On walking home from work rather late the last few nights (for various reasons, including both work and not-work) I’ve come across refugees from our local “parked in the market square food truck” where you can get a burger and some chips/fries along with that burger. In each case, the person with the styrofoam food tray has been eating said fries/chips with a plastic or wood (I’m not sure) two-tined “fry fork” to allow them to pick up the fries/chips without having to touch them directly. I’m puzzled. As I often am.
Finger food in America is a well-established genre and a take-out burger and chips/fries would definitely qualify. In the US last month I had pizza (Papa John’s, of course) on more than one occasion. Eaten with the hands, whether in triangle cuts or square cuts. And even worse, at the beach I had crab and lobster, things that come in nice US restaurants with bibs and tools for finger food extraction.
So my question now has to do with finger food. We have the obvious differences between Britain and the US in terms of silverware etiquette, with forks in the right hand in the US and in the left hand here in the UK. Knives at the ready all the time in the UK and only when needed in the US. I’ve watched people here in the UK try to eat burgers with silverware, the whole fries/chips thing, and the entire spectacle of Pizza Express or the like where people saw away at UK pizzas with a butter knife, clearly hoping to avoid using the fingers in this process. So I ask, with an open mind and a truly confused heart, what is the issue with finger food in the UK? Why are sandwich quarters okay but other edible food is not? I’m literally starving here. Although admittedly I cannot imagine my British friends wearing a Red Lobster bib nor can I see them picking up a slice of pizza to hold. There are sandwiches, dastardly sandwiches here a plenty, and this is not a taboo in terms of eating in public, but aside from the sandwich there seems to be some breech of etiquette associated with ever eating food with one’s fingers here in England. What exactly is the problem with eating food with your fingers?