So we were on the TTC yesterday afternoon, eating cold leftover pasta and leafing through the Globe, when we came across this conversation between Sarah Hampson, Beppi Crosariol and Sue Riedl about the etiquette of public eating. Read it yourself if you like, but we’ve gone to the trouble of summarizing the highlights. Apparently there are “unspoken rules” about eating in public (they’re unspoken, and yet, Hampson notes, “no one ever talks about them.” Curious.) One rule, for example, is that it’s okay to eat spaghetti in public, but only if your Tupperware “isn’t transparent.” Oops.
The colour of your Tupperware might seem like a minor detail, but Hampson et al. tackle the big questions too, like What To Do With Garbage When You’re Eating Outside (do you carry a little bag to throw it away?) and What Should You Eat At Cocktail Parties (one-bite rule? Two-bite rule?).
But forget about all that; we know you’re waiting for the answer to that one burning question: what’s acceptable nosh at the opera? According to the experts, you can eat pizza, but only if it’s a “crisp pizza bianca,” not a sloppy “quattro formaggio.” Nuts in a baggie are also allowed, but the jury’s still out on Nibs.
And then there’s this gem from Hampson, which we still can’t understand after reading five times: “I think we’re seeing that there are good and bad things to the notion of food in the public realm, and examples of what decorum there should or shouldn’t be for oneself and for those around us.”
But at the end she starts to speak our language: “There’s a certain vulnerability we exude when we’re eating in public and the ketchup is dripping down the side of our chin […] Eating allows us to show just how frail we are as human beings—ketchup can drop on your Gucci blouse!”
Ah, so eating in public is democratizing! And who can’t relate to this? If only we had a dollar for every time we got street meat on one of our many Gucci blouses!
Photo by ninjapoodles from Flickr.