There was a time when slurping your soup or licking your knife would make every parent wince. But for most people nowadays, eating with your elbows on the table and committing other dining faux pars is no longer a sin.
While times are changing, it’s fair to say that certain traditions from the past aren’t as important in the lives of the younger members of society as they were when Boomers were growing up, and plenty of grandparents aren’t too thrilled about it.
Posting on online forum Gransnet, one grandmother lamented the fact that table manners of the past seem to have been left by the wayside.
“My parents always insisted on good table manners and were particular about how to hold a knife and fork correctly,” she wrote.
“I have noticed a growing trend of holding a fork with the prongs turned upwards and stabbing or scooping the food with the fork and holding the knife like a pencil. It looks messy and gives the impression that they are not enjoying eating the meal but attacking it.”
The majority of readers agreed with the woman that table manners are slowing declining in today’s society.
“I have noticed this for a while now particularly in younger people. It’s one of my pet hates I have to say. I can only guess their parents allowed them to do this and not teaching them the proper way to hold cutlery,” one grandmother wrote. “Think it looks awful and gives a lazy impression.”
Another reader complained about children who stab a large item such as a sausage, and eat it like a lolly pop.
And one grandparent revealed her grandson is a noisy and messy eater, adding: “He is poorly co-ordinated and clumsy and gets visibly upset by not being able to manipulate cutlery easily.”
However, one reader said they don’t care how one uses their fork, adding: “I do have issues with noisy eaters and slurpers thought.”
Another added: “I can’t see a problem to be honest. My DGS [darling grandson] is eight and I still occasionally give him a spoon to help him with his peas.”
According to The Emily Post Institute, which was created by etiquette author Emily Post in 1946, the correct way to hold a fork is in your left hand, prongs downwards. It’s never acceptable to turn the fork over and scoop up food from the plate.
It’s not just a lack of dining etiquette ruining meal times these days either. Dinner time at the table used to be spent talking about each others’ day and catching up with family. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to sit down for a meal without someone picking up their phone to respond to a text.
Many families also choose to eat their meals in front of the television rather than at the table, while others skip family time all together and eat on their own schedule.