There are some foods that create very little controversy when eaten with your hands: Onion rings, sandwiches, toast come to mind. And other foods, like steak or pasta salad, are frowned upon. Some of this divide is practical (such as oatmeal) and sometimes it seems rather random: we eat French fries with our hands and roasted potatoes with a fork, for example. Do you have any food you like to eat with your hands that polite society says you shouldn't?
It's not that I can't use chopsticks, exactly. It's just not very pretty when I do. No amount of practice, step-by-step tutorials, or helpful demonstrations from friends has improved my ability to snag bits of food and carry them efficiently to my mouth. Please tell me I'm not alone.
Potluck parties are one of the least stressful and most budget-friendly ways to throw a dinner party. But as with most communal efforts, they work best when everyone works together, so you don't end up with 10 bottles of wine and not enough food. What are the rules you wish everyone followed when it comes to potlucks?
Q: I have conflicted feelings about sushi. I really enjoy it, but I always feel a little awkward while eating it. In particular, I've noticed that I end up eating sushi way too fast, since there is no cutting or other preparation that needs to be done.
Do other readers experience this? How can I slow down and enjoy my sushi?
From time to time CHOW's resident etiquette expert, Helena Echlin, asks our readers for some advice. She has an interesting question from a reader right now, who has a puzzling set of friends. They are compulsive hosts, very generous. But they can't seem to accept a return favor.
Read on for the whole question, and please add your two cents! Helena will include some of your answers in her response at CHOW next week.
Mother's Day weekend seems a particularly good time to to revisit a popular question from our readers: My friend just had a baby — what kind of meal should I take? A friend of mine just had her very first child last night, and so this question is on my mind too. So I was glad to see this great article by Deena Prichep in The Oregonian, full of tips, advice, and good ideas on nourishing new mothers and their families.
In our experience, it seems most dinner parties start at 7pm. This allows enough time for guests to get ready after work (and for the host to get last minute details together), but is early enough that dinner can be leisurely without the evening slipping away too soon.
Hosting a dinner party is a big effort. Depending on your style you may have to clean up the house, shop for and make a meal, set the table, arrange flowers, restock the bar, make a music mix, arrange for childcare or kid-friendly alternatives, get yourself dressed and presentable, light the candles, and arrange the hors d'oeuvres. Phew! All this is good to do but as a host your most important task is to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable. Read on for 8 basic tips on how to do just that.
So many recipes seem to assume we have this friendly first-name relationship with our local butcher. Or that we have a local butcher at all! These recipes advise us to "ask your butcher for this..." or "have your butcher do that..." Well, what if we're not quite there yet?