It's time to pull out the grill and enjoy outdoor dining. This summer, will you attend a backyard barbeque, corporate picnic, go on a camping trip or dine outdoors with relatives at a family reunion?
What's proper protocol for “summer dining?”
Regularly, I'm asked about the proper way to eat “summer-outdoor foods” with the predominant question being: “Is it okay to eat barbeque, fried chicken, corn on the cob, or watermelon with your fingers?” Proper dining etiquette dictates that one can eat certain foods without using utensils. However, remember your decorum and when in doubt, utilize a fork, spoon or knife. The following is a list of some “summer delicacies” and tips on how to eat them correctly.
Ribs – At a picnic or casual outdoor event, it is acceptable to disregard your utensils, but in restaurants, the all-you-can eat ribs should be cut and eaten with a fork and knife.
Chicken – The same rule applies for chicken as it does for ribs. This may be difficult at first but with a little practice, you can manage.
Hot Dogs and Hamburgers –Hot dogs and hamburgers are considered finger foods. Be careful not to overload your “dog” which can result in unwarranted drippings. The burger should be cut in quarters for easy handling. Like ribs and chicken, if you eat a hamburger in an upscale restaurant, use a knife and fork.
Corn on the Cob – Use both hands to eat an ear of corn. Butter, season and eat just a few rows at a time. Use caution when biting down to avoid squirting incidents.
Raw Vegetables, Pickles and Olives -Taking small bites, these foods can be eaten with your fingers. Dips and spreads are to be placed on the plate first then on the items. Hold unpitted large olives with your fingers and eat in small bites versus eating the whole thing at once and spitting out the pit.
Watermelon – Watermelon is usually juicy therefore it is best to eat it with a fork. Seeds are deposited into the palm of one's hand and transferred back to the plate.
The tips provided will help assure that you'll dine skillfully outdoors this summer. Lots of napkins are welcomed. Also, keep in mind to immediately place all trash in the garbage to deter uninvited insects and critters.
Until next time….Happy Summer and Bon Appétit!