Do Not Sit Down on Food and Crockery & Never Cut your Pie with a Knife


“The Table Manners Polka” from The Best Foot Forward Series: Gratitude Attitude by Mike Soloway. Released: 2013

Manners and a sense of”decorum” are universal.  What is acceptable within one culture is totally rude in another.  I suppose that is where the expression “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” originated.   If you should travel outside of your comfort zone without a sound knowledge of other people’s customs and manners, you are bound to offend, appear to be RUDE and generally will not be invited for a return engagement.

“I say we toss her out of town. She is clearly NOT doing as the Romans do, when in Rome!” (Photo Credit:

Many “older” cookbooks generally have a chapter on etiquette or “table manners” and the majority of them were published at the turn of the century and into the 1940’s.  Somehow, though, apparently etiquette went the way of the dinosaur, at least in more recent cookbooks and in my large collection, I seldom see any mention of such mundane topics in books published in the last 50 or so years.  If there is a recently published cookbook, which includes a section on “table manners”, I sincerely hope that #1 rule is: NO CELL PHONES AT THE DINING TABLE, NO MATTER WHERE OR WHEN, PERIOD!

From my collection, I selected a few cookbooks with sections on such esoteric matters. From a marvelous and, I assume, seldom seen cookbook entitled “The Kazakh national cuisine“, published in 2007, the following are extracted from the chapter “Omens, bans and popular notions regarding meals“.

For sure one should not speak with his mouth full“.

Not speaking with a mouthful would be impossible for this gentleman! (Photo Credit:

“I kent tok….my mowf if fool” (Photo Credit: http://www.tamigrimmius.








A child should not eat brains, otherwise he will grow into a very slow and sluggish person

This child is at risk for becoming slow and sluggish. (Photo Credit:

One should not say bad things about the food

“You didn’t have to SAY anything.  I get the message!”Photo Credit:







One should not eat out-of-doors, standing, walking or lying

You might be ashamed if you acted this way in a Kazakh home. (Photo Credit:

A child eating bread crumbs will make rich

“Look out Warren Buffet and Bill Gates!” (Photo Credit:

Adults are prohibited to sit at the table without clothes, with bare torso

“You mean, this isn’t allowed at a Kazakh dining table?” (Photo Credit:

If a person hiccups, they say, he secretly ate food that he had stolen

“Whoops….guilty as charged. I cannot tell a lie: I stole the dumpling” (Photo Credit:

And, lastly, from “The Kazakh national cuisine: “One should not sit down on food and crockery

This cat obviously doesn’t live in a Kazakh household, otherwise he would have been banished. (Photo Credit:











From “The Household Library“, published in 1905 come the following bits of etiquette:

“...pouring liquids down the throat as down a pipe….are indulgences conferring no additional pleasure on the eater, but seriously marring the comfort of his neighbors

“Glug, glug, glug….” (Photo Credit:







Soup is to be taken without noise from the side of the spoon opposite to that which is dipped in the liquid

“You’re doing it wrong, Mom….from the side, from the side!” (Photo Credit:

As for lettuce, “It is the worst possible taste to scrutinize each leaf carefully before eating

“You’re examining every leaf? How rude!” (Photo Credit:

It is never allowable to take up a bone with the fingers, in public or private”

“Okay, okay. When I learn how to use a knife and fork, I’ll learn how to be more civilized” (Photo Credit:

Never cut your pie with a knife

“No, really, it’s OK. It’s only AFTER the pie is out of the pan that the rule applies” (Photo Credit:








Bread may be used as a pusher, but should not be employed to soak up the gravy on the plate

“I’m just pushing, not soaking!” (Photo Credit:

(after the meal is over) “The napkins are laid on the table quietly, not folded: the ladies pass out, the men stand until they have gone…

“Well, it says in “The Household Library”, that after dinner “…the ladies pass out…” (Photo Credit:

And, published in 1852, the “Ladies’ Indispensable Assistant…” has a few things to say about table manners.


Carefully abstain from every act or observation that may cause disgust, such as spitting…

“You, Madam, are disgusting!” (Photo Credit:

Making a noise in chewing, or breathing hard in eating, are both unseemly habits, and ought to be avoided

“You’re not only making a lot of chewing noises, but you’re also breathing hard. Stop it at once, you rude person” (Photo Credit:

Eat peas with a dessertspoon

“How crass…eating peas with a knife! Where did you grow up?” (Photo Credit:”

A man who monopolises a conversation is a bore, no matter how great his knowledge

“Boy, is he long-winded. Will this monologue never end?” (Photo Credit:

In addition, “Never get into a dispute….never lose temper…

Fighting at the dinner table is not only rude, but it messes with the digestion. (Photo Credit:

Everyone knows this golden rule: “Never scratch your head, pick your teeth, clean your nails, or worse than all, pick your nose in company

“Look, Doris. I can pick my teeth and clean my right ear at the same time!” (Photo Credit:

And, to bring us up to date in 2018….

”             ” (lack of conversation)                  (Photo Credit:

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,500. What next? More shelves?
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