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Old 08-27-2005, 04:57 AM   #21
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Well, I was taking about dining and values of the consensual agreement on traditional rules and the values of less traditional rules, but the degradation of society? It’s OK; there is another topic I am fond of.

First, I would like to say that I am glad to get to the heart of the issue, and I am not surprised my remarks were expected.

Second regarding the LCD, I am fully aware of their limitations, but I feel the hallmark of an enlightened society is the tolerance of the ideas from LCD. If everyone continued to accept the views of the established mentality, progress in any intellectual endeavor would halt. The fact is, the LCD is defined by the dominate intellectual climate. All who do not agree, will be deemed intellectually inferior to the HCD (Highest common denominator?), thus become the LCD. Nasty business that.

My music taste runs the gambit; Bach sits next to Black Sabbath in my record collection. I do care about where rhythm, melody and composition meet, I just don’t believe that all possibilities of musical creativity have been explored. Look in any genera or time you wish you will find both good and bad music. Poor music prior to recording has been lost because no one liked it, but be certain it existed.

Traffic rules are a ridiculous example because of the ability to infringe upon the “right to life” of another individual, while dining has no such consequence. That’s all that deserves.

Regarding the numerous names you suggested that the alterative to “dining exemplifies (piggishness, slobbering, spilling and swilling). These value judgments based on your definition of “dining” reveal your intolerance. I merely suggested that there is another form of dining without the rules that you hold so dear. Do you feel that I am infringing on “sacred ground”? Am I not allowed to call my experience “dining” because you and the food illuminati won’t allow it?

I agree that there are minimum rules for all situations, including society. These rules should be based on consensual agreement determined by those in the situation, not edicts form those who believe themselves to be the HCD (Highest common denominator?).

This is not intended to flame, but to bring to light the true crux of the issue. I would appreciate continued conversation, with a less accusatory tone.

P.S. I just saw the disclaimer, was it an edit or did I miss it? I am not taking this personally, I understand that I am just one person of all that you are upset with.
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Old 08-27-2005, 05:56 AM   #22
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Obviously, this line hit a nerve. When I was a child, my mom, on a very strict budget, I might add, bought crystal and china and a good set of stainless steel flatwear (in Europe, so it had all the acoutrements). Day to day we ate off whatever was at hand, but every Sunday we stayed in our church clothes, and learned how to to eat properly. Do you know that creme soda makes perfect champagne?

These Sundays really taught me lessons I've definitely used in my life. I feel for the kids today who someday may actually need to be able to eat at a company banquet without making donkey of themselves.

I met a man who had china, crystal, and silver and knows how to use it. For the first few years of our married life, we used it all every day. Then we realized we were losing small pieces of silver (no, not being stollen, just somehow winding up in the trash!!), so did buy some "everyday" stuff (and now we count the silver the morning after, then go trash diving --- I'm at fault, I'm sure. I think I scrape the plates and drop the fork or spoon I'm using to do it!!!)

We set a good table at least monthly, and when it isn't too hot (no a/c), hubby sets the table correctly every night (even if it is glass, corelle and stainless).

The real treat is that when Jer does set a table with the works (and our chandalier has real candles) and there are children present, it is such a treat to see that they haven't had it before and love it. Every last one of them. I have a 4-year old neighbor who just wriggles with joy to be able to light the candles and eat at our table.

One of the kids I "taught" as teens is now a caterer. Don't tell me it isn't worth teaching the young how to eat properly. It isn't just about the food.
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Old 08-27-2005, 08:24 AM   #23
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I couldn't agree with you more, Claire.

I HATE it when I am in a restaurant, and there are kids there who can't keep stillin their seats or want to run wild around the restaurant.

That NEVER seems to happen in French or Italian or Greek restaurants... probably because family dining is such an inherent part of their cultures. It used to be part of mine - but sadly, appears to be in decline, much like the USA.
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Old 08-27-2005, 11:59 AM   #24
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I guess I went off the deep end a bit in my last post. Sorry, Background. t's just that I see our society apparently losing ever more of the values that had made it function better than it does today.


I find myself falling victim to the trend toward the LCD, as Background calls it. We recently were going to a restaurant. I was wearing very casual attire, and said to B/W, "Heck, why bother changing - everyone else dresses this way anymore". Lower Slobovia, here I come!

Which illustrates how we lazy humans succumb to the effects of the general acceptance of lower standards in all walks of life.

Background is correct that the enjoyment of both food and companions is what constitutes pleasant dining. It is my contention, however, that such enjoyment is greatly enhanced by the beauty inherent in the more traditinal and somewhat formal dining experience.

And, while, as I said, I appreciate Background's candor, I must admit I am surprised and delighted that most who have responded believe that some formality in dining is appropriate.

By the way, I don't believe the china, crystal, linen, etc., is in any way essential - it certainly adds to the beauty of the experience, but has really nothing to do with good manners and orderliness. Or food quality!! I've eaten some mighty tasty stuff off of tin camping gear and paper plates!
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Old 08-28-2005, 01:45 AM   #25
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Every once in a while, I find myself in a high-end restaraurent with children near by. Usually it is hades, but on occasion it is very nice. I always make a point of stopping and talking to the parents, and complimenting them on their kids' manners. You don't know how much a few words can make their day. I don't know if anyone ever said it to my, or hubby's, mom and dad. But when I say, "your kids are so well behaved, it was a pleasure to sit next to them" or something similar, well, the parents AND t he kids just glow. So think of it.
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Old 08-28-2005, 07:30 AM   #26
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One time I was at a friend's house. My parents were there as well (it was friends of my husbands, my parents didn't know them, it was sort of a piggy-back invitation). The hostess handed me all the flatwear and told me to set it. I did ... backwards. Momentary dyslexia? I was well over 30 years old, and my mom was apalled. "I trained her better, I really did!" We still laugh about it to this day. And, I might add, remember the dinner fondly.

