Eating my dinner should not be complicated. I sit at the table. Pick up a utensil and start to eat.
However, apparently down South we have been doing dinner ALL wrong. When I was in college, my mom, sister and I went on a 3 day trip to NYC during the Christmas season. It was a fun trip filled with Broadway shows, Carriage rides through Central Park, and using the bathroom in EVERY major department store in the city….Hey, it’s the small things!
On the third and final day, we decided to finish off our tour with a special lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria…
I remember feeling so regal as we entered the dining room. I was 19 and going through my grunge phase, so I felt a little under dressed wearing my hippie full length full skirt, Goodwill jacket, and combat boots. (Don’t worry… I grew out of that phase.) But even so, stepping into the lights and glitz that was the dinning room, I was sure I would see the Queen sipping tea somewhere in there.
My mother gave my sister VERY specific instructions to order the CHEAPEST item on the menu. Being from Tennessee we aren’t accustomed to paying a house payment on a meal. 20 something years later I still remember ordering a half club sandwich and a side salad for $22 (FYI… at this time all three of us could have eaten a Big Mac Value meal for the cost of just my meal, and still had change left to buy ice cream cones.)
When my small, yet highly expensive salad came out I suddenly became confused. As I was reaching for my Fork it became apparent I had an issue…. there were 4 different forks to chose from.
4 FORKS??????? It only takes one.
My mother and sister, being involved in an argument over my sister’s attitude problem, were totally unconcerned about my dilemma. When the waiter approached again, I had to ask…
“Hey buddy, why the heck do I have FOUR forks?”
It was at that moment that the 150 other people eating their lunches decided to stop talking. All eyes were SUDDENLY on me.
Apparently I had just committed a cardinal sin.
I was given a VERY lengthy lesson on the different types of forks. As I listened and learned, I kept pondering the same statement over and over. Once the appalled waiter was finished I could stand it no longer and I blurted out what I was thinking….
“Back home we figured out it… it only takes one.”
Shocked and appalled, the waiter shot me a snooty smile and dashed off.
So there I was, an unrefined redneck in a fancy restaurant in the big city. My sister and mother were embarrassed and ashamed, people were in an uproar, and I… was STILL confused.
22 years later, I still am. Am I classified as unsophisticated if I use the same fork for my salad, fish, AND my spaghetti? Will Emily Post, or Martha Stuart suddenly appear and kick me out of the Little Miss Manners Society? Will my meal be crap if I use my lemon fork to spear my roast beef?
Someone help a gal out.