The simplest things matter the most. Like nice table manners when one dines or snacks. I wonder these days what has happen to the importance of manners. What parents are teaching their children now and why it is really sad to see so many with more then sloppy manners at the table.
There is the elbows on the table issue. Then the talking with a mouth full of food that no one wants to see in the process of being chomped for digestion. There is the really bad manner of beginning to eat before the hostess or host. Shoveling in before they can even take a seat or settle in. And then what is it about toothpicks. When did people think it ok to use those in public or at the table much less walk around with one in the corner of the mouth on the ready. It is the grossest thing, toothpicks.
I may be more sensitive to table manners then others however I feel it is only respectful of those sitting with me to share a meal. It just does not seem appropriate to smack my food or toss out words with food meshing around in my mouth. And elbows on the table just look plain sloppy and rude. My Dad had a big issue with the elbows and always told us if we were tired to go to bed.
It seems that people are hungry in some obscure way for graciousness since as a society we now so lack that very trait. Downton Abbey is a huge success Stateside and I bet it is as much the gracious, properness of the lifestyle as it is the storyline.
When I was in elementary school, my teacher took the time each week to teach us table manners. Some of us had those from home, however most did not. There were things she taught us that remain with me today and I hope with the others in my class as well.
The napkin in the lap when one is seated. The correct flow of silverware. The way to tilt your soup bowl away from you to spoon the remaining liquid. And definitely no talking and chewing or huge mouths full of food. Toothpicks were also to only be used in private. The bathroom seemed the appropriate place for those.
And another thing that my Dad did not allow was the mixing of all the food together regardless of how wonderful peas with mashed potatoes may taste. One could take a little potato on their fork and then add a bit of peas if the mixture was desire.
The whole process and thought of table manners is really a rather civilized thing to do. The dinner seems to flow better, taste better and much more enjoyable with there is not so much sloppiness.
Oh and then there is the talking on the iphone while scooping food in one’s mouth. What is all that about. If I am eating alone and a friend phones who I want to speak with, I set my fork down and talk. So be it if the dinner is cold when the conversation ends. To talk with a friend has priority even if I am alone. Over dinner it means I don’t take calls nor should anyone else. Nor should they talk with their mouth full or pick their teeth with a toothpick…or play with their food. It is just not nice. Just not appropriate and down right rude.
So I long for graciousness again when we dine. Graciousness among us all. Graciousness in the little things like table manners. Perhaps that properness, that graciousness demonstrated in Downton Abbey even by those who serve, will edge over to influence even more. Perhaps it will be something everyone does out of consideration for those who dine with them or near them.
I so hope because I so miss graciousness.