For my mother’s birthday we went out to a place called BJ’s, where the portions are unnecessarily large and the food ridiculously good. As we stared down at the plethora of utensils that came in our napkins, the conversation inevitably turned to proper placement and use of the forks, knives and spoons. In this particular case we only had two forks and a knife, since any other necessary utensils came with the food, but I was reminded of the weird rules we humans have when it comes to table settings.
You have to use this fork for this, and that fork for that. You have three different spoons, they’re all used for different things, and even though they’re all just slightly different in size, they have very specific purposes. When you set the table, the utensils have to be placed in a certain order. Certain plates on top of other plates. Cut with one hand, eat with the other. Don’t use your fingers, it’s not polite.
Blah blah blah. Even if you’re Fancypants McMoneybags, surely you must have moments where you’re like, ‘To heck with the rules, I’m hungry and I’ll eat however I please.’ Utensils all serve the same function anyway! They pick up food and carry it to your mouth. Even if you’re a seven foot basketball player the journey isn’t that long, so why fuss over which one you use and where it sits on the table? Use what gets the job done! Once the food is in your mouth the process is all the same, so why bother with how the food gets there?
See, I can deal with some traditions and some aspects of culture, but most of those, even if they serve no practical function, have some type of meaning or purpose. What purpose is there for this? This is just silly, just very, very silly. But then, I question the point of a lot of things and tend to miss some of the enjoyment of random traditions. Maybe I’m a bore, I don’t know. But I do know that I love food, and that I really don’t care how it gets to my mouth as long as it makes the voyage successfully.
I also understand the purpose of having multiple utensils (for palette cleansers, making sure you have a new one for each meal and what have you), but you can still do all that without having different sizes and putting them in order!
I’m sure I’m not alone though. What are some rules that you don’t understand or think may be completely pointless? Do you enjoy certain traditions even if you think they serve no practical purpose? What is your favorite restaurant?