Friday, November 9, 2012

Eating Difficult Foods: Spaghetti and Peas


Facing a dinner plate filled with unfamiliar foods can be unnerving especially during a formal dinner or business lunch.  Equally challenging are those foods we eat frequently but are known to squirt, spray, or splatter. Knowing how to eat these difficult foods can really make all the difference between having a miserable time or a fabulous one.

Seldom are we faced with peeling an orange using only a fork and knife, a skill that can be quickly acquired with a bit of practice. But we do encounter other foods that can be challenging. Today I address spaghetti and peas.

When eating spaghetti, unless you are a child, do not cut the pasta. Likewise, do not snap it in half before cooking it. This delightful food is meant to be twirled. Though some people will correctly argue that Italians would never twirl spaghetti on a spoon, it is a method used widely especially in North America. Capturing a few strands with your fork tines and twirling them near the inner rim of your plate also ensures a safe journey to the mouth. If the spaghetti is in a broth like sauce, no one should wince if you use a spoon for twirling. The objective is to avoid splattering yourself or your neighbors.

Peas roll. They can seem to come alive on your plate and roll around as if to escape capture. Similar to not cutting your spaghetti, do not mash your peas on your plate. There are other far less barbaric and successful methods. Spearing for example is perfectly acceptable. Incorporating peas with other foods simultaneously on your fork is always helpful. Americans though can mount quite a pile on their forks with the aid of either a knife or small piece of bread, a wonderful edible pusher. I find they attach handily to mashed potatoes or almost anything with a bit of sauce. Do not fall prey to the practical trap of using a spoon to eat peas, unless you are a small child.