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Thread: Manners: Elbows on the table.

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    mr drinky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apicius9 View Post
    I'm European - no elbows on the table, of course. But I seem to be the only one in my circle of friends who cares or even notices.

    Stefan
    The French don't care as much about elbows from what I understand, and Central Europe surely cares less yet -- so not all of Europe is elbow free :P

    For me, I follow the general rule of never elbows while actually eating food. When you stop eating, are talking with your fellow diners, or are between courses anything goes. But more importantly common sense rules. Know your setting, fellow diners, and situation. Sometimes elbows and sometimes not. But even when I am at a nice restaurant I will catch myself with my elbows on the table, look around, and realize that most diners put their elbows on the table through portions of their meal. I see nothing wrong with it.

    There is really little reason for this elbow manner actually -- it is mostly likely a historical artifact of days gone by. I read that it actually may have come from communal dining long ago and putting elbows on the table would take space away from others (that makes sense). Also, there was possibly a design of a table/setting in Europe that would be tipped easily if people put elbows on it. Both of these no longer apply, but the tradition has kept on.

    In some countries keeping hands under the table is not acceptable, and for most of the world, the elbows-on-the-table thing is unknown and irrelevant -- we are the minority. On the other hand, Arabs in general don't eat with their left hand, which is considered unclean. That practice was based upon personal sanitation and other factors, but in more modern (clean) Arab countries you will see people using their left hand more than in less clean places such as Yemen.

    k.
    "There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson

  2. #12
    Senior Member Lucretia's Avatar
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    Don't you remember the poem?

    Mr. Drinky, if you're able
    keep your elbows off the table!
    This is not a horse's stable.
    This is a DINING TABLE!


    That said, I'm more of a no elbows when eating, elbows between courses and afterwards kind of person.
    Now is not the time to bother me. And it's always now. Wiley Miller

  3. #13
    no care, and never dine with anyone that would care.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucretia View Post
    Don't you remember the poem?

    Mr. Drinky, if you're able
    keep your elbows off the table!
    This is not a horse's stable.
    This is a DINING TABLE!

    Good one. I couldn't remember the poems, but I new someone would

    The reason for this question is that my ex-wife slavishly adheres to her parents' 1950's ideals without thinking why exactly and passes them on to my daughter. Last summer my daughter came back eating pizza with a fork and knife (seriously??) and said she couldn't use her hands according to Mommy. Now it is the elbows thing, so my daughter awkwardly sits trying to eat, adjusting her hands all the time. Instead of teaching a kid to think about manners as a way to be polite, respectful, and courteous of others it becomes a 'lazy' system aimed at rules and control. It's easier to bark orders simply because her parents did than to get a kids to understand it and apply it to real life.

    Ok, that's my ex-wife rant -- I'm done. I have to go break down a Turkey now.

    k.
    "There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson

  5. #15
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    I'm a firefighter. If we ever worried about that, we'd be ridden HARD by the guys. However, A good idea is to see what the Captain does. Sometimes you get an old stickler, and other times, you're good either way. My Cap doesn't care, so neither do I.

    At home, it's my home, and I like to lean, and have casual dinners with my wife. It promotes easy conversation and a nice relaxing time. In my house, elbows can go anywhere but in my drink

    Formal affairs, or dining out, however, I keep them off because I'm not an animal! Haha.
    09/06

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  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    Not during the dinner itself, but acceptable if sitting around the table once cleared.
    +2

    Poor table manners is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate it. It's just a deal breaker when dating too.
    I've kicked my younger (18 and 16 year olds) cousins about this, because they chopsticks up in rice,
    look bored with their elbows on the table... UGH. List. Goes. On.

    It's okay if someone has both elbows on the table leaning in, and they're concentrating on their meal...
    but yea, once the table is cleared is best. I feel like it's disrespectful to the food somehow. :[

  7. #17
    for me its all about comfort, you enjoy your food much better if you sit comfortable, in DK there no problem about elbow either.
    And also depends how high or low your table is and how much space you have

  8. #18
    Yes to the elbows
    Okay to the feet
    As long as there's food on the table
    I say Let's Eat!

    Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901)
    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." —Mark Twain

  9. #19
    No elbow on the table at any time.... growing up in Japan, this has become a natural part of my manner

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Sara@JKI View Post
    No elbow on the table at any time.... growing up in Japan, this has become a natural part of my manner
    Yea, my relatives were really strict about this too.

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