Discussion:
Eating peas with a knife.
(too old to reply)
J***@YAHOO.COM
2006-08-14 00:29:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
While I know you should never eat peas with a knife I have known a few
people who do. All were fairly well educated men all born in the 1890s
just in case this has anything to do with anything. Was this ever
considered good manners?. One of my grandmothers who is English with
Irish roots taught me that you can load up your fork with a knife or
piece of bread but peas should be eaten with a spoon while my mother's
mother whos family had been in America a few generations longer says
that you should not be chasing the last bits of food around like you
are starving and you should only use your spoon for ice cream and soup.
I am thinking that at some point in time the practice of using ones
knife to load the peas onto a fork got confused with eating them with a
knife. A case of Yankee Doodle trying to be continental and getting it
wrong.

Personally I am in favor of mixing them with the mashed potatoes and
eating them with a fork.

Three couples with nothing better to talk about.
Robert E. Lewis
2006-08-14 12:53:44 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by J***@YAHOO.COM
While I know you should never eat peas with a knife I have known a few
people who do. All were fairly well educated men all born in the 1890s
just in case this has anything to do with anything. Was this ever
considered good manners?.
I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on my knife.


A rhyme my mother used to tell, not sure where she heard it, but it
suggests using the knife was more common once, unless the fact the
person needing to make the peas stick to his knife is part of the humor
of the rhyme.
--
Robert
(Who likes to run the peas through a blender and drink them through a
straw -- visualize whirled peas!)
Miss Elaine Eos
2006-08-14 14:45:31 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert E. Lewis
Post by J***@YAHOO.COM
While I know you should never eat peas with a knife I have known a few
people who do. All were fairly well educated men all born in the 1890s
just in case this has anything to do with anything. Was this ever
considered good manners?.
I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on my knife.
A rhyme my mother used to tell, not sure where she heard it, but it
suggests using the knife was more common once, unless the fact the
person needing to make the peas stick to his knife is part of the humor
of the rhyme.
In many parts of Europe, [right-handed] folks eat with their fork in
their left hand, knife in their right; they cut the food, then use the
fork in its left-hand position to move it to their mouths.

In the USA, the common practice is to cut knife-in-right, but then set
down one's silverware, transfer the fork to the right hand, then eat
with the right.

* PURE SPECULATION ALERT *

It's easy to imagine that, as our culture developed, there was a "cross
over" time, when people with one set of habits were trying to learn
another set of habits and, intentionally or not, would end up spearing
or scooping their food with their knife in the right hand. It's also
fairly easy to see how something small & round, like peas, would be
rather difficult -- perhaps to the point of light table comedy -- to eat
with a modern butter-knife.

From there, it's just a hop, skip and a jump to imagine a fresh (for the
day) pithy expression "like trying to eat peas with a knife", and a
generation of children feeling that they had to try it, just because
their parents told them not to. From there, you get a certain group of
people who particularly pride themselves on being able to eat peas with
a knife (largely because they interpret the expression to mean "doing
something very difficult", rather than "doing things the hard way, when
a simpler way is obvious") and, viola! the rest is history.

...Or it could be; as I said, this is all speculation.

