Browsing Tag


eating, etiquette

Table manners… I’ve heard of those!

dicembre 30, 2013

In the Italian language there’s a saying which states that you can tell whether someone is a true gentleman  by his table manners.

table manners

Since I was little I was taught to adopt a quiet and polite behavior at the table and to observe a few simple rules: do not place your elbows on the table, do not bite off bread, do not play with food, wipe your mouth before drinking, and when you do so, take small sips, do not chew your food with your mouth open and, least of all, do not talk with an open mouth. You certainly don’t have to be a Windsor to know how to behave at the dinner table and, in my honest opinion, even if these teachings weren’t passed on to children, they should still be adopted when a person reaches an adult age. This doesn’t mean that when you’re out with friends you shouldn’t enjoy yourself: you can still have fun while observing a good table etiquette.

Having said this, I do let go from time to time in the privacy of my home and I don’t observe all of the good manner rules (oh yes, I’m amongst the people that say “enjoy” before eating or say “cheers” before a toast, even though both these things shouldn’t be done, and that does what we call in Italian “scarpetta”, which is basically when you clean off your plate with a piece of bread as to enjoy every last bit of food that was in it). Nevertheless, I always try to keep a certain decency while seated at the dinner table, especially when I’m eating out.

There’s nothing more disgusting than people that gulp down food and drinks, talk with their mouth open with consequent “rain-effect” on their poor dining companions. I might be too well accustomed but I think it is only a matter of having a bit of thought and respect for the people you share a meal with! Knowing how to behave at the dinner table is not something concerning an elite or a social class alone: it concerns everyone! We’re talking about having good taste and being polite. As I was saying, you don’t have to be a part of a certain environment or spend time with posh people to know what lacks of good taste and politeness!

In Rome there’s the Italian Academy for Good Manners, Etiquette and Decorum, an establishment in these areas of study. On their website you’ll find several courses: etiquette and good manners, good manners and leadership and, last but not least, posture.

If you need to brush up on the things that are best avoided at the dinner table, I advise you to read the following post by Madame Bonbon who has listed a few useful tips on the topic of table manners: Modern Table Manners by Miss Debrett. Otherwise, you can just do a Google search and you’ll find plenty of insightful material to read to clarify any doubt!

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Breakfast time!

settembre 23, 2013

Si sa: la colazione è il pasto principale della giornata (o almeno così dicono!). In Italia siamo abituati a fare una colazione abbastanza frugale: un caffé al volo o al massimo cappuccio e brioche se proprio abbiamo più tempo. Gli stranieri sono più bravi di noi in questo! In molti Paesi infatti le “colazioni dei campioni” sono all’ordine del giorno e variano dalle uova alla pancetta fino ad arrivare al pesce.

In genere anche io non mangio molto a colazione: un po’ perché ho poco tempo a disposizione e non amo mangiare di fretta, un po’ perché non ho particolarmente fame di prima mattina. Quando però sono nel giusto “state of mind” mi preparo qualcosa di più sostanzioso.

L’altro giorno, avevo famina e un po’ più di tempo a disposizione. Memore degli insegnamenti del Dott. Speciani, ho mangiato 3 prugne verdi che sicuramente portano il nome di qualche regina che al momento non mi sovviene. Oltre alla frutta, ho preparato un caffé con la Nespresso (what else!): ho scelto il gusto “caramelito” che, come suggerisce il nome, ha un piacevole aroma di caramello che addolcisce qualsiasi risveglio. Dato che non sono una fan del caffé “liscio” (a meno che sia “americano”), ho aggiunto anche del latte di mandorla Alpro. Certo, è un’altra cosa rispetto al vero latte di mandorla che ho provato quest’estate in Sicilia ma dolcifica il caffé al punto giusto senza quindi dover aggiungere dello zucchero.

Avendo voglia di qualcosa di caldo ho optato per una scelta tendente all’ammmmericano, ovvero uova strapazzate con cubetti di pancetta sul quale ho poi spolverato un po’ di pepe nero. Non tutti si sentono di mangiare cibo salato di primo mattino ma trovo che una colazione di questo tipo riempa a lungo e faccia arrivare alla pausa pranzo senza essere famelici.

In caso di fame sgranocchiate qualche mandorla, provare per credere!

Schermata 09-2456559 alle 01.41.08

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Everybody knows: breakfast is the most important meal of the day (or so they say!). In Italy we’re used to having a frugal breakfast: a coffee on the go or at most a cappuccino with a croissant if we have lil time more. Foreigners are better than us in this context! In several countries, “breakfast of champions” are on the daily agenda and vary from bacon and eggs to fish.

Generally I don’t have much for breakfast: this is due to the fact that I have lil time on hand and I don’t like eating in a hurry, but also ‘cause I don’t get particularly hungry in the morning. When I’m in the right “state of mind” I usually make myself something more nourishing.

A few days ago, I was feeling kinda peckishand had more time at my disposal. Mindful of Dr. Speciani, I ate 3 green plusm which probably carry the name of some queen that I can’t recall at the moment. Aside from fruit, I also made myself a coffeee with the Nespresso machine (what else!): I chose the caramelito flavour which, as the name suggests, has a pleasant caramel taste that can sweeten any awakening. Since I’m not a fan of plain coffee (except for an “americano”), I also added some Alpro almond milk. Certainly, it has nothing to due with the true almond milk I tried last summer in Sicily but it sweetens coffee at the right point without having to add any sugar.

I felt like eating something hot I opted for something US oriented, that is scrambled eggs with bacon cubes on top of which I then dusted some black pepper. Of course, not everyone feels like eating something salty first thing in the morning but I find that this type of breakfast fills you up for a long time and lets you make it to lunch time without being famished.

If you get hungry, eat some almonds, try to see for yourself! 😉

Schermata 09-2456559 alle 02.16.52