Please sign in to post.
Posted by
8825 posts

The French have gotten used to this American expectation.

Just know that food portions throughout Europe are as large as what your experience here in the states.

Years ago remember a English couple staying at a West Hollywood Hotel and they were surprised by the portion sizes at breakfast.

Posted by
8182 posts

It is now the law (at least in Paris and maybe elsewhere) that people are allowed to take their leftovers and restaurants that serve crazy huge portions e.g. Bofinger are used to providing take out boxes. If you eat at a place with large portions, feel free to take the leftovers. Better restaurants serving French menus tend to have small portions.

Posted by
10311 posts

It’s the law, part of a campaign to eliminate food waste. Restaurants are happy to do this for you. It became common practice during Covid.

Posted by
785 posts

...and don't do that American thing of cutting up your food like you would for a child then eating with your fork in your right hand and your left hand in your lap.

Not only does it look weird, but everyone will be wondering what you're doing with your left hand.

Especially if you're sitting next to someone else's husband

Posted by
10311 posts

Since Simon brought this up...
US parents teach their children to keep the left, or less used hand, in their lap.
French parents teach their children to keep that second hand in sight, resting the wrist on the table. If the hand disappears into the lap, some parents will ask what they are playing with in their lap under the table. A bit of embarrassment and the wrist stays in view.

Posted by
274 posts

This just goes to show you learn something new every day.

I'm American and I was always taught to put my knife down in between bites and then place my hand in my lap. Having elbows/wrists on the table was considered rude.

I love these little cultural differences and apologize to any French person who's ever watched me eat in a restaurant :)

Posted by
9794 posts

Just know that food portions throughout Europe are as large as what your experience here in the states.

I'm pretty sure Claudia is missing an essential “not” prior to the phrase “as large” !

Posted by
18577 posts

Erin, fork in right hand, knife in the other. Never put one down, Cut, eat (from back of fork), chomp and repeat. Thai is even stranger but so far off topic I leave it to the OP.

For portion sizes in "Europe" comes back to "Europe" from my perspective I dont think of Europe as a place, its a collection of places. In some countries, in local establishments, they put US portions to shame.

Posted by
9794 posts

You're right, of course, Mister E. I was thinking specifically of France, since that is where the OP inquired about. But Claudia did say Europe, so I shouldn’t have guessed at her meaning !

Posted by
11507 posts

Erin elbows in table before food is cleared is still considered a bit rude - you just rest your wrists in table

Posted by
5052 posts

Mr E ALMOST had it right regarding the Continental use of tableware. But the fork is normally held tines down in the left (non dominant) hand, and the knife held and used for cutting, or pushing food onto the fork, in the right (dominant) hand. If only one hand is needed to eat (as in eating soup with a spoon), then the other hand is at table level, resting on the wrist. No elbows until after the table is cleared at the end of a meal.

Posted by
18577 posts

I stand corrected. I remember one day in Europe, having dinner with some friends (one Brit one Hungarian), after about 15 minutes the Brit said "stop it for G-d's sake. I cant watch you cut, put down, pick up, turn over, one more time".

The Thai, except for noodles, will use a fork and spoon more often than chopsticks. The sole purpose of the fork in the left hand is to push food onto the spoon in the right hand. The fork never goes in the mouth. I think it has more to do with clean vs dirty hand than dominate hand issues. Remember the movie "The King and I" that was the king that started the whole fork and spoon thing; or so I have been told.

My mother rasised us on Emily Post's book of Etiquite. But had to be a pre-1960 publication because my mother said that after Post died, her books were edited to the sewer.

Posted by
785 posts

And if you want to look REALLY French wait until the cheese course (before dessert). Put some cheese on your plate, then stab it with the point of your knife, and eat it off the knife.

Be very casual about it - I used to torment my mother by doing this, but in all but the most Chi-Chi places it's not something they'd comment about.