Thursday, December 2, 2010

Olives With A Fork

Etiquette Mistakes: The Olive Pop Mech Nov 1922
Detail from advertisement, Popular Mechanics, November 1922
There are things in vintage etiquette books that you would never, ever think of these days. And yet, back in the 1920s they were really pretty much going to indicate to people whether you were someone to take up socially, or whether you were going to be relegated to a corner of the back porch with a leftover sandwich.

So I was very pleased to find some handy illustrated tips from an etiquette manual from 1922. This is the first one we're going to examine. And it is all about olives. Because you do need to know what to do when you are confronted with a relish tray at some fancy holiday dinner. You have to pick them up with your fingers. No throwing them up in the air and trying to catch them with your mouth. Just pick up an olive and chomp away. No big deal.

But alas, the poor guy in the middle has just made the most awful mistake - he has actually taken an olive with a fork. The other guests can't even look at him. The conversation stops just like that. You can just feel the icy tension in the air.

Let's just hope that they won't be having any other tricky foods. You know, like corn on the cob. He'd probably try to eat that with a fork, too. And then he'll try to take the frozen pudding with his fingers. Hint: it's more polite if you wear mittens.


Bill said...

Mom usually had a relish tray on the table at dinner, but it featured a tiny fork. We had no idea we were breaking the rules.

Kath Lockett said...

At least Olive guy won't have greasy fingers as he's forced to leave the table and sit outside on the porch by himself...

Marcheline said...

Whew! Glad to know I've been eating olives the right way all along. Wonder how the assorted company would have reacted to my patented "toss and catch in the mouth" method?