How Not to Eat Like an Ugly American
You'd think eating was risk-free, or at least faux pas free. It's not
Nor is travel, it seems. New Media Travel's post "How Not to Travel Like an Ugly American," highlighted some of the cultural land mines that lie in wait for the unsuspecting traveler, such as never bring a dozen roses to a dinner party in Italy. Your hostess will frown at the gesture because it's "improperly romantic," and apparently Italians prefer an odd number of flowers.
Who would have thought. The post also provides a "cultural awareness" test for all those who fear being foolish.
Then Budget Travel came out with it's list of eating etiquette no-no's, which go beyond not putting your elbows on the table or wiping your mouth with the sleeve of your jacket. But who really would have thought that placing your chopsticks the wrong way in Japan might remind someone of their dead grandmother.
The dean of avoiding such traps is and has been Dean Foster of Dean Foster Associates who has mapped out the world's cultural Do's and Dont's so the rest of us can travel...and eat in peace, secure in the knowledge that we'll ask for the salt correctly.
Amanda Ruggeri, who wrote the Budget Travel article, eases us into the apparently arcane world of International Dining Etiquette by adding to the Japanese chopstick story. She tells us that during funerals (some "funerals," we assume) the rice bowl of the deceased is placed before their coffin, with the chopstick standing upright.
Moving on to Thailand, Ruggeri refers to Leela Punyaratabandhu, a food writer at SheSimmers.com who strongly advises that in Thailand it's simply not acceptable to use chopsticks at any rice-based meal. Punyaratabandhu calls it, "awkward, inconvenient and tacky."Continued on the next page