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Mind your Manners

Has there been a global shrugging off of table manners? From how we sit, to the tools we use, what is the best way to consume food?

It's not what you eat, but the way that you eat it on this week's The Food Chain. As people are exposed to cuisines from all over the world, we ask if there has been a global shrugging off of table manners. From how we sit, to the tools we use, is there a best way to consume food? And what do your eating implements of choice - hands, cutlery, or chopsticks - say about your cultural identity?

We start at Lalibela, an Ethiopian restaurant in North London where experts in dining etiquette and history join us to eat a feast with their hands.

Food historian Bee Wilson tells us cutlery is about so much more than just manners, and explains how entire cultures of eating are founded on utensils.

Lunchtime diners in Delhi reveal what we are missing when we pick up a knife and fork, and Indian food historian and critic Pushpesh Pant explains how people across the country are rediscovering their regional and cultural roots in the way they eat. Plus, a chef at a top-end Delhi restaurant tells us why he thinks the tide is turning in fine dining.

In ancient Greece elite men reclined to eat. Dr Ayesha Akbar, a Consultant in Gastroenterology tells us why they may have had the right idea. We also discuss the benefits of communal eating - and find out why some people fly into a frenzy of rage at the sound of chewing and slurping.

Finally, it has been said that while on the European continent people have good food, but in England people have good table manners. We ask James Field, from the very British institution, Debretts, for a lesson in how to eat in polite company.

(Photo: Food at Lalibela restaurant in London)

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27 minutes

Last on

Mon 27 Jun 2016 00:32GMT


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