I know we’ve all been in a situation where we don’t know which foods we can appropriately eat with our hands. I can remember going to a formal dinner function with my grandparents and awkwardly cutting up my French fries with a fork and knife. As I daintily chewed the bite sized pieces I remember looking at my grandfather picking up his asparagus with his fingers. The whole time I was thinking is that appropriate? Is grandpa going to get in trouble?
Even going to wings with my friends I never know if I should pick the meat off with a fork or greedily suck on the bone like I was one of the boys. When eating Moroccan food I can relax knowing that I am not breaking any rules, and you are actually supposed to eat with your hands.
Reviewing your rules of etiquette is always a great idea before attending a formal meal. That way you don’t offend your guests/host or waste your time cutting your sandwich into a million mouth sized bites.
Below we have compiled a list of foods that are appropriate to eat with your hands at formal events. Just because you are allowed to eat them with your fingers, doesn’t mean you can later lick your hands of excess sauce. Remember your manners and don’t push your luck with these rules.
Finger Appropriate Foods
Don’t feel bashful grabbing a slice of bread from the bread basket with your hands. Although butter should most definitely be applied with a knife, bread is a perfectly appropriate food to handle with your hands. Remember to tear off only a bite at a time because your eyes are typically bigger than your stomach.
So my grandfather was right, asparagus does not need to be cut unless completely slathered in sauce or extremely tender. Don’t try to shove the entire piece in your mouth at once, but definitely don’t think you are breaking any rules by picking it up.
3) French Fries/ Chicken Tenders/ Chips
No need to awkwardly attempt to shovel your fries onto a fork with your knife. Or spear your chips with a utensil until they shatter. However these foods typically will not be served at a seven course meal, where finger foods are less common.
4) Sandwiches/ Hamburgers
Both of these dishes are intended to be eaten with your hands. But if they are ridiculously tall or overloaded with ingredients feel free to use a knife and fork to assist you.
5) Hors d’Oeuvres
You would look pretty ridiculous if you attempted to cut your toothpicked mini crab cakes into tiny pieces. Because these foods are served standing you are expected to eat them with minimal effort.
6) Corn on the Cob
I prefer my corn sliced off the cob just to ensure I don’t leave a meal with a mouthful of kernels or spend the night picking them from my teeth. But if you prefer eating it type writer style (row by row) go right ahead. If you like to typically slather it with butter you may want to cut it off the cob just to make sure you aren’t making a mess.
Cookies can absolutely be eaten with your hands unless covered in ice cream and chocolate sauce. You would probably make more of a scene attempting to cut it gracefully, than just picking it up and eating it.