2019-04-23

Mermaid MMCCCLIII

Pirate Mermaids!

2019-04-22

Mermaid MMCCCLII


模倣子 Why Americans Eat Weird

Background
For some reason, Americans eat with a fork and knife in a very odd manner. The "right" way, of course, is the knife in the right hand, so you can get some sawing motion going with the dominant hand, and the fork in the left to hold the meat in place, and finally to stick the bit of meat into the mouth.

Americans, however, do the same thing, but after cutting off a bit of meat, put down the knife, change the fork to the other hand, and poke the bit of meat with the fork and stick it into the mouth.

Oh, there's some kind of rule of something that says you can cut off up to three bits of meat before you change hands. More than that starts to be perceived as low-brow.

How Did This Happen?
What kind of memetic mutation happened to cause this? This is another example that one could look at in terms of its results, like population self-identification. Do Americans see themselves as Americans and this odd behavior, which admittedly doesn't make sense, helps them to see other Americans as countrymen...and Europeans as "others."

Or could it just be "memetic drift?" When did it start, for starters? If we assume it started, say, a few decades, or even a century before the American Revolution, then we can imagine a period of drift, since this eating pattern is a series of separable motions, which can be more or less plugged and unplugged into each other to produce a new behavior.

If an American at one point decided that he wanted to eat meat by poking it with his right (dominant) hand, he might try the switcheroo. Maybe he usually eats food that doesn't need to be cut, or maybe he has a big ol' Bowie knife that he only wants to hold when he's actually cutting. Then when he sets it down, he now has a fork in his left hand and nothing in his right hand.

Mutation?
Maybe it could start like this:

1. poke meat on plate with left fork
2. cut meat with right knife
3. put poked meat in mouth
4. go back to step #1

1. poke left
2. cut right
2.1. knife heavy, set down
2.2. swap fork to new empty right
3(a) put poked meat (right) in mouth
4(a) swap fork back to left
4(b) go back to step #1

I could maybe update this in an HTML table or something.

European WayAmerican Way
poke meat on plate with left forkpoke with left
cut meat with right knifecut with right
knife heavy, set down
swap fork to dominant hand
put poked meat in mouth from leftmeat in mouth from right
go back to first stepswap fork back
go to first step


Summary and Conclusion
Is this a plausible explanation or theory? Is there any way to test it? Is there any kind of anthropological or archealogical information that could inform this?