Still, it's easy to imagine that something similar to that is what
happened...
--
Please take off your pants or I won't read your e-mail.
I will not, no matter how "good" the deal, patronise any business which sends
unsolicited commercial e-mail or that advertises in discussion newsgroups.
Ericka Kammerer
2006-08-14 15:07:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Miss Elaine Eos
In many parts of Europe, [right-handed] folks eat with their fork in
their left hand, knife in their right; they cut the food, then use the
fork in its left-hand position to move it to their mouths.
In the USA, the common practice is to cut knife-in-right, but then set
down one's silverware, transfer the fork to the right hand, then eat
with the right.
* PURE SPECULATION ALERT *
It's easy to imagine that, as our culture developed, there was a "cross
over" time, when people with one set of habits were trying to learn
another set of habits and, intentionally or not, would end up spearing
or scooping their food with their knife in the right hand.
Could be, but as far as I know, eating peas with
a knife has always been kind of a put down. In British
etiquette, as I understand it (which could be wrong), not
only do they keep the fork in the non-dominant hand, but
they keep it tines-down (it's considered unmannerly to
cut food with the side of the fork or to scoop food up
with the fork). It is permissible (unlike in American
etiquette) to use the knife or a piece of bread to push
the food onto the "back" of the fork. As you might
imagine, this makes eating peas a bit of a challenge.
Balancing peas on the back of a fork doesn't sound much
easier than balancing them on a knife to me ;-)
Anyway, as far as I know it wasn't ever "proper"
to eat peas with a knife, but there was certainly a time
when there were many more class distinctions with etiquette
and things that were common among less elite groups would
be considered improper among more elite groups. It may
be that eating peas with the knife was one of those things,
especially given that the proper British alternative is
nearly as tricky.

Best wishes,
Ericka
J***@YAHOO.COM
2006-08-24 03:54:31 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ericka Kammerer
Post by Miss Elaine Eos
In many parts of Europe, [right-handed] folks eat with their fork in
their left hand, knife in their right; they cut the food, then use the
fork in its left-hand position to move it to their mouths.
In the USA, the common practice is to cut knife-in-right, but then set
down one's silverware, transfer the fork to the right hand, then eat
with the right.
* PURE SPECULATION ALERT *
It's easy to imagine that, as our culture developed, there was a "cross
over" time, when people with one set of habits were trying to learn
another set of habits and, intentionally or not, would end up spearing
or scooping their food with their knife in the right hand.
Could be, but as far as I know, eating peas with
a knife has always been kind of a put down. In British
etiquette, as I understand it (which could be wrong), not
only do they keep the fork in the non-dominant hand, but
they keep it tines-down (it's considered unmannerly to
cut food with the side of the fork or to scoop food up
with the fork). It is permissible (unlike in American
etiquette) to use the knife or a piece of bread to push
the food onto the "back" of the fork. As you might
imagine, this makes eating peas a bit of a challenge.
Balancing peas on the back of a fork doesn't sound much
easier than balancing them on a knife to me ;-)
Anyway, as far as I know it wasn't ever "proper"
to eat peas with a knife, but there was certainly a time
when there were many more class distinctions with etiquette
and things that were common among less elite groups would
be considered improper among more elite groups. It may
be that eating peas with the knife was one of those things,
especially given that the proper British alternative is
nearly as tricky.
Best wishes,
Ericka
Robert Crowe
2006-08-14 17:57:29 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 14 Aug 2006 12:53:44 GMT, the alleged Robert E. Lewis, may have
posted the following, to alt.fan.miss-manners:

<previous attributions snipped>
Post by Robert E. Lewis
Post by J***@YAHOO.COM
While I know you should never eat peas with a knife I have known a
few people who do. All were fairly well educated men all born in
the 1890s just in case this has anything to do with anything. Was
this ever considered good manners?.
No!
Post by Robert E. Lewis
I eat my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on my knife.
A rhyme my mother used to tell, not sure where she heard it, but it
suggests using the knife was more common once, unless the fact the
person needing to make the peas stick to his knife is part of the
humor of the rhyme.
I've heard it attributed to Ogden Nash, and though it's in his style
I'm leaning towards another prolific author of limericks, prose,
quotations, tunes and verse, one A. Nonymous.

Mr. or Ms. Nonymous' contributions to literature, poetry, song and
tunes cannot be over emphasized. Only the nearly as prolific T.
Radiotinal comes close to having as many credits in a variety of
spoken, written or sung words.

Obliviously the additions to the English language made by Nonymous
and Raditional overshadow those made by one "William Shakespeare"
(Shakpsre, Shakespear, Shakspere).

Regards,
Rob "Agent's spill chucker hated this post" Crowe
--
Just remember, politeness does not prohibit calling a spade a spade as
long as you tie ribbons on it. -- Uncle Mandrake in alt.fan.miss-manners
Loading...