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Digital Dining

ONE.  Why is it that in formal dining, the only food we universally eat with our fingers is bread? Is there a reason why we don’t cut it up with a fork and knife like everything else?


TWO.  The Catholic Church once frowned on the growing use of forks in Italy in the 16th Century, complaining that forks were an affront to god who gave us perfectly good fingers for eating.


THREE.  Fingers are, however, a poor tool for measuring the temperature of a bottle of wine when it is presented at the table.  Better to use the more-sensitive back of your hand.


FOUR.  Perhaps the reason I often prefer to eat with my fingers instead of silverware is that the latter remind me too much of the farm instruments of my youth – the fork, the shovel and the saw.


FIVE.  If party finger foods – canapés – are sticky, are we allowed to discreetly lick or suck our fingers?  Or does it depend on who our companions are?  (I’ve yet to figure this out.)


SIX.  By the way, whatever happened to finger bowls? Or Moroccan restaurants?


SEVEN.  If I’m eating with my fingers in Europe, do I have to use my left hand?


EIGHT.  My rule of thumb – or, rather, of fingers – is to use my fingers if my mind calculates it’s easier to retrieve a bite of something that way than with a fork and knife.  I’m highly skilled at these calculations.


NINE. Is the next great exploration for chefs in designing dishes as to how they want us to eat them and with what?  Is that the reason my knife often disappears from the table between courses?


TEN.  Will a server somehow feel empowered to slap my hand if I continue to ignore the silverware?

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