As a ‘keeper’ of the etiquette rules, so many of the events that happen in our daily lives simply don’t allow us to comfortably ‘follow the rules’.
Recently, while attending a large convention, one of my associates stopped at a booth to check out a new product. At the booth, the company had trays of pick-up food (egg rolls, stuffed mushrooms, baby pizza etc.) for guests to help themselves. My associate took a napkin and picked up an egg roll. The caterer quickly sprang forth to tell her how rude she was for not using the serving tongs on the tray. In defense, my associate explained that she purposely didn’t use the tongs because so many people ahead of her had used them and she was sure they were covered in germs on the handle. She told the caterer that she selected an egg roll with her just-sanitized fingers, without touching another on the platter.
Etiquette dictates that utensils be used to pick up food from platters, but was she right or wrong?
I admit that at large receptions and all-you-can-eat food bars, the utensils probably are very ‘germy’. In my opinion, my associate had a valid response in whether or not to use those particular utensils at that particular time. We tell all our etiquette graduates that first you need to know the rules, then you make a judgment call on breaking that rule if need be.
And that Makes Momma Happy!