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 Is this outdated?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.
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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 ...”
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