My Cutlery Affair

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: September 06, 2019

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Submitted: September 06, 2019

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My Cutlery Affair

I have been living in Australia for a while, but I did not realize how I never got used to eating with knifes and forks till about three years ago, a friend of mine at a dinner party pointed out to me and said, 'There is a set of knife and fork on your table, you do not need to use your hands to hold and cut the steak with your teeth.'

He showed no intention to jeer at me, but his voice was loud and attracted all the people at my and other dinning tables to look at me. I felt a gash of embarrassment flushed across my face! I put down the steak and clumsily picked up the knife with my left hand, the fork with my right hand and tried to eat like a civilized lady instead of a caveman.

About ten minutes later, while people were finishing their meals and starting their desserts, there was still haft of the steak left on my plate. It was seeping with a bit of blood at seventy percent well done. The steak wasn't hard, it must because the knife wasn't sharp, I told myself. A compulsion to put down or throw away the cutlery and cut the steak with my own teeth was strong...but I had to be civilized, I had to be a lady...but did I have to?

My mind drifted to the first time when I used cutlery.

It was when I was eight, my Dad took us to a steakhouse in our city where mainly westerners would go. My brother, sister and me were all very exciting, as it was our first time to dine in a "foreign" restaurant. It was an unusual and luxury treat. I thought my Dad must have won a lottery or received a big payment the day before. Either way, I didn't care. Having something special or different to eat was more important to a kid's pride and happiness.

We stood in queue for about twenty minutes before we were led in. I saw there was more than two-third of the customers were having "tall-nose" and speaking languages I could not understand. After we were seated, I noticed something unusual in the table setting as well. I asked my Dad, 'Why there are no chopsticks?' He laughed and said, 'You don't eat steak with chopsticks, you eat them with knife and fork.'

Those funny looking silverware were certainly foreign to me, they looked like weapons or small drumsticks rather than something you used to put food in your month. We never used them in our dinning room at home. We used chopsticks for almost everything beside soups, to which we used spoons, of course.

When the ordered steaks were delivered. I stared at the steak which was still steaming and wondered why it was so chunky and did not cut to small pieces like most of the Chinese foods did, in which everything came in mouthful and handy to eat. My Dad said the cook had no time for that, we had to cut it ourself as part of the deal, and it was fun to do that too. Well, I thought the cook was simply lazy. And I didn't understand why it was more expensive than a plate of pork chops.

With bewilderment, I picked up my knife and fork without knowing which hand for which. I looked at my brother and sister for some instruction. But they were as clumsy as me. I looked at my Dad and saw he was having a bowl of noodles instead. Not a good source for a cutlery lesson either. I peered at a guy next to our table to see if I could learn something. The guy was talking to a woman in front of him, his hand was not holding any knife or fork but her hand. The girl had a glass of wine in her another hand. It was not very helpful. I turned and looked at another side of table next to me. The couple at the table already finished eating, and were drinking and kissing. It was not very helpful either. My Dad told me stop looking about but mind my own business, otherwise he would not take us to watch movie after this.

I managed to give my both hands a go at the streak. With many tries and errors, the knife finally cut into the steak alright and the dead cow did budge. But it wasn't a piece of meat that got cut off but the whole steak flew off my plate, along with the knife, and landed at my sister's table in front of me. My sister Kay looked at me in a somewhat furious way as my steak spilled sauce all over her yellow dress. But she soon bursted into laugh and said, 'See, haven't I told you? Forget about the knife and fork,' She continued to eat her steak with both of her hands and teeth, 'and forget about trying to be a lady!' She gestured me to pick up my steak and start to eat like her. I was not sure if it was okay or not, I looked at my brother and found he already finished his steak and was licking his fingers...

I was totally convinced then that this was how one should eat steak. No knife and fork but teeth and jaw.

Many moons after that, I still keep that compulsion in me despite how I should look more of a lady and be civilized when eating.

Recently I visited my hometown again, many things had gone different. The day before I came back Australia, my sister asked me, 'Wanna go to the steakhouse again?' She grinned like a Cheshire Cat. A smile from ear to ear.

I nodded.

No cutlery. Only teeth and jaw.


© Copyright 2019 Derina Penn. All rights reserved.

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