In the Australia, and most of the civilized world, people eat "continental style" which means fork in one hand, knife in the other, and the fork goes into your mouth prongs facing down with meat on them, and other stuff pushed onto the back of the fork. This is the way the judges on Masterchef and/or Top Chef eat.
Alternatively, most Americans eat "American style", cutting food, lying their knife down, moving their fork to the other hand, and finally taking a bite with the fork-- prongs facing up.
Eating American Style at a table full of Australians is uncomfortable, awkward, and clumsy looking. The Aussies easily cut and eat their food without all the stopping, starting, and cutlery swapping.
And sometimes at a restaurant I give it a try, I really do-- but it's not pretty, I'm like a fumbling idiot. Putting a fork into your mouth upside-down is hard, the angling is off, and I know I look like a complete freak. Making matters worse, my husband, the great assimilator, has successfully switched styles. Now I'm alone at the table being all American-awkward and weird. What the hell is my problem?
These two handy videos below demonstrate how to eat both ways. Incidentally, Cute Little Manners Lady, the star of both videos, is based out of my hometown area-- maybe she does private lessons?
This is Continental Style of eating used in most of the world:
This is the American Style of eating used in the U.S. and possibly responsible for feelings of dining-isolation amongst American expats worldwide:
I am left with a few quesions:
Would it be easy for an Aussie to eat American Style?
Do other Americans switch to Continental Style with no problem?
Am I the only expat feeling like a jackass at the dinner table?
Who thinks they're agile and graceful enough to switch their eating style?
I double-dog-dare you to eat the way you're not accustomed to. Videos of your attempts are welcome and can be emailed to email@example.com.
If you send me a video, I will post it and make you an international superstar.