June 11 2018
At the table
Hi there! It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.
Today, I’d like to talk about things to consider while at the table.
To locate items at your place setting, start at the edge of the table and with your fingers curled and arms flexed, move gently toward the centre of the table until you find your plate. With fingers low to the table, extend arms and fingers gradually to the right and left to find silverware, teacup, glass, salad bowl, bread and butter plate, etc. Accidents can happen easily, so remember to keep your hands on the surface of the table and move slowly. If you cannot find the item you need, ask for it to be passed to you.
To determine contents on a plate, use the tip of your knife or fork to gently probe the food on the plate, noting the difference in the texture, shape, smell, and location of the food on the plate. Try to determine any special characteristics. Are there paper containers of relish? Is the baked potato cut down the middle? Does it contain any sour cream or is a separate container provided? Is there finger picking food on the plate? Does the meat have a “cooking-directions” marker pierced into its middle? Does the meat have a bone? Is the decorative