Manner Monday: Finger Food?

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The topic this week is courtesy of a curious Manner Monday reader who emailed their question:

“I was recently at a Sunday Brunch and confronted yet again: bacon!  Like fried chicken, is bacon a “finger food”?   Or should I be teaching my teenagers how to use a knife and fork on the bacon?  For that matter, can fried chicken be eaten with your fingers in a restaurant?”

Finger food… many welcome the opportunity to toss the cutlery and dig in (literally), but sometimes grappling with your grub can be a bit puzzling.  Here are some tips for the next time you’re confronted with the question “fingers?” or “fork?”:

Bacon – if it’s “limp”, use a fork… if it’s crispy, fingers are perfectly acceptable.

Fried chicken – usually this is found in a “casual” dining atmosphere, so fingers are fine…just no “licking” of the digits …  If the environment is a bit more “formal”, then steady the chicken with your fork while using the knife to cut portions away.

Asparagus – It is permissible to eat lightly steamed asparagus with your fingers.  If the asparagus is thoroughly cooked, or is covered with sauce, use your fork.

CheesePieces of hard cheese may be picked up and eaten with either fingers or fork.  Soft cheese is to be spread on bread or crackers with knife.

So when confronted with the question “fingers?” or “fork?”; keep your surroundings in mind, a napkin handy, and if you don’t know what to do, you can never err with cutlery…or watch and follow the lead of your host/hostess.

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