Manners maketh a wo-man

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 26 November 2007

Dear bloggers,

Thank you for your contribution this week.

The Self Sufficiency show came and went. Now you know how hard it is to keep up the momentum. This weeks homework is ETIQUETTE.

You, and food and manners. I heard a wonderful talk from Lisa Jardin, who quoted her favourite intellectual hero MARAGART DOUGLAS, who said that it's the displacement of matter that deemed something clean or dirty. In other words a towel in the bath room is clean, whilst a towel slung over the settee is dirty. Likewise shoes on the floor are clean, whilst shoes on the table are dirty.

Well the displacement of matter in my home felt totally unlike the displacement of matter any where else. In my youth shouting and screaming over dinner was de rigeur, eating a lot and talking with your mouth full was perfectly acceptable. Nobody left anything for Mr. Manners in my house, my father had chased him away years before.

When I was placed next to the Head Mistress at lunch, in my snobby little school I attended for 2 years, we were served rice and prunes. Discarding the prune pips became so intensely embarrassing that, even now, the mere sight of a shrivelled plum can have me quaking in my slippers.

How DO YOU get rid of a prune stone.

Spit it?

Slide it?

Spoon it?

I know what I did. What would you do?

Next saturdays show will give us the definitive answer.

Thank you to Ms M. who blogged me about my mother. I wish your mother better.

And a BIG YOUSAR to all of you who, so far, have not let me down.

cul8tr.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At November 26, 2007 1:39 PM Nanny Clutterbuck wrote:

Jeni,
I'm sure you know this but, in Sweden, in the not so distant past, the host at a dinner party would toast the individual guests at the soiree. The guest could only drink when he or she was toasted. Thus, hopefully, the guests would mellow in unison. Strangely, the host and the guest would both have to make eye contact before and after the toast. Maybe it's the eyeballs that give it all away.
Rock on, Jen. xxx

2. At November 26, 2007 3:31 PM Jill wrote:

Hi Jeni

Not checked the blog site for a while but it's good to see you're still there blogging away. Watching - or rather listening- to your dulcet tones late afternoon - oh how we still miss you Jeni!
Ah well not long til the festive season proper now, been 'feeding' the cake and crying over the blown up central heating boiler and the engine problems with the little motor - Oh when does it all end??

Hey ho, keep blogging Jeni.
J -x-

3. At November 26, 2007 5:40 PM chrissie Twickenham wrote:

Hi Jeni,
Nice programme. Thanks.

Have a question for next week but not sure its what you are looking for. Its not so much about manners but about glasses. No Jeni! Not can I wear specs when meeting the royals but where do you put glasses at a dinner party. Do you start as with silverware, at the side and work in but if so where does the glass of water go? Would be nice to have the answer from a butler.
Don't want to call in for a while as I'm not too good at the radio thing and it isn't the "Jeni and Chrissie show" however nice that would be!!!

As ever
Chrissie x x

4. At November 26, 2007 9:19 PM chrissie Twickenham wrote:

P.S.
Thanks for the YOUSAR and I am so pleased its a big one but what is it? Am I too old to know or too young to be told?
Chrissie x x x

5. At November 27, 2007 4:04 AM SiamSuzie wrote:

Howdy Jeni,

One thing I have noticed about manners since living in Thailand is the sharing of food.

If you go in a bar and the staff are eating they will always ask if you if you would like to share their food. I have been in shops and if one is eating they offer me food!

This went to the extent of one day finding ourselves in a Police Station due to a small traffic accident (I must state here the Thai's are the worse drivers I have ever come across. We lived in Spain for 20 years before moving to Thailand and I thought they were bad, but oh deary me no, you ain't seen nothing like the driving here)

Anyway, we were in the cop shop awaiting an insurance guy and the Sgt. came in and offered us his dinner, I can't imagine that anywhere else.

If I'm hungry the last thing on my mind is sharing my dinner, it'd be like getting a bone off a hungry dog, you just don't do it!

Another query for you is, is it dinner or is it tea. Let me explain. I'm from up North and its tea, that's the meal I eat at night, dinner is eaten at dinner time. Now if you're from down South your tea becomes dinner and dinner becomes lunch.

I now live in a country where that goes out the window and the just 'eat' 5-6 times a day. No breakfast dinner, tea here it be rice or noodles at ANY time of the day, and lots of chili all the way.

Be Good,

Caroline
Thailand.

6. At November 27, 2007 10:27 AM Glenn wrote:

Hi Jeni!
just a very quick blog picking up on Nanny's comment. Here in Germany it is considered bad manners not to have eye contact when toasting (drinks, not bread!). If you "Prost" with someone and don't look them in the eye, it is considered 7 years bad sex. All I can say is I'm looking forward to the year 2025, when my cumulative curses will be finally lifted!
Prost from Hamburg (oh no! there's another 7 years..scheisse!), Glenn

7. At November 27, 2007 9:44 PM chanette wrote:

Hi Jeni,
just at thought, re SiamSuzie, does this mean that dinner ladies in the south are ladies wot lunch?????
I worked as a supervisor in a very expensive prep school in the midlands for a while and spent most of my time teaching 5 & 6 year olds how to hold and use a knife and fork, surely this should be taught from home?????
My kids and my grandbabies all know how to eat properly, but I wonder if we are in a minority
We have a proper dining table! Does this maybe make a difference!!!
Keep up the blogs, we love them
chanette

8. At November 29, 2007 9:03 PM Anthony wrote:

Hi Jeni

Haven´t been able to listen for the last few weeks as we´ve had family and friends here, have just been reading the blog ! Manners, don´t know if this is the sort of thing that you want, but I considered this as extremely bad manners, especially in company!

Me and my wife had been invited to a rather posh Wedding on the South Coast. We arranged for a baby sitter for the kids and made a weekend of it!

The wedding went ahead without a hitch, canopes were being offered together with loads of champage we all started to get into the scheme of things!

We all sat down for the wedding breakfast, we were seated with a couple of our friends from the midlands, together with a young professional couple from the capital

After the meal the desert arrived which looked lovely, from memory it was a tart of some description with a raspberry coulé. At the end, posh lady did no more than pick up the plate and start licking the remainder of the said coulé . She then proceeded to do the same with husbands!

We all just sat there in stunned silence as couldn´t believe what we had just seen.

Anthony.

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.