How to eat with a knife and fork while sitting!
Account Bluebird Sisterhood
About a year ago, I opened the utensil drawer to find a spoon. I noticed we had hordes of spoons and not one fork. Mystified I looked in the dishwasher and then the other obvious place, the sink, and could not find one solitary fork. Not one! I asked out loud, “Where are all the forks?” and my, then 11-year-old daughter, answered, “We don’t have any, we don’t use them anyway!” Her comment and that search process made me think. Where had all the forks gone? How could we have lived this long without forks and why would my daughter say we don’t use them? Why hadn’t I noticed their disappearance sooner? I started to think about our Utensil usage – not that I had time but I do love a good mystery, so I couldn’t help myself. Sure we use spoons daily . . . cereal in the morning and ice cream at night. How about knifes? I use knifes to spread the jam on the toast I had out the door as the door to catch the school bus. I use knifes to make the sandwiches that I pack in their lunches for school. Four sandwiches every day like clock work . . . 1 knife for to spread the peanut butter, one knife for the jam, one knife for the honey – heaven forbid any of those items touch before they reach the bread – and one for the mayonnaise. Yes, I use a lot of those knifes every day. I opened the drawer . . . brimming with knifes. Still now forks! What could have happened to the forks? Do forks become extint with lack of use? I had a wild thought and then ran for the hutch where I keep my so-so nice and so-so matching set of utensils for the fancy dinners, you know the wedding gift sets, the ones I was so sure I would use each Sunday for family dinner. I opened that drawer, everything was there, forks included, and for now felt safe that the mystery hadn’t reached the hutch. Still, I wondered, where the forks were.
I told my husband about the mystery and he seemed to agree with my daughter. “We don’t use them so why worry?” Still he could tell by the look on my face that something more serious and sinister was afoot. “What kind of family doesn’t use forks?” I shouted much to emphatically for the loss of forks. Suddenly the mystery seemed some kind of heathen sin, so my husband, unable to escape, walked me through it. “We just don’t use forks because we never formally sit down to eat! Think about it. We eat while running out the door, while driving in our car, while in a meeting, while typing at our desk. The fork has been replaced by our hands. We eat with our hands! We don’t need forks!” He held up his hands and turned to walk away with that Mystery solved kind of air that husbands get when they have found a solution and no more words are necessary. “What mystery solved? Now that I realize we live like heathens, I still don’t know where the forks are! If we don’t use them then where have they gone?” The day was busy and the my continued drama unnoticed so I changed the subject and went to work . . . eating my toast and drove. I could not help but think of the situation. I was raised in a home where manners were important. We ate a the family table, with napkins in our laps, with our mouths firmly closed as we chewed and we didn’t really even speak unless spoken too. We ate together with full utensils while sitting still. I remember bouncing my legs under the table and getting a fork poke in the arm for my efforts. “Sit still while you eat!” growled my father more than once to me or my 5 siblings. Forks where used for dual purposes then, eating and stabbing, I still have a tiny scar, but that is another story.
I went to work, asked a few people how often they sat round a table to eat with a knife and fork and I got enough blank stares to realize this mystery may be an epidemic. I stopped myself from asking them if their forks had disappeared as well, no need to give any extra reason for thinking I was a little crazy. Still the issue haunted me and I decided I would insist we would eat dinner as a family, forks, knifes, plates and napkins at the table . Well life got busy, I worked late, my husband picked up pizza and still determined to keep my goal I called everyone into the dining room – even my son, with a piece of pizza in each hand in front of the TV – responded with worried looks on their faces. I announced we would sit down and eat with utensils at the table that night and every night and this is the response I got . . . in this order. “What are utensils?” “No one eats pizza at a table?” “Why are you doing this to us?” “Is this the fork thing again?” that from my husband. “We don’t have any forks!” this from the same daughter. I made them all sit down, passed out the napkins from Little Caesar’s pizza, thankfully they sent those, and then remembered a box of plastic forks from the last camping trip and passed those out round the table. The looked at me like I was insanse, really I even felt a bit deflated then, I mean who really does eat pizza with a fork and knife anymore? (I did as a kid!) Still I was determined.
The next night I made spaghetti, almost triumphantly daring anyone to question the use of fork with the long stringy pasta. We sat down to dinner, again with the plastic forks, and I made them put napkins in their laps, had them say a blessing on the food (something we always did when I was a kid) and sat down for a nice knife and fork dinner. What happened I realized their manners were atrocious – all of them even my husband! The slurping, the fork waving for enunciation while my oldest daughter talked about the math teacher she hates, the dropped pasta . . . not in the napkin on the floor . . . it was awful. I told them that when I was a child my father would have poked me with a fork had I displayed such manners and they said – again in order, “That would be child abuse mom, they won’t let you do that now!” this from my oldest. “Did you defend yourself with a knife?” this from Clone Wars-loving son. “We don’t have any forks?” you know who said that. “Is this the fork thing again? “ you know who said that too.
It has now been a year . . . as a family we sit down to eat with a knife and fork at least 4 times a week. Teaching them to eat with a knife and fork while sitting was a painful labor of love. The good news is that my children’s manners have improved enough that I can safely invite my father over and not fear a stabbing. Food still flies occasionally when I fork is wave emphatically during our great family discussions. I no longer allow them to eat while standing and we rarely eat in our cars. I have found we gravitate to the table. I still don’t know where my forks went . . . my new mother-in-law; Grandma Cheryl brought us a bag of forks she found at a garage sale last week. Everyone was excited! The fork section in the drawer was overflowing for the first time in years! Funny though, last night we sat down to dinner, a rice and bean concoction, and I realized we needed utensils, I asked my now 12-year-old to them. She called from the kitchen, “We are out of forks? Will spoons work?”