Friday, September 2, 2011

Adventures in Cultery

While we make many efforts to blend in here in Dornoch, there are a plethora of things that mark us as not being local folks. Partly just our appearance, we are tall, wear tennies a lot, our clothes are a bit different, and once we open our mouths there's no question. But even if we dressed the part and never spoke, our use of cutlery would give us away at the first bite.

When you sit down in a restaurant, there are various utensils at your spot. Sometimes wrapped in paper napkins, sometimes laid out in a manner that would have my Grandmother Fisk clucking in approval. Once you order, there is a very efficient whisking away of utensils that will likely not be used with what you ordered, soon to be replaced with what you likely will use with your meal. Given that I don't know what to use with what, and my little mouth makes me not use soup spoons at all if I've a choice, this can be somewhat disconcerting. The only thing I remember learning about cutlery is knife and spoon on the right, fork on the left. The rest was a mystery (said Grandmother can be noted rolling in her grave, she tried so hard to teach me manners). There are wee spoons for tea, spoons that I call teaspoons for whatever, soup spoons, dessert spoons, several varieties of forks, and knives of many different shapes and sizes, all coming and going with great efficiency during the course of a meal. And who knew that the cutting edge of the knife is to face inward?

Then there is the fish knife. The fish knife looks very much like a large butter knife. Despite the fact that there was a butter knife on the butter plate (don't even get me started on the glasses and dishes), both Stan and I proceeded to butter our bread with this giant butter knife and poke at our fish with our forks to remove the bones. At least this took place in the home of a friend and we weren't in public.

But it's our actual use of forks and knives that is the giveaway. We tend to cut with our knife, set knife aside, switch hands with the fork, and use the fork to eat. Here they are far more efficient, and it's almost an Edward Scissorhands use of utensils. No changing of hands, the knife becomes something entirely different, almost a spoonfork combo, and the bothersome changing of hands never occurs. It's a blur of effiency, something I've watched 2 year olds perform with ease. I've tried it, but I end up shooting food in odd directions and putting clothing and tablecloths in great danger. None of the smooth, utensils as extensions of hands for me.

Tonight we've been invited for fondue. Oh dear . . .

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