Q: How are you supposed to eat salad when the lettuce leaves are so large you can't manage them? My mother always said it's bad manners...
Q: How are you supposed to eat salad when the lettuce leaves are so large you can’t manage them? My mother always said it’s bad manners to cut lettuce, but I don’t know any other way not to look like a slob.
A: There are arguments for not cutting lettuce. Some nutritionists say greens lose nutritional value when they are chopped. Chefs also argue that cut, rather than torn, leaves change flavors for the worse.
I’m with you, though. Whoever prepares the salad really should make sure it’s consumer-friendly and not a culinary obstacle course. The best compromise is to cut the leaves with the side of your fork on your plate. If that method fails, you have two choices: use a knife and fork (which I do when I’m very hungry), or ignore the salad all together.
Q: I went to a fancy dinner party where they served giant shrimp in a bowl, hanging over the sides. I made a mess trying to handle the big food with that little fork. How do you do it?
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A: As you found out, enormous shrimp can’t be eaten whole, even with help from the seafood fork. It’s even worse if it’s tough, which often is the case with oversized shrimp. If that’s the situation, don’t try to cut it into smaller pieces with just your seafood fork. Instead, spear a shrimp with your fork and put it on the saucer under the compote. Then use your knife to cut it into smaller, manageable pieces.
When small containers of sauce are served with the shrimp, it’s OK to spoon some onto the shrimp. Or you could dip each bite of shrimp into the sauce as you eat.
Mary Mitchell is a Seattle-based corporate trainer and author. E-mail questions to Mary@themitchell.org. Sorry, no personal replies.