Czech vs American 'Personal Space'

Discussion in 'Culture' started by Anonymous, May 17, 2002.

  1. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Without being hippies, the couple with the baby was close to them. Most of their friends were hippies, very dirty people who thought they were very smart, and they all smoked marijuana. When they started smoking I took refuge in the garden so as not to be poisoned.

    These are not generalizations, but informal case studies.

    The fact remains that Americans eat more often with their fingers than Europeans. I remember a couple living in Orleans who had invited for Sunday lunch a few US GIs of the nearby US barracks as a token of friendship. They said they were stunned to see them eat with their fingers. The event reported took place in the 1960s.

    To come back to the apéritif topic, I remember reading a book by an American lady whose son had married a French girl in a well-to-do and aristocratic family. The book of course was about the French, and it made me laugh a lot. Eventually I gave it to an American visitor so that if he had prejudices against us, these would be reinforced. :wink:

    The author said the worst experience was French meals: too long, too much food, and the apéritif before the meal, during which drinks and titbits are served. She didn't understand why the French had apéritif, and why her daughter-in-law was in the kitchen during part of it. She also wondered why the French talked so much during meals instead of eating silently. :lol:
  2. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Common Celt, even drippy food is eating by hand in North America. How about hot dog with kechup, relish, mustard in it....dripping hamburger with all the gook coming out...yes Taco with beans coming out is eaten by numerous to name. Crudites: raw vegetable and dip(sliced cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, brocolli, sliced mushrooms, cut up tomatoes.. etc etc.) all by hand...Spinach dip in loaf (dipping pieces of bread in dip sharing with friends), egg rolls and many many more.. HOWEVER, we do have one rule for that: NEVER DIP TWICE. We don't associate with double dippers.

    YES I have seen food in baby food tray: cubes of cheese, grapes, cereal (Cheerios VERY POPULAR with babies in their food tray!!), cooked carrot sticks, pieces of bread....Tray plastic and is removable and used as large tray to contain mess baby would otherview make with dish (these are small babies). Baby would empty dish on the floor, she cannot remove the tray. It is misunderstanding to imagine liquid baby food being poured into tray.

    Sometimes it comes across in interpretation between cultures when one cannot imagine practicality of behaviour of others.

    North American would never wipe his plate clean with bread, but they used to eat bread and butter with ANY meal (meat,potato, veg.). Unless they would be some strange farmers I never met. Tucking napkin under ones chin is also unheard of (it would be horrible soacial error) and still Italians (I think) would do that.

    For one who knows Chzech cousine, it is difficult to imagine how anyone would eat it by hand. Certainly not dumplings etc.!!! However in different culture there are different meals. We can start on Indian food being eaten by hand....and that sure has gravy! Even that under circumstances can be done gracefully if you know how is is properly done in polite company.
    I lLOVE Czech food and I promisse, I will never eat goulash or svickova, or even knedlo,zelo, vepro by hand (not even when I am at home alone and light is off in the kitchen :lol: :lol:
  3. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    BREAD. This is also true here. Traditionally, in French families, children were taught to clean their plates with the last piece of bread. In the better version you had to use your fork to wipe your plate with bread. In the popular version, you only used your fingers to move the bread about.

    All this because wasting food, and bread in particular, was regarded as a sort of crime. Bread was somehow sacred. A loaf should never be placed upside down, and many people made the sign of the cross on it before cutting slices. (I have never seen done on a baguette). Now the French eat very little bread as compared to the past.

    Children had to eat their soup and finish their plate of meat and vegetables if they wanted to be served dessert. Now, in many families, they do what they please.

    NAPKIN. Also, in family dinners, small children in particular have to wear their napkin round their neck, but many adults do it, too. In formal dinners, it is never done by adults. This is still widely practiced.
  4. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    When I said "very drippy" I was thinking more along the lines of beans and toast (affectionately called sh!t-on-a-shingle, at least by my parents' generation). I would defy anyone to eat that with their hands.

    I beg your pardon! My family uses bread to sop up extra gravy, pasta sauce etc. quite often, and we may be strange, but we all live quite happily in urban areas, I'll have you know. Never say never!

    magan, Qcumber uses the word "pour" in his post, and generally that verb indicates at least a semi-liquid. Yes, I'm aware that we pour cereal out of a box, but there is no clue in the post as to exactly what kind of food this was. If I'm not mistaken, babies are often fed pureed, or just plain mushy, foods that could easily be poured. I don't think you can automatically assume there's a misunderstanding about the type of food weren't there. Or were you? Do you have a secret hippy identity, magan? C'mon, you can tell us! :twisted:
    Good point about the plate though, those little brats just toss food all over the floor whenever they can.

    Qcumber: you really are taught to use a fork with the bread in polite company??? I'm flabbergasted. There's no emoticon for the face I'm making. Imagine a combination of these: :shock: :eek: :mrgreen: :lol: As a slovenly, eatin'-with-my-hands American (my left hand is full of pretzels right now), I can hardly believe it.
  5. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    As regards the food poured by her mother on the poor baby girl's seat tray, it was not liquid at all but it was consistent enough like mashed potatoes or cooked cereals.
    What shocked me was the fact that the tray was very dirty. Even if you think it's a good idea to let the baby play with its food put directly on the tray, you have to keep it very clean. That woman never washed it! The "groove" round it was all gooey with something grey. I politely offered to wash it before the next meal. She flatly refused because my offer implied she was a slob ... which she was.
    I never thought this was common practice in the United States of America, yet none of their visitors seemed to be shocked, except maybe a lawyer's wife who frowned at the sight, but didn't say a word. :eek:

    Ceit, as regard the bread, yes, I had to use my fork as soon as I was able to handle it. Don't tell me you've never seen that. :lol:
    By the way, this is never done in formal meals. You leave the sauce, however good it is, on your plate. What a waste particularly when it costs as much as the meat. In family circles, people generally finish the sauce, unless they are on a slimming diet. :lol:

    What about the Czechs? I have the impression they have the same table manners as the French, at least those I observed in restaurants at lunch time. I didn't notice any difference.
  6. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Yes, the Czechs do have the same table manners as the French people, however, we do not wipe off the gravy with the bread, as there is always some side dish (dumplings, potatoes, pasta etc.) to absorb the gravy and be eaten with the fork and knife.
  7. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    Qcumber: you won.......they WERE pigs.

    Ceit: I was coming up with all kinds of witty comments about your family eating shit-on-shingle, sopping it with bread.... but I give up in favour of peaceful co-habitation in this group. I like it here....and I like you too you chatter-girl. :lol:
  8. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Magan, it's not a winning game. It's just sharing experiences. It is so enriching. :)
  9. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    So you've never had beans and toast, magan? Well, you're not missing anything...unless you REALLY like baked beans. I accept the truce, there are too many other disgusting foods in so many cultures to scoff about to get bogged down on one little, unpopular dish. :lol: What we call "Old World" sausages, for example. My g-grandfather was a butcher and used to make sausages that were so coarsely ground, you could take them apart and put the pig back together. Still the norm for Czechs?
  10. brook

    brook Well-Known Member

    Wow, that's a gross visual image! haha... :shock:
  11. calculations

    calculations Active Member

  12. Ark1tec

    Ark1tec Well-Known Member

    Maybe the Czechs literally have less space than the americans and that filters through to their psychology of everyhing must be bigger than everyone elses. I mean where does it stop.
    So bigger country bigger private space, smaller country smaller private space. Truth or fiction, i don't know?
    The king obviously wanted a lot of private space in czech look at the size of that castle or did he share it with a lot of his friends and family?

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