Quite Continental Charm School: Day 6 – On Table Manners: Fork Technique

06/02/2013 § 1 Comment

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

QC Charm School: Table Manners

Editor’s Note: I’m very pleased to introduce our second guest speaker!  Lizzie Garrett Mettler is the exceedingly talented journalist, writer, and founder of the amazing blog Tomboy Style.  She’s also a dear friend who I love to pieces (and force to hang out with me whenever I am visiting Los Angeles).

It goes without saying that Tomboy Style is one of my absolute favorite places on the internet.  It has been a daily read for me for years and I always marvel/get jealous at the amazing things Lizzie discovers and discusses.  A compendium of all things adventurous, rebellious, fashionable and female, the blog is an expertly researched and magnificently cross-referenced guide to embracing your inner Françoise Hardy or Diane Keaton.  If you are not yet familiar with Lizzie and Tomboy Style, it is my pleasure to introduce you.

Without any further ado, Lizzie’s tip for a charmed life.

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Day 6: On Table Manners: Fork Technique – American vs. Continental
Over the years, I’ve toggled between the two ways to properly hold a dinner fork. Before this riveting topic puts you in a boredom-induced coma, let me first say that although there are technically two acceptable ways (according to traditional etiquette masters), I also feel that it’s a free God Damn country, so hold a fork in a way that makes you happy. So yes, there’s two styles, the Continental Style, which is favored in Europe, and the American Style, more prevalent stateside. According to Forbes Magazine, some say the American Style is actually traditional to pre-Napoleonic Europe, while others argue that the pioneering Americans created it to be different.

A quick refresher: the American Style, also known as “Switch and Switch”, demands the diner cut her food with the fork in the left hand and knife in the right, then puts down the knife and switches the fork to the right underhand position before taking a bite. The Continental Style allows the diner to cut her food in the same manner, but then can go directly from fork to mouth while still holding the knife in her right.

Emily Post, if I recall correctly, like other authorities of etiquette, note that both styles are equally acceptable. Growing up outside of Chicago, literally in the middle of America, I was watched like a hawk at the dinner table by my mother. If I didn’t put down my knife and switch hands, I was made aware. So naturally, once I was out of the house, I switched from the American Style to The Continental Style— if there’s a better way to rebel against your mother in your late teens, I’d love to hear about it.

Today, being the open-minded and well-grounded adult that I am (one who opines on minor differences in fork grips), I have to say there is a time and a place for both. If you’re looking to have a nice leisurely metered conversation while eating, go for the American Style. If you’re aiming to be less clumsy and more efficient, opt for The Continental Style—this is great, for example, if you’re eating a Croque Madame with a fork and knife, or if you like to gesture crazily like an old Italian grandmother while holding a steak knife in your hand and suffer no social (or legal) consequences. If you’re a “When in Rome” type, take on The American Style here and switch styles when traveling abroad, because, that would of course be so quite continental of you.

by Lizzie Garrett Mettler, of Tomboy Style

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The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
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About Last Night || Celebrating Tomboy Style at Rugby Ralph Lauren

08/06/2012 § Leave a comment

Last night, I was very pleased to celebrate the release of Tomboy Style by the exceptionally lovely Lizzie Garrett Mettler at the Rugby Ralph Lauren store on University Place.  It was a such a lovely party, I couldn’t help but snap a few pictures to share with you…

So great to see Lizzie on the east coast!
Was hoping to kidnap her and make her stay, but I was unsuccessful.

Loved how Rugby styled four of Lizzie’s Tomboy archetypes:
(from left) the prep, the naturalist, the sophisticate, the rebel.

With my gorgeous friend Marisa Zupan, Managing Editor at Rugby Ralph Lauren, blogger at The Significant Other, and all around awesome lady.  I’m especially loving her new bangs.

Haven’t yet picked up your copy of Tomboy Style?  What are you waiting for?

And if you are in Boston this Saturday, be sure to stop by the Rugby Ralph Lauren store on Newbury Street between 5 and 7pm to meet Lizzie and get your book signed!  Rugby is also sponsoring an awesome Tomboy Style giveaway, which you can find out about on Lizzie’s blog here
I’d wish you good luck, but you know I’m hoping to win, natch…

Tomboy Style: Beyond the Boundaries of Fashion

12/03/2012 § Leave a comment

So excited for Lizzie’s book! If you haven’t already, pre-order it.

Featured: Quite Continental on Tomboy Style

31/05/2011 § 3 Comments

Just a short note to let you know I’ve been featured elsewhere on the interwebs today.  When the lovely Lizzie Garrett, the kickass lady behind Tomboy Style, asked if I’d like to do a Q&A for her, I leapt at the chance.  To be included among amazing women such as Julia Leach of Chance, Emerson Fry of EmersonMade, Kate Jones of Ursa Major and Lizzie’s own mother, was a complete honor and a lot of fun.  If you haven’t visited Tomboy Style yet, you must do post-haste.  It is a daily stop for me for inspiration, and I know that you will love what Lizzie does as much as I.

As for my A’s to Lizzie’s Q’s, head here to find out what my current obsessions are, my favorite quality in a man, what fictional character I most identify with, and a few other random items from my brain.

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