The American/Canadian way…of eating with utensils

There’s a huge issue brewing that is just racist and completely ignorant of one ethnic group’s civil rights. This group’s actions have been completely misinterpreted and its time to take action and boycott!

No, I’m not talking about illegal immigration. I’m talking about the right for Filipinos to eat with a fork and spoon.

Apparently, up in Canada, a 7-year-old Filipino child has been punished repeatedly for eating with a fork and spoon:

Luc Cagadoc’s table behaviour is traditionally Filipino; he fills his spoon by pushing the food on his plate with a fork, his mother, Maria Theresa Gallardo, says.

But after being punished by his school’s lunch program monitor more than 10 times this year for his mealtime conduct — including his technique — the seven-year-old told Gallardo said last week that he was too embarrassed to eat his dinner.

“Mommy, I don’t want to eat anymore,” Gallardo says Luc told her at the kitchen table April 11. “My teacher is telling me that eating with a spoon and fork is yucky and disgusting.”
When he eats with both a spoon and fork, instead of only one utensil, the Grade 2 student said the lunch monitor moves him to a table to sit by himself.

The outrage! The racism! The fear-mongering!

Well, I’m not sure if its all that, but it does seem silly and wrong. I eat with a fork and a spoon. I’m not sure if you would call it traditionally Filipino, the way the kamayan technique – basically eating with your hands in a certain way – is. Certainly, the only people I know who eat with both the fork and spoon are Filipinos. And while it might seem unusual to most Westerners, its certainly not yucky and disgusting, as the child quoted the monitor.

Besides, I never understood the point of having both a fork and spoon in a restaurant if you’re just going to ignore the spoon if you’re not having soup or mixing your coffee or tea. I mean, dang – use it! They’re going to have to wash it anyway!

(Photo from The West Island Chronicle)

2 thoughts on “The American/Canadian way…of eating with utensils

  1. When nobody is looking I tend to dip my face down to my plate and just graze. But that’s just me.

  2. Is there anything wrong with using both fork and spoon? When I was a kid, I was taught by my mother how to properly use spoon and fork. When I entered the seminary, I learned the more gracious way of using both utensils through our “social graces” seminar. Using fork and spoon in eating is a cultural mores just like the use of chopsticks in other Asian countries. Saying that such manner of eating is wrong is like saying that our culture is wrong. How much more if they see us Filipinos eat “kamayan” style? I love to eat with my bare hands especially when sumptuous native meal is served (that would be tuyo, daing or salted egg with kamatis). Does that make me a pig or lesser human? Certainly not!

    Four years ago, Bishop Eijk of the Diocese of Groningen, Netherlands (communio partner of our diocese) paid a visit to our diocese. Among the many affairs he attended was the Diocesan Youth Day. We ate “kamayan” style as it was a barrio-fiesta type of celebration. The couple who were part of Bishop Eijk’s entourage were betting whether or not he would use his hands to eat as it was anathema to do so in Netherlands. They were surpirsed when he began to wash his hands and he ate with his bare hands. I admired him for his flexibility and respect to a tradition. He did not feel degraded to eat with his hands and more so, he did not hesitate to do what was anathema in his homeland. More so, during meals at the Bishop’s Residence, he ate with both spoon and fork.

    Punishing Luc for using spoon and fork is wrong. Saying that his manner of eating is not proper is worst. It is plain discrimination under the guise of table etiquette. Does using spoon and fork turn us into lower beings and turn the Canadians who eat with fork and knife into higher beings? The answer is NO!

    I hope that this is just an isolated case. Otherwise, some Canadians are bigots and racists.

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