Have you ever had to tell an adult how to eat properly? I was once an NCOIC of some young enlisted folk .... some who had never seen a place setting. Hubby and I would give simple lessons. Outer to inner. Biggest lesson? Wait and watch. If you wait long enough, your host/ess will do something, and just follow. Meanwhile, just appear to be fascinated by whatever your nearest companion is saying. Works every time.

Yes, I love camp outs and other casual stuff (believe me, as a child of a sergeant with four daughters, we knew how to rough it). But you're cheating yourself, your children and grand-children if you don't learn how to properly dine as well. There's a big world out there, be ready to experience all of it.
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Old 08-28-2005, 05:34 PM   #27
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I was in an army family. My Dad's regiment has a long and proud tradition. He was an officer, and the officer's mess had 'family' luncheons some Sundays. Woe betide ANY CHILD who didn't know how to behave at the table or asked to get down to play..... The mess silverware was so heavy you almost needed two hands to lift a soup spoon or a dessert spoon!
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Old 08-28-2005, 06:22 PM   #28
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I agree with all of you I remember the first thing my mother taught us was no talking or chewing with your mouth full or open and no elbows on the table.Even if we were at a diner we were not allowed to slurp the last of our drink thru a straw.
Getting a bit off subject I remember we had to dress our best when flying on a plane or traveling in general.That was in the late sixties and I know its important to be comfortable when traveling but I see some people that dress like complete slobs when they fly.
Its sad that so many people become so intimidated at a more formal meal but its not that hard and and becomes quite natural if you do it enough.On the other hand alot of times when Im alone I love to eat in front of the tv.Just cant help myself.
Of course when you work in a restaurant you can pick up alot bad habits as usually you hafto eat fast and keep the work going at the same time.
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Old 08-29-2005, 01:17 AM   #29
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Once again great thread. I appreciate the lack of flames particularly because I don’t agree with the majority.

I feel it is important to state, in case my parents read this, that I was taught the “proper” way to eat at a young age. I know how to properly set a table and what to do with the bowl of warm water with lemon. Frankly I just don’t care much any more.

As I stated before rules exist in all situations including dining. The unfortunate part is that the rules are inflexible and determined by the amorphous “they”. Someone (Emily Post perhaps?) decided that the following behaviors were acceptable and others were not. Too often these rules have been used as a social knife to divide those with class and those without. The unfortunate purpose of this tool is to inflate the self-image of those who have “class”. The classless (or LCD) are ignorant of these rules and often feel mystified on why they have two forks, considering they both work for both salad and entree.

I also want to make clear that many of these rules are intended to preserve the experience of dinners in the same room. Loud conversation or rambunctious children can easily infringe on the experience of fellow diners. Numerous other rules such as crossing your legs at the table, and eating with the proper fork seem to have little impact on fellow diners. They are more to prove that an individual is aware of the rule, thus cultured. The simple test is, "does the behavior infringe on the rights of others?" Avoiding sound in a closed room is much more difficult than avoiding visual input for example. Something like using the proper fork is a purely mental construction and the easiest to avoid. Once again I am not advocating a social anarchy, I feel that all rules, dining and otherwise, should be continually reexamined for relevance, not taken as the final word that all subsequent people must adhere to or deemed the LCD.

For those who I have offended by my long hair or wrinkled shirt in a “fine dining” situation it is unfortunate that your experience was degraded by my presence. My recommendation is ignore me, and anyone I am with, that does not meet your expectations. You will not find it difficult, just turn your head away. I will not let my voice or any kids I may someday have intrude on your sonic space. The problem with relying on others to dictate your environment is that many simply don’t care and the remainder doesn’t understand your expectations.

For Old Coot. Thanks for bringing the conversation back to a friendly tone. You are in fine company proclaiming a social decline. I have found primary references from the Roman Republic (80 BC) stating the same thing. Fortunately, society is still kicking. I do not agree that the “old society” was inherently better than the new version. The same argument of “degrading society” has been used to argue against democracy, women’s suffrage, civil rights and in vitro fertilization. I am not suggesting that change is all roses and candy canes, but the socially destructive movements will die out and the socially beneficial ones will remain. This pattern has been replicated as long as history has been recorded. Try to look past my generations casual clothes and see the true measure of a person, their ideas, I think you will be surprised by their integrity.
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Old 08-29-2005, 05:33 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Background Noise

For those who I have offended by my long hair or wrinkled shirt in a “fine dining” situation it is unfortunate that your experience was degraded by my presence. My recommendation is ignore me, and anyone I am with, that does not meet your expectations. You will not find it difficult, just turn your head away. I will not let my voice or any kids I may someday have intrude on your sonic space. The problem with relying on others to dictate your environment is that many simply don’t care and the remainder doesn’t understand your expectations.

.
I'm not sure whether you set out deliberately to be rude, but if you did, then you have achieved your objective.

I would certainly not make a point of looking at any dishevelled diner (or his/her companion(s)) - simply because to do so would be rude in my book, and if he/she feels comfortable, then good luck to him/her. As for noisy and obnoxious children - I think EVERYONE here has had experience of that when dining out. I'm not talking about places like McDonalds or a chain pizza joint.... I am talking about when it costs upwards of 100 pounds sterling to eat out and ENJOY the ambience of the restaurant and the good food of its chef.

I don't RELY on anyone to explain good manners to me - especially not someone who keeps posting that he KNOWS the 'rules' but chooses to ignore them. Reverse snobbery, perhaps?
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