Oh yes, I am finicky!
Chomp. Gnaw. Slurp. Scratch. (I mean the spoon scratching the plate here, dirty mind!) Burp.
Aarrrggghhh!! I hate those sounds. I am a sucker for good table manners and I find it disgusting to share the same table when people act like uncivilized cavemen while eating. There are better ways of relishing good food than being pompous about it.
1) The cattle-men:
The first commandment is to keep your mouth closed while chewing. Don’t go through the Open-chomp-close-chomp-open routine. I don’t see much difference between that and the cows chewing on their fodder. Open-gnaw-slap the jaws together-open-gnaw. Do that in my presence and I am sure to recommend you as the next Orbit-star-the-Jersey-cow!!
2) The doggie-ish:
The soup, tea, coffee, the dal, the rasam or any other liquid that you take in, is to be sipped, not slurped. Kindly, leave the lapping sounds for the other long tongued animals.
3) The cannibal types:
Non-vegetarian food is more difficult to handle than vegetarian food, especially when it has bones. Also, not every meat is easy to tear using a fork and a knife. Certain dishes do require the explicit use of hands and teeth. But, (yes the big butt of all matters) when it comes to basic table manners, one must make sure one doesn’t resemble a cannibal tearing into flesh. It may be a trying experience, but do try to take small bites instead of looking like a person who hasn’t been fed from ages. The animal in your hands is dead, and it isn’t going to run away anywhere! Keep up the patience!
And please, I beg, don’t dump the bones back into the food that you are still to consume. Transfer it neatly into another plate. Thank you!
4) Yes we know that you loved the meal and it would be a better idea to let the cook know so, than proving it by trying to eat the last grain of rice on your plate. For goodness sake, eat till the last grain if you must, but don’t make that screeching scratching noise with the fork and spoon. We aren’t starting to play banshees here yet!
5) I am trying hard here, not to type cast anyone. But, this is a habit that I have seen prevalent more in the south than in the north of India.
South Indians love eating anything, everything and food of any consistency with their hands, be it a chutney, a pickle, vegetables, salads, curries, rice, sambhar and rasam. Most people learn to eat that with a little bit of genetically handed down help.
Trust me, eating with hands is fun. It gives you a very homely feeling.
But making balls of rice and tossing them in your mouth or licking the dripping rasam up your elbow (yuck!) or dragging the food all over the plate while mixing it and then putting all your fingers in the mouth with the food, or to lick your palm clean are not sights that are fun watching.
6) Buuurrrrrppppp! An age old method to let the cook know that the food was excellent and the diner’s stomach walls are under strain and are threatening to burst. The burping days are passé now. If you cant really keep that smelly burp bottled up inside you, learn to hold a napkin up to your mouth when you do so. Letting everybody around you know that your stomach is going to be overworking itself during digestion are not the the most charming manners.
If you think that all these sounds must necessarily accompany good food, then please keep them confined to the privacy of your home. Don’t be a public embarrassment, atleast to the people you are sharing the table with.