Yesterday in The Sydney Morning Herald, I was amused to read that UK Prime Minister David Cameron was recently criticised for eating a hot dog with a knife and fork.
I was amused not because I think what he did was silly or posh or both, but because I have attracted similar mockery myself.
I eat a lot of my food with cutlery because of my OCD.
For most of my life, I have been obsessive-compulsive about having clean hands.
It’s only since 2000 or so, however, that I’ve been eating more and more of my food with a knife and fork. I even bought myself a set of camping cutlery to use at food courts (although this was also because I find a lot of plastic cutlery flimsy, and also as a safeguard against places being out of cutlery).
Part of this is a reaction to outside factors – and in all seriousness, one of them has been the growing size of hamburgers.
Messy hands from hamburgers had long made me uncomfortable, but especially during the last 10 years the trend of bigger burgers made eating them even more unwieldy and less enjoyable. So in response, I began using cutlery to dismantle them and eat them piece by piece (I usually save the patty for last).
As a result, I now enjoy hamburgers even more – because not only does a knife and fork make their eating more neat and tidy, it also increases the length of the meal.
Another outside factor that led me to eating more of my food with a knife and fork was the internet, and especially interacting with people online. I usually don’t surf during meals, but I found that trying to enjoy a snack like potato chips but having to constantly wipe my hands between bouts of typing was quite tiresome – so several years ago, I began eating potato chips with a fork.
At first, that felt even more odd than using cutlery for a hamburger – but soon I came to like it a lot. Again, not only did it keep my hands clean, but it gave me more time to savor each chip.
If I’m sharing from bowls of chips in public I still use my fingers, but at home I always use a fork.
Not every attempt to eat more food with cutlery has succeeded, however. Some years ago I briefly tried crunching corn chips into small pieces and mixing them into bowls of salsa to eat them with a spoon, but even that was odd and not very enjoyable. So I always use my hands for corn chips with salsa (although corn chips by themselves I eat with a fork).
I have also eaten Subway subs with my camping cutlery, dismantling them like I do with hamburgers. This wasn’t enjoyably the same, though, so recently I have gone back to eating them with my hands (but not before having moist towelettes close by).
I have attracted some mockery for this way of eating – and in one online forum where I said that I prefer to eat pizza with a knife and fork, like David Cameron I was pooh-poohed as being posh.
But whatever his reason for eating his hot dog how he did, he should eat it however he wants to – especially if he enjoys it.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