I should preface this by saying I’m no etiquette expert. I’ve been known to stand over an open fridge hoovering down macaroni salad with my pants unbuttoned. Now that you have that context, I can tell you about a recent entry in The Guardian’s “Blind Date” series, an ongoing column in which two singles recap their recent blind date. In the latest entry, one of the singles notes that his date ate his burger with a knife and fork. “Would I call it good manners? Yes,” the individual writes. The column sent me into a spiral, asking: Are people just out here casually eating hamburgers with forks and knives?
First, I respect the boldness of eating a burger with a knife and fork on a first date. After all, most people try to conceal their freak flag on a first date. Sure, eating a burger with a knife and fork is far from the freakiest behavior I’ve seen on a first date—but it’s quirky, right?
Ultimately, my question is this: If civilians are, in fact, choosing to eat burgers with forks and knives, are these same people delicately cutting into other handhelds? New York-style pizza? Chicken nuggets? Quesadillas?
For the sake of research, I polled the Takeout team. Turns out that Takeout editor in chief Marnie Shure “dislikes eating with [her] hands more than the average person.” That leads her to enjoy most handheld foods with a fork and knife.
Meanwhile, as other members of staff pointed out, there are a variety of other restaurant interventions meant to protect customers’ squeaky clean little hands. For example, some Korean fried chicken restaurants offer finger sheaths to help consumers avoid their hands getting dirty; Russian burger chains also supply burger gloves. Finally, Salt Bae has been known to place bites of steak directly into customers’ mouths. Actually, that’s probably less about hygiene and more about perpetuating his whole weird deal.
I guess my question is twofold. First, what handhelds do you eat with a knife and fork? Second, do you employ any creative methods to keep your hands clean during a meal?