Australian Table Manners – Oh My!

Australian Table Manners – Oh My!

Australians are unspeakable eaters according to etiquette expert Gill Harbord

Article from: Sunday Herald Sun
By: Catherine Lambert

August 30, 2009 12:00am

TOO many Australians are using forks as spades and knives as forks, according to etiquette expert Gill Harbord.

Eggleston Hall headmistress and co-judge of popular TV series Ladette to Lady Gill Harbord said Australian table manners were atrocious.

“Unfortunately, Australians are not alone – this is a habit I observe wherever I travel in the world, including my home, England,” Ms Harbord said.

“We have got to the point where things are totally out of hand. Why must people push everything to the limit of being revolting?”

Ms Harbord has been watching diners during her present trip to Australia and has noticed many etiquette crimes such as eating off a knife, licking plates and holding the fork face up rather than face down.

Her Australian tour is sponsored by McDonald’s, which is about to launch its new Angus Beef range in an effort to offer more premium foods on its menu.

McDonald’s held a survey of 1000 Australians that found 74 per cent of Victorians admitted to burping and 91 per cent rested their elbows on the table during meals.

“McDonald’s get a lot of young people through their doors and they’re trying to fancy things up a bit,” Ms Harbord said.

“Young people are the main culprits of bad manners, but it all starts at home in the family. It’s the parents’ job to teach a child what not to do and what to do. If the parents don’t seem able then we have to go to the schools.”

Ms Harbord also blamed modern lifestyles – where food was eaten on laps in front of television and eating was not enjoyed, but seen as a task to complete rapidly – for the decline in table manners.

“They just spoon the food in without thinking, when really eating at a table should be a time to share good conversation and good food,” she said.

The etiquette queen feared young people who did not eat properly would be disadvantaged as adults in the corporate world.