza, ribs, fried chicken and other foods with our fingers/hands. Is this acceptable in Paris? Are there food considered "finger/hands foods"?

Obviously any sandwich would fall into this category, we're mainly interested in how this applies to eating in a restaurant.

Advice?

Kaua'i, HI
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1. Re: Eating Etiquette

Aloha from Kaua'i!

I don't know if this was considered "correct" or not - but when we were in Paris a couple of week ago - my husband did eat a fair amount of pizza and he did use his hands - it looked as if others were doing the same.

Also "frites" (aka fries) - I definitely used my hands for those.

Oh, and I definitely used my hands to pick up the mussels that I had in profusion as well - to then pick out the meat with a fork and deposit the shells in a container provided (sometimes the pot lid they came in)....

Malama Pono, (take care)

Janet

Victoria, Canada
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2. Re: Eating Etiquette

Most chicken in restos will be baked or roasted , never saw fried except in KFC lol so forks and knife fare. I personally eat pizza with a fork and knife unless its to go. I sometimes pick at my fries with hands, and sometimes use a fork , depends, if just having something uber casual at a cafe , then pick at fries with hands, if in restaurant having a nicer dinner I would use fork. Fries are a very common side dish even in nicer places( not talking starred here though, lol )

Illinois
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3. Re: Eating Etiquette

It's been my experience that pizza is usually eaten with knife and fork, and French fries with a fork. (Granted, I fudge on that one a bit when no one's looking.) But it might depend on the situation.

I've never figured out how to eat a mussel in the shell without using my hand to pick them up. And, since they usually provide the disposable hand towelette along with the mussels, I assume it's okay to do this.... ;>)

Edited: 6:50 pm, October 06, 2012
Val-de-Marne, France
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4. Re: Eating Etiquette

Here is how to eat mussels: leon-de-bruxelles.fr/la-carte/comment-manger…

(click on the English flag if needed). I always do it as in the first picture, using a small shell as tongs.

Edited: 7:04 pm, October 06, 2012
Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Eating Etiquette

A major pet hate of mine is when people use their fingers and then lick them while they're eating or worse afterward.. Yuk, yuk, yuk...... so impolite and disgusting.

I feel like slapping them and saying didn't your mother teach you how to use manners in public.

I use forks if possible, if on the go I use fingers and never lick them afterward, that's what serviettes are for.

Kaua'i, HI
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6. Re: Eating Etiquette

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Well, we never ate at a "nice" restaurant in the 2 weeks we were there - just casual cafes for lunch - so maybe we weren't too "gauche" in using hands for fries or pizza!

I have to say that the first time I ate the mussels - I looked around and watched how others ate them, since I've never had them before - so I just copied them........I never saw anyone eat their "frites" at lunch with a fork (and I was looking, believe me!) - but again - maybe casual cafes at lunch aren't so formal.

But......never.....did I lick my fingers! LOL

Malama Pono (take care)

Janet

Paris, France
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7. Re: Eating Etiquette

While I do eat pizza with a knife and fork in France, it is considered completely acceptable to eat french fries with one's fingers in many places (like Léon de Bruxelles). Of course if you go to a place like Pizza Hut for pizza in Paris, you can certainly pick it up same as back home.

In most modern circles of French friends, I have found that there are a variety of ways of eating, same items at the same table. Some people can actually peel shrimp with a knife and fork or never touch a chicken bone, while the person sitting next to them does the opposite -- but nobody minds if you are not in a snooty restaurant. You just eat your natural way and it is fine.

Belton, Missouri
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8. Re: Eating Etiquette

Thanks to everyone for their replies. I won't worry as both my wife and I do know and use our manners when out it public. At home, well that is sometimes a different story.

And to Mrs. French Mystique, I may have to try the mussels at Leon's, they look great!

Kaua'i, HI
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9. Re: Eating Etiquette

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Oh my - the mussels in Paris are sooo good! How did I get this far in life without having them before? Yummo!

We have them here in Hawai'i, but they are entirely different from the ones I had in Paris.....

Malama Pono (take care)

Janet

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Eating Etiquette

Yes Rob J, in private it's OK to chew, chomp, lick and eat as you please as you have said you well know but please people, in public, some courtesy while dining is much appreciated.

(i'm referring to some people, not all)...thank you.

Edited: 2:43 am, October 07, 2012