French etiquette, how to eat that complicate plates Part 2

There are several differences between the French table manners and American dinner etiquette. Table manners in France are fundamental to every public dining situation. And every essential skill has to be built on a solid knowledge base. For French’s dining is more than just consuming calories, it is an Art de Vivre, a part of the partimoine culture. There is a proper technique for eating everything from asparagus to fish or dessert… 

1. Fish
Cutlery: Fish cutlery.
Use your fish fork and fish knife. Do not use a normal knife. You should never bring the fish knife towards your mouth. Try and remove all of the bones from your fish before eating it. If you have to remove a bone from your mouth, do so discretely and preferably by placing it on your fork and then on the edge of the plate. If you do not have a fish knife on the table use a small peace of bread, but not a normal knif

2. Meat
Cutlery: big knife, big fork.
Use your knife and fork to cut your meat and remove the bones. Obviously, you don’t gnaw on the bones with your hands.

3. Caviar
• With toast
Cutlery: small knife, entremets fork, small spoon.
Break off a piece of toast with your hands and butter it with the small knife. Take the small spoon and place enough caviar for a mouthful, add several drops of lemon juice and place in your mouth. The entremets fork may be used to push the caviar onto the small spoon.
• With blinis
Cutlery: small spoon, small knife, entremets fork.
Put some crème fraîche on the blinis and spread with your fish knife. Then, still with the small spoon, spread the caviar. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice. Then use your fork and fish knife to cut a piece of the blinis that you bring to your mouth with the fork.

4. Asparagus
Cutlery: a fork.
There are two ways to eat asparagus:
One, irreproachable, to use in official or rather formal meals. The other, more simple, that can be used for family meals or informal situations. This said, if you’re invited to a friend’s home, the hostess indicates the way to eat them. You adopt the manner that she uses.
• The elegant way
Delicately hold the fibrous end of the asparagus in your left hand. Then, with your fork in your right hand, cut the tip of the asparagus that you dip in the sauce (vinaigrette, hollandaise…). Use your fork to take the piece of prepared asparagus to eat. You can also use a piece of bread. Above all, never use your knife.
• The simple way
Take your asparagus in your right hand and dip the green end in the sauce. Bite the vegetable as delicately as possible. Be careful as the sauce can stain.

5. All vegetables
Cutlery: a big fork.
Vegetables are eaten with a fork. You only use your knife if you have to remove the skin (stuffed tomatoes, jacket potatoes, etc.).

6. Deserts
Cutlery: Desert fork and spoon.
Eat your desert with the fork. The spoon should only be used to push the desert on the fork and to drink the cream or topping if there is one. The same is true with tarts. It’s elegant to only use your fork.

Chantal - Children

Bonjour, my name is Chantal. I’m often told that I’m “so French”. This is, in part, due to my traditional upbringing in Versailles, one of the most conservative cities in France, famous for its chateau, good schools and large families. I have three daughters. They’re model children, cheerful, nice and really fashionable. I’m in Paris almost every afternoon for my charity work and I still work part-time as a dance teacher. When the occasion presents itself, I teach etiquette to children at school. I’ll try and explain why my children get so many compliments.    

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