At Christmas, our extended family used different eating styles including Canadian (switching knife and fork), British (fork in your left hand, knife in your right) and Filipino (fork and spoon).

I was taught to use Canadian table manners at home and in restaurants, unless eating at restaurants of different ethnicities. Is this outdated?

I noticed that you had an earlier article about someone concerned about a dinner at his boss’ house. Do you think that table manners will affect the way that person is perceived? (I personally think so, but again, perhaps I’m old-fashioned.)

Also, do I use Canadian table manners when travelling?

 

Thanks for your consideration, – Laura Cogill

Dear Ms. Cogill,

As you well know, table manners are a big thing for me, not because I’m such a formal person, but rather because I adamantly believe that we are judged socially and professionally by the way we conduct ourselves at the table.

As to your question, it is absolutely correct in North America to eat in either of the two styles you describe — Canadian (correctly called American style) and British (correctly called Continental style).

Where Filipino style is concerned (which I just experienced last week while I was in the Philippines), while not wrong to use it in the Philippines or when eating in a Filipino restaurant, it is preferred that American or Continental methods be used while eating in North America.

Remember the expression “when in Rome ...”

• Got a question? Send an Email to askcharlesthebutler@metronews.ca

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