why you can never trust a british person

It pains me to say that British people are, ultimately, untrustworthy. Because on the whole they are known for – and with good and substantial reason – being kind, collegial, competitively polite and caring. Maybe it’s just my experimental sample of Londoners (it’s quite possible that the entire population of Liverpool, let’s say, or the Hebrides archipelago off Scotland are total a-holes), but I think people here are pretty nice.

But have you ever watched a well-bred British person eat a meal? They consume every bite on their plates. And depending on the variation of their training, they may leave one small morsel left on the plate to communicate to the host that they were served just the right amount: not too much, not too little. And if you stare at the table manners of British people enough, like I do (disturbingly), you will find a consistency of etiquette unrealized and unpracticed in the Wild West of Amurrica. Which, it turns out, is just fine with me. It’s stressful to me when people are eating according to rules. I like my meals free-wheeling. If I am full, I want to stop eating. If I am so busy talking (that never happens), I might even forget to eat every bite. And then it’s time to clear the dishes. Oh well.

This little fact is the basis of my argument that people from Great Britain are ultimately not to be trusted. If a human being eats in quantity set by etiquette, and not by appetite, how do we know what else they are hiding (figuratively, not literally)? What other behavioral norms are for show? What other desires of free will are they suppressing? Are the gastrointestinal medical professionals in this country having a gangbuster business? So many questions.

Shifty, the lot of them I tell you.

Among all the eating etiquette here abhorrent to myself and Bryan (among others) is the whole eating every single thing with a fork and knife (which yes, I have mentioned several times). It turns out the new crime against hand-eating in Britain is the burrito. The burrito gains popularity here by the week. And that is unfortunate for the burrito culture worldwide. People here walk into Chipotle, buy a burrito (a food combination invented to be portable and hand-held with all its intricate flour tortilla-wrapping and tucking and folding AND NOT TO MENTION THE ALUMINUM/ALUMINIUM FOIL WRAPPER MEANT FOR HOLDING), unwrap it, place it on a plate and

wait for it

don’t be angry

I know you’re getting mad already

just count to ten

breathe in

breathe out

cut it into bite size pieces and proceed to eat it with a fork and knife.

Let that burn you for a second.

As for hamburgers, that fork and knife eating catastrophe carries on as old news. We tried Patty & Bun last weekend – the hip and trendy, #3 trending hot topic on Time Out London IJS, happens to be around the corner from us IJS, oh and watch this video on their website because it’s so london fun – and our meal was ruined because we were boxed in by giddy, jolly, weekend celebratory, hip, happy, hungry Brits eating a famous, messy, trendy burger with forks and knives. The burgers are served in paper btw. Apparently that is not enough of a hint to GET OVER YOURSELVES.


All the British people are ruining Patty & Bun.

Five years in, and I am remaining steadfast. I still eat hand-held food items with my hands (have you ever seen a person eat french fries with a fork? It’s hard to hold back from punching their private parts) and I still switch my utensils after I cut something. I guess it’s proof, sadly and maybe a little triumphantly, that even though I share a birth nation with Alex Jones (I refuse to even link to his website), I am still a good Patriot.

As for Marissa, she has lived here just a year and already eats with her fork in her left hand. I witnessed it myself at a really fun dinner at Polpo Friday night. Good luck entering border control at Logan International Airport anytime soon.



Filed under culture clash, food

9 responses to “why you can never trust a british person

  1. Rachel

    Love it! One of your most entertaining blogs, maybe because it’s so relatable to the Spaniards who make me feel like a slob when I want to (OMG) PICK UP a piece of pizza to eat it.
    Thanks for making me smile!

  2. poren

    I love your posts on etiquette. I always wish I had better manners but I always forget at mealtime and eat like a starved animal.

  3. I hear you. Burrito or burger with knife and fork is nuts….different countries different strokes. When i first moved to America, I thought most people were neanderthals for eating with their fork in their right hand and their left hand on their lap. In Germany that is considered extremely bad manners and that’s were I grew up. You either keep knife and fork in hand and if you only eat with one utensil (let’s hope it’s a spoon or fork, uhm, otherwise extremely neanderthalishgerman territory), you put the hand you don’t use next to the plate …. First time I came back from a few years in the US, my dad almost hit me over the head when he saw that I had acclimated so well:)

  4. I recently learned the owl rule which is spoon, fork, knife resting at 4:20 on the plate. I’m now (almost) too paranoid to eat!

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