Author Topic: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????  (Read 33743 times)

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Asharah

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Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« on: September 21, 2008, 09:58:18 PM »
My husband, three kids and I live across the country from our relatives. A few months ago, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law visited my home. My mother-in-law is a good sort, but the sister-in-law, "Heather," is a completely different story. She complained constantly, treated my teenage son like her personal slave and generally made life miserable for everyone. She was forever breaking rules of common decency and etiquette...which makes this story all the more amusing.   

One day, we all went out-of-town to visit a museum, and had lunch at a rather nice Japanese restaurant. As I used to work at a Japanese restaurant years ago, I was very familiar with the food and helped my children and mother-in-law to order. The food arrived, we all began to chow down, and I actually thought that for once everyone---including Heather---was happy and having a good time.   Wrong.   After a few minutes, both my husband and I began to notice that Heather is glaring at us. I was taken aback; my kids were behaving and thus far, it had been an enjoyable meal. Whatever was the matter with her now? Not being able to figure out on my own what the problem was, I asked Heather if there was anything wrong.   She glared at me again for a few minutes, slammed her fork down on the table and announced in a very loud voice, "You are SO INCREDIBLY RUDE!" and indicated myself, my husband and my teenage son.   Why were we rude, you ask?   Because we were eating with chopsticks.   No, I am not making that up. According to Heather, everyone at the table should eat with the same utensils, or it is "rude." And as she does not know how to use chopsticks, that meant everyone at the table should use a fork, as she was doing.   I was dumbfounded. I tried to laugh it off, explaining my previous employ at a Japanese restaurant and how I pretty much had to learn to use chopsticks at that time or risk professional ridicule.   Heather's response? "If you worked in a Japanese place, then you of all people should know better."   I hope you think of me, the next time you have sushi.     

Relatives0807-07
Asharah's comment: Anyone who tried to interrupt me at my favorite Japanese restaurant to tell me I'm rude for eating with chopsticks would get the glare of death for interrupting my meal. And maybe throw in a comment about how they are being insensitive to the culture of the people running the restaurant for not learning to use chopsticks.
Asharah

42_42_42

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 10:05:45 PM »
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered! Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!

Asharah

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 10:16:04 PM »
I remember a joke I made once about out family's annual after Xmas restaurant dinner being like a MasterCard commercial.
Dinner for four generations at the favorite Japanese steakhouse $700+
Watching a toddler eating ice cream with chopsticks - PRICELESS!
Asharah

Mopsy428

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2008, 10:39:46 PM »
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered! Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!
My parents never took my siblings and me to Chinese, Japanese, or Thai/Vietnamese restaurants for a night out because quite a few of us don't like the food, so it's not completely off the wall for someone to grow up not knowing how to use chopsticks. When my parents ordered Chinese out (which was rare), we'd just use the utensils at our house.

Bethczar

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 10:44:40 PM »
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered! Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!
My parents never took my siblings and me to Chinese, Japanese, or Thai/Vietnamese restaurants for a night out because quite a few of us don't like the food, so it's not completely off the wall for someone to grow up not knowing how to use chopsticks. When my parents ordered Chinese out (which was rare), we'd just use the utensils at our house.

I have to agree, it seems a bit harsh to say that everyone should know how to eat with chopsticks. My family loves Chinese food, but since my parents didn't know how to eat with chopsticks, none of us kids bothered to learn either. I'm always impressed with those people who can eat with them.

MDefarge

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2008, 10:45:42 PM »
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered!  Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!

Nice - ever think she could be someone who just *can't* master chopsticks no matter how hard they try?  Believe me we do exist and thanks eversomuch for being so kind with your assumptions.

Not to say that Heather wasn't outrageously rude, but it's equally rude to assume someone is somehow lacking because they don't use chopsticks.

« Last Edit: September 21, 2008, 10:47:31 PM by irishone »

42_42_42

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2008, 10:55:56 PM »
I apologize. I've never met anyone before who didn't know how to use them. Everyone I know learned how to use them the first time they went to somewhere that had them when they were kids. Just kind of part of the experience of going to eat the food.

I still don't understand Heather's reaction in the OP.

Bethczar

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2008, 11:05:22 PM »
I apologize. I've never met anyone before who didn't know how to use them. Everyone I know learned how to use them the first time they went to somewhere that had them when they were kids. Just kind of part of the experience of going to eat the food.

I still don't understand Heather's reaction in the OP.

I think it's safe to say nobody understands Heather's reaction.  :P

Venus193

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2008, 11:36:53 PM »
Heather is an insecure twit who probably fears she lacks sophistication because of an inability to eat with chopsticks and didn't want to be shown up.  A more sensible person would have just asked someone else to demonstrate how to use chopsticks; it's not difficult for sushi.

She was insanely rude and her response to the author was incredibly stupid.  I dearly hope she never goes to Japan with an attitude like that.

Twik

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 12:14:46 AM »
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.
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Alida

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2008, 12:22:41 AM »
I'm like a PP, still trying to get my head around the idea that there are people who do not know how to use choptsticks as adults. Then again, DD has been using them since she was 4, since her father brought her first set home from Nagano, and I was the only American in a large Taiwanese/Japanese company for a few years.  For us, it is second nature.  It can be very hard to remember that there are others who have not grown up the same way. 

Even so, even if Heather can't use them or is unwilling to even try to learn, that is certainly no reason for her to demand everyone use the same utensils she is.

Somewhere I saw a pair of children's spring-loaded chopsticks.  Maybe Heather needs a pair for Christmas?

shadowfox79

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2008, 07:09:32 AM »
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.

I can use chopsticks, in the sense that I am able to eat things with them without throwing them all over the floor, but a Chinese waiter might well watch me and think I was a cack-handed moron. I've never yet been offered a spoon or fork, but I fully expect to be at some point.

faithlessone

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2008, 08:45:53 AM »
I've never been able to master the use of chopsticks. I can just about pick up large pieces of food, but that's it. However, I'm allergic to certain chemicals that are present in a lot of Chinese food, and I'm not a fan of other Eastern cuisines (possibly because of the associations in my head).

I think Heather's reaction was bizzare though.

Schmoopie3928

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2008, 08:54:57 AM »
wow! I agree with some of the pp about her probably feeling inferior, so she flipped it back at you. I can use chopsticks as well, even though I get rusty if I haven't used then in a while. when I go out for chinese, either with work, or with my family, I use them, and 2 members of my family and about 3 people from work use them. No one has ever yelled at me or called me rude for using them! lots of time I get envy from people that never could/never tried to figure them out.
Sounds like Heather needs a good whack with a clue-by-four!

Betsy

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Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2008, 09:01:04 AM »
Its rude to use chopsticks?!?! ??? That's a new one to me. DH and I even use chopsticks at home. I bought him a nice set from a local international food store (Jungle Jim's for anyone familiar with Cincinnati)

My Dad tried to teach my sisters and I how to use chopsticks when we were very young but it didn't work very well. However when we went to California to visit his family, we visited one of Dad's oldest friend's widow, a very proper Chinese lady. She made lots of traditional dishes (Octopus was sort of good :) ) and taught my sisters and I how to use chopsticks, that stuck. I always figured that in a restraunt that offers chopsticks, if one knows how to use them, they should.