Posts Tagged "manners"

The Rule of the Seven Soup Bowls

Dear Kid,

As has been pointed out more than once (generally by me), you have a very smart mother.

So when it comes to having company, I get them to help.Things you don't know about the 7 kinds of soup bowls.

And when it comes to serving soup at a formal dinner, I serve in the kitchen and allow (and by “allow” I mean conscript) guests to deliver filled bowls to the table.

Recently a Smart Young Man (who we shall hereafter refer to as SYM) was cheerfully helping (and by cheerfully, I do in this case mean cheerfully) and asked me why soup bowls have rims and why someone would design a fancy soup bowl that is the configuration most likely to spill. SYM may go on to be an engineer—I’m fairly certain he will not be a fashion designer if he continues to ask practical questions like that.

Since I adore answering interesting questions, I looked it up. (My original answer “because that’s the type of bowl that came with the china” didn’t seem sufficient.)

Guess what? My original answer is pretty darn close.

But because I’m that kind of mom, I’m filling in the blanks with lots of interesting soup bowl trivia.

And if that doesn’t make you happy, you should talk to the SYM who inspired this blog.

In general, the texture and temperature of the soup is what determines what kind of bowl should be used. For example, think about French Onion soup which is served in a lug soup bowl (if you want to know what a “lug soup bowl” is think about French Onion soup).

If you are ever going to appear on Jeopardy! you should probably be aware that there are 7 different kinds of soup bowls. (Not counting whatever kinds were used in The Tale of Despereaux.)

The exception to the texture/temperature rule is The Formal Meal at which one should only use the aforementioned easily spill-able soup plate. And soup plates always have rims. I repeat: Always. No one knows why. They just do. Let me know if your Foods teacher has anything useful to say on the subject.

The coupe soup (and isn’t that fun to say) bowl is a saucer-shaped bowl used only for informal dining. Because apparently one doesn’t want to spill on one’s informal clothes. I’m not saying it makes sense. The coupe soup bowl is also used when overthrowing governments.

The soup-cereal bowl is also used only at informal meals. This bowl is also known (at least in some circles) as the Oatmeal Bowl. Sometimes has a rim; sometimes is rimless. It’s the wild child of soup bowls.

The covered soup bowl is useful if your kitchen is several kilometers from the dining room. It is (stick with me now) a soup bowl with a cover. If you are ever served such a thing, the correct etiquette is to remove the lid (unless the waiter does it for you in which case you are not to wrestle it away from him) and place said lid, rim side down, on the side of the underplate (which I’ll get to momentarily). Then, before the soup course is cleared, you should be sure to replace the cover.

Do not ask me why one would have a waiter and a removable cover at anything other than a formal meal because frankly I don’t have a clue.

Moving along to number 6 (go count if you don’t believe me), we have the cream soup bowl (with saucer). The cream soup bowl (with saucer) is used to serve pureed and cream-based soups. It is bigger than the bouillon cup (and saucer) which is used to serve clear soups.

Manners Alert!

If you find yourself at an event where you are served clear soup in a bouillon cup (on its saucer), you must know that you are either to use a spoon or to drink from the cup but never, oh never, alternate because that’s just plain tacky.

A final note. Underplates are placed (are you still with me?) under the bowl of soup to help protect the table from heat and spillage. Also it looks better. Even bowls with saucers, go on an underplate. In my house, the underplate is just called a plate. But from now on maybe I’ll call it George.

You will note that the seven kinds of soup bowls can all be washed and therefore the bread bowl (yum) is not officially considered a type of soup bowl. Which I also don’t entirely understand.

Then there are bowls for miso soup and pho and all sorts of other things.

If I were you, I’d be very careful about answering soup bowl questions on Jeopardy!

Furthermore, this has nothing to do with the Orange Bowl and the Super Bowl. I’ll have to write another blog about the connection. Check back.

See what happens when you ask a question?

Love, Mom

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The Ten Commandments of Technology | Rules for College Kids About Technology

Some days technology is my BFF. Today is not one of those daysDear Kid,

I hate technology.

That’s not true. I love technology. I love the ease and convenience it brings. I can’t imagine going back to typewriters or princess phones. But right now I hate technology.

