Dirty Fingers

When was the last time you encountered a finger bowl at a restaurant? You know what I’m talking about, right?

A finger bowl is a tiny little bowl, filled with water, for the purpose of rinsing your fingers between courses, especially if said courses involve eating with your hands.

Many cultures still eat with their hands (I’m thinking of Ethiopian and Moroccan off the top of my head). I have never eaten at a restaurant that delivered finger bowls to the table, although I’ve read about them.

We dined at an Asian restaurant recently, and the first thing brought to the table, after the menus, was a bamboo cradle holding a steamy, hot towel. I thought for a moment I was in business class on my way to Europe.

Apparently, it isn’t uncommon to receive a hot towel before the meal in many Japanese restaurants, but it was the first time I ever encountered it and I think I kind of like it.

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1 Comment

Filed under Restaurant Journal

One response to “Dirty Fingers

  1. One of the most delightful niceties that still exists in England and Europe in finer restaurants and served at the end of the meal, is a finger bowl of refreshing rose or lemon water. Rose water is my personal favorite and I demonstrate its use when I teach my etiquette classes. It is especially popular at my Ladies Finishing School Class. It is such a pleasant, sophisticated way to conclude a meal.
    A bowl of about 12 inches in diameter, preferably silver, filled with warm water and a few drops of essence of rose is brought to the table and passed around those seated. The tips of the fingers are dipped into the water and then wiped on the edge of the napkin or the corner of the napkin is dipped into the water and used to dab the forehead and/or lips.
    Where have all those special traditions gone?
    You can learn more about Lord Roberts at his web site LordManners.com

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