Thursday 29 December 2016

Dinner for one. The most famous English movie in Germany, Switzerland and Austria

which is hardly known in the UK.
It is shown every New Year Eve. It was in the Guinness book of records till 1995 as the most repeated TV show in the world. They don't have this category anymore though.

When my German colleagues talked to me for the first time about it they thought I was some sort of recluse in London. Or lunatic. But clearly without TV.

I had to get on YouTube to understand what they were talking about.
No, I've never seen it on any of the British TV channels. Not around New Year eve, not at any other time of the year.
I was happy to read this article by William Horsley. Made me feel sane again. I am not the only brit who missed it.

Germany feasts on Dinner for One - BBC News

The movie is very short. There are only two actors there and the festive table set for few more people. Worth watching.

Happy New Year!

Tanya Kosh and your "How to Eat" team 

Saturday 17 December 2016

The basic needs and basic manners

"If you look at the whole range of table manners you notice in different cultures, you should be able to see the similarities. It is not about food only. Table manners evolved together with the development of humanity and its needs.
The table manners across the world are clearly serving three common purposes:
·           mere survival of humanity in general and individuals in particular;
·           amplification of enjoyment of food consumption; and
·           social identification and self-esteem, and in some rather extreme cases like mine, self-actualisation." 

You can read more about classification of table manners

  • The classification is based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Hence the three major groups analysed in the book are
  • “Health and Safety,”
  • “The table of joy” and
  • “ID rules”, fake and real ones

It is not only table manners changing with time. Some people argue the needs change too. But whether you accept the newly emerging manners as they come or not, you could be sure that they still will serve the old purposes even if with a modern twist to it. Did your mother tell you that the table should be dry when you put your battery on it?

Image source:

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Knife holders - in or out?

Let us know what you think about table manners.

Dogs, pigs, horses, elaborated designs - those are holders for the knives (the photo was taken in Dorotheum, main auction house in Vienna). Do they make the table more beautiful? What do you think?

"If you go to Dorotheum in Austria, the main auction house of the country, you will find millions of embellishments to the table. Just a couple of examples. Knife stands, which have no function rather than decorative one. You can’t put the knife you used on it. The tiniest bit of gravy will immediately end up on the table clothes. Gravity is still in place on this planet. “Bone holders,” which are tiny trays with special hooks to be adjusted to the plate.
Either poultry was much smaller previously, or they never ever were used for any other purpose than to show that you are “in the know.” Gravy/sauce holders adjusted to the plates in a similar manner. While those are at least useful to prevent all of your food being soaked in sauce, especially if the latter has a rather strong taste, I was strongly advised against them and was told a couple of horror stories about sauce holders ending on the table and all the juices on the diners. While many of these things could be very beautiful in a way some figurines are, they are nothing else to the table than “decorations and cutesies” and superfluous accessories.
This is the function any other fashion has. If you can demonstrate you are fully conversant with what is in vogue, you move immediately couple of steps up the hierarchy ladder within your own social group. You are not only“in,” you might even become a trend-setter."

Sunday 11 December 2016

There will be no photos with this post.

Let us know what you think about table manners.
He slouches. Otherwise he wouldn't be able to get through the door. He is too tall. Taller than anyone I ever saw. He is handsome and very friendly. He works at this pub where we stopped for a pre-theatre drinks. He cleans the tables, chats to the regulars, smiles at customers he hasn't met yet. He asks us if we are OK and whether he can be of any help. We smile back. All is great, no, we are not eating. And not yet ready for another drink. But thank you. We get back to our conversation. There are couple of burning issues. Christmas presents is the main topic. What do you give to the lady who recently turned 93 and is very busy at the moment trying to get rid of all her worldly possessions? Actually, if you have any idea, give us a shout. We are still at a loss on this one.

Suddenly the background noise increases in volume. There is a big table in the corner with a dozen of men. Office party? Four of them are standing. The tall waiter in the middle. He doesn't look comfortable. He looks trapped. He tries to leave. But somehow he is blocked. The standing four want to have a picture. The picture would be f*** stunning, they shout - hardly anyone of them reaches the tall man's shoulder.  The flash goes on. The tall man stops smiling. He doesn't slouch anymore either. He doesn't look upset though. He is possibly used to this sort of table manners. Tall and handsome he walks in the direction of the kitchen. And firmly shuts the door behind himself.

Thursday 8 December 2016

One of the best table manners possible.

Let us know what you think about table manners.

One of the best table manners possible, in my recent experience: never ever comment on the name of the restaurant you are invited to, however tempting. Don't  even think of it. It could be much worse than the following:

"Very indirectly connected to table manners, clearly literally connected to language, and somehow a food-related joke to all the English colleagues of mine were the invitations to German and Austrian restaurants with rather interesting names. You don’t expect to be invited to “Lust Haus” (restaurant in Vienna) when on business trip. Not really, even if the idea had been crossing your head couple of times in some form or shape. You definitely don’t expect to find good food in LoosHaus(Austria). Service – definitely. But food? And the winner was the invitation from then CEO. We had the rather serious meeting, which ended with his joyful invitation to the unprepared public: “And now we all go to Wonka!” (restaurant in Germany) Turned out to be a rather fine place. “Shall we go to Wonka” became a synonym for the invitation to go out for a meal for a couple of years to follow." (Tanya Kosh, "Are You in or are you Out?)
It could be much, much worse. Sorry if you find the photo below disturbing. No offence meant. Just a snap of reality.

Sunday 4 December 2016

Your Tables and Their Manners

Let us know what you think about table manners.

Tables are not for food only. Some of them are for candles. Some for books. But all require appropriate manners.

And all table manners talk. They tell people who you are, what you are, what do you want to be and where do you go.

"Not only is a stacked coffee table visually arresting, it also speaks volumes about who you are and your sense of style." 
An interesting take on table manners from Vanity Fair UK.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Technology and Table Manners

Let us know what you think about table manners.

Technology has a very interesting impact not only on our table manners (mobile on the table during business lunch is more of a norm rather than exception today), but also on what and how we eat.

A rather interesting article on Instagram influence.

"Once these Instagram-friendly foods go viral, they can completely change the way we eat. Breakfast, for example, has shifted from a decidedly unphotogenic cereal or marmalade on toast to the bright hues of avocado toast (there are nearly 250,000 #avocadotoast hashtagged photos on Instagram) and smoothie bowls. Even the humble fry-up has been rebranded, in the hands of the Hemsley sisters, as an oven-baked, meticulously arranged, “healthier” big breakfast. It looks great and presumably tastes awful, the oven tray divided into neat strips of colour, from leathery lean oven bacon to overdone eggs.
Among the foods billed to gain traction in 2017, today’s Waitrose report points to Hawaiian poke and even, in an alarming twist, vegetable yoghurts. No doubt these will be helped along in the likeability stakes with their colourful, snappy Instagram vibe."