Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's This Fork For? A Prude Guide to the Formal Table

Prudes, who are busy, terribly and earnestly busy, keeping the world at large in order, sometimes realize they have neglected their own households.  While, say, faithfully encouraging France to wash its hands after burning all those upended vehicles, a Prude may one day waken to discover her beloved children have no idea what a serviette is.

Generally, however, she will not discover this oversight until AFTER she has thrown a lavish banquet, gone into the highways and byways to invite guests, and polished up Grandma’s 900 piece silver service, her thinner-than-an-onionskin crystal glasses and set her table according to the above specifications.

Our Prude makes a fatal error in judgment. She allows her husband and children to eat at this formal table without remembering the Developmental Stages of Table Paraphernalia Usage. If she had taken a moment to peruse the following chart she could have avoided humiliation and heartburn.

So before you sit your loved ones down to an elaborate table (with witnesses) read through the following and learn where your loved ones fall in the

Age 5:  Used to cover all food on plate
Age 10: Used to snap at brother’s leg in attempt to raise welts
Age 15: Used to frantically clean soup he spilled on neighbor’s trousers. Want to die of humiliation.
Age 45: Embarrass wife by flapping it and asking,”What’s this honey? A diaper?”

Salad/dinner/dessert fork
Age 5: Grasp one firmly in each hand. Mash food before covering with napkin
Age 10: Choose most lethal. Aim at brother’s forehead and hope it sticks.
Age 15: Eat entire meal and dessert with salad fork. Wants to die of humiliation.
Age 45: Embarrass wife by proclaiming in public ‘Hey honey! I didn’t even know we owned this many forks!”

Butter plate/speader
Age 5: Butter all food including meat, cheese and beverage before mashing and covering with napkin.
Age 10: Challenge brother to duel with spreader, use plate as shield
Age 15: Place roll on dinner plate ,spread butter with dinner knife, tell Mother she must have given you little kid’s plate by accident. Want to die of humiliation
Age 45: Embarrass wife by layering four rolls atop each other and proclaiming, “Look honey! Dagwood sandwich!”

Dinner knife
Age 5: Try to hide under napkin before mother sees it and takes it away
Age 10: Ask brother if he thinks it is sharp enough to draw blood. Attempt to draw brother’s blood.
Age 15:  Eat chicken leg with fingers. See everyone else cutting it off bone with knife. Want to die of humiliation.
Age 45: Embarrass wife by proclaiming in public, “Gee honey, this meat is a little tough. Got anything sharper?”

Teaspoon/soup spoon
Age 5: Take any food not covered by napkin and transport to water goblet
Age 10: Use as catapult to direct peas into brother’s ear
Age 15: Vigorously stir soup. Resulting tidal wave splashes over rim. Want to die of humiliation..
Age 45: Embarrass wife by telling guests, “Usually we just drink the soup straight from the bowl.

Water goblet
Age 5:  Forget water goblet was receptacle for unwanted food. Gulp water. Choke. Up erp into napkin on plate. Immense relief when mother proclaims your meal uneatable and gives you cereal. In the kitchen
Age 10: Run finger around rim at speed of sound, hoping resulting sound waves will render  your brother temporarily deaf. Get sent to room.
Age 15: Reach gingerly for goblet. Due to unfamiliar and top heavy shape, upend it. It spills onto the roast plate. Go to room to die of humiliation
Age 45: Embarrass wife by rubbing vigorously at a water spot with napkin. Sleep on sofa that night.

Wine glasses
Prude Age: Sit alone at table surrounded by shambles of dinner party. Realize you unintentionally gave your children 2 glasses of wine each, which, through a series of providential events, they did not imbibe.
Reach for nearest glass of white wine. Grasp firmly at stem. Raise to 110 degree angle. Resist temptation to gulp. Sip slowly and rehearse tomorrow’s lecture on Correct Use of Table Paraphernalia.


Tammy said...

Seriously... you are just too funny!

However, I do think you should've addressed the young husbands who I've observed at Christmas parties wearing napkins on their heads like headbands. Also known as their formal introduction to sleeping on the couch.

The Prude said...

Tammy- your adventures with your boys helped inspire the 10 year old stage.

I will keep a sharp lookout at future Christmas parties. And remind my 2 sons who are young husbands what NOT to do with their napkins :)

Victorious1 said...

This is so familiar... have you been the invisible woman at our tables all these years??!!??

Great post, Anita.

Tammy said...

LOL - Well you certainly nailed it.

Beth said...

Great post!
I didn't now Byron was only 45 years old...

The Prude said...

Shhh Beth- I kept trying to convince my family this isn't about them ;)

Danielle said...

*uproarious laughter* Seriously I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard! Love it love it love it!!!