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You may use your hands

As a boy my parents had lots of rules for me about when I could and couldn't eat with my hands. I forget most of them. I do remember that they weren't good for porridge or soup but that, even if you were dining with the Queen, chicken could be eaten with ones hands.

I was musing on this, covered in saffron coloured paella stock up to my elbows, as I fought with some strange, spikey, overgrown prawn like crustacean in my lunchtime rice. It's Maggie's birthday, a milestone birthday, today and we were dining posh at a restaurant called Venezuela in Lo Pagan. It was a big dissapointment to be honest but I'm no restaurant critic so what do I know.

In a restaurant when Spaniards order an orange, apple or banana as their pudding after a meal the fruit comes accompanied by fresh cutlery. I have watched, amazed, as a fellow diner neatly operates on an orange with a knife and fork. And yet etiquette seems to allow that same diner to dip his or her hands into the paella or fish soup, drag out the prawns, mussels or whatever and dig out the flesh with their fingers.

Etiquette is a strange and changeable thing.


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