I was working away happily when I got a message that Word had decided to take a short break and would be back shortly. This did not amuse me. My new-ish laptop and I have not yet developed a solid working relationship, which is to say I don’t understand all the joys of Windows 8 yet. Like why Word would spontaneously stop working and why there is no bar on the left saying Here Are the Docs I Saved for You, Do You Want Them Back? (Note: it eventually showed up, but “eventually” wasn’t soon enough.)

The point is, I probably have to recreate some things unless I can talk George the Laptop into coughing up the data. But before I perform a laptop-Heimlich, I thought I would share with you the Ten Commandments of Technology in case you’re not up on Important Theology.

  1. That Which Goeth on the Internet Remaineth on the Internet
  2. Just Because Someone Else Posteth Something Doth Not Mean Thou Art Required to Repost It
  3. Thou Shall Plug in Thy Laptop if Thou Expecteth Thy Battery to Work
  4. Thou Shall Back Up Thy Work
  5. Thou Shall Not Punch Thine Laptop no matter how annoyed thou shalt be
  6. Someone Else Shall Always Have a Newer, Cooler Version of Technology. Thou mayest drool enviously, but thou shall not be getting a new device any time soon
  7. When Thou Watchest Cat Videos Thou Shalt Not Claimeth to be Studying
  8. Thou Art Smarter Than Thy Laptop
  9. Typing Thy Class Notes Is Not the Same as Studying and thou shalt not pretend it is (even to thyself)
  10. Thou Shall Be Kind to Tech Support Even When They Are Busy Not Solving Thy Problems. Techno-frustration shall be no reason for rudeness.

Hope you are having a techno-happy day, kiddo.

Love, Mom

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Manners, Rudeness, and Magic Words

Barney is the college mascot of polite behavior.

Barney is the college mascot of polite behavior.

Dear Kid,

What is the key-number-one-top-of-the-list most important thing you can control to make sure you have a successful future?

Not clean underwear, although that’s pretty high on the list.

Not a good sense of humor, although that will make you more fun to hang out with.

Not even a great college education, although I hope you are spending some time studying as your tuition is far too high to make it ok to ignore the studying part.

The number one, must have, most important thing you can learn is manners.

Way back when you used to watch Barney, the big purple guy used to sing about “Please and Thank You, ‘cause they’re the magic words. If animals could talk you’d hear the fishes and the birds saying Please and thank you, ‘cause they’re the magic words….” Do you have the tune running through your head right now? I do. Dang…must go find other music…

The number of rude and inconsiderate people in the world is staggering. There is absolutely no reason for you to be one of them and several gazillion reasons for you not to. It takes so little effort to be polite and has such a big payoff.

Yes, you guessed it. Someone was rude to me. It wasn’t even well-done rudeness where you could say to yourself, “ah, that person was being rude on purpose for a specific reason” or “oh, ho! That individual has made a study of rudeness and raised it to an art form” or even “I see someone has been reading Oscar Wilde again.” Nope. This was plain old, boring, inconsiderateness. Blech.

So here are today’s (and by today’s I really mean today, this minute because I’m thinking about it, not today meaning modern day) reminders about being polite.

  • If there is a meeting/appointment/performance/class/study group, get there on time. By which I mean 5 to 10 minutes early. The only acceptable time for lateness is when it’s just a big party and people are coming and going all the time. If there is significant blood or fire, you might be forgiven if you are late but only if you singed or well bandaged.

  • Apologize profusely for inadvertent rudeness. And if you are going to apologize, say you’re sorry like you mean it, not like your mother is standing there saying “what do you say…?”

  • Offer to help. Or better yet, just help. Open a door, carry something, hold the elevator, clean up after yourself.

  • Be gracious. If someone opens the door for you, offers to carry your books, or does something else that is kind, smile, say thank you, perhaps even return the favor. Under no circumstances should you ignore the gesture or refuse the assistance. (Note: in the 70s many women refused to let men open doors, etc. for them. They were Making a Point, and maybe it needed to be made then. Personally, I think even in that Not Quite Enlightened Time they could have been more gracious. More importantly, this is not Then and there is absolutely no reason to refuse courtesies.)

  • Use those magic words. Please, thank you, excuse me, may I, good morning, I’ll see you tomorrow. You know the ones. The words you’d use if someone else’s mother was standing there.

I probably didn’t need to remind you of any of this. You probably never grunt at people as a way of communicating now that you’re in college. But I really am annoyed at the Rude Person. Thanks for listening,

Love, Mom

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