Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Mess Hall Rules

The first fight my husband and I ever had was over a baked potato.  Can you believe that?  A baked potato.   Looking back all these years later, it seems kind of ridiculous but at the time that baked potato was the end of the world!  My husband went to school at a military college and spent some time in the United States Air Force.  He's a pretty regimented guy.  He's also really good at ironing!  Right after we were first married I made a dinner with a baked potato as the side.  So, like anyone else on the planet, I picked up my knife, cut the potato open and proceeded to dress it with butter and sour cream.  That's when Mr. Emily Post spoke up, "You're not supposed to use a knife.  You are supposed to use your fork to open a baked potato."  WHY?  Because that's how they did it in military school.  This led to quite a debate, and I'm sure by the end of it I didn't even want that darned potato.  Now, of course we laugh about it and these days, I would never dream of using my knife to open a baked potato. 
On the same note as my husband's military dining hall rules, did you know that George Washington authored and copied by hand, George Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation?  Some of the rules might be considered outdated, but some are just plain good manners.  Many though, are becoming more and more difficult to find in our modern society.  It might do us all some good to review them, for the good of all and the sake of living together.

Here are a few of these rules as related to food and drink:
(note I typed these EXACTLY as written)
#90     Being Sat at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there's a Necessity for it...

#91     Make no Show of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediniess; cut your Bread with Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.

#92     Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.

#93     Entertaining any one at the table, it is decent to present him with meat; Undertake not to help others undesired by the Master.

#94     If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.

#95     Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.

#96     It's unbecoming to Stoop to one's Meat.  Keep your Fingers clean & when foul wipe them in a Corner of your Table Napkin.

#97     Put not another bite into your Mouth till the former be swallowed let not your Morsels be too big for the jowls.

#98     Drink to nor talk with your maouth full neither Gaze about you while you are Drinking.

#99     Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily.  Before and after Drinking wipe your Lips, breathe not then or Ever with too Great a Noise, for it is uncivil.

#100    Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth Napkin Fork or Knife but if others do let it be done wt. a Pick Tooth.

#101  Rinse not your Mouth in the Presence of others.

#102  It is out of use to call upon the Company often to Eat, nor need you Drink to others every Time you Drink.

#103  In Company of your Betters be not longer in eating that they are lay not your Arm but arise with only a touch on the edge of the table. 

There ya have it.  The writing style may be antiquated, but you know, "Cleanse not your teeth with the table cloth" is actually pretty good advice.  Thanks George!

1 comment:

  1. I have never opened a baked potato with a fork in my entire life.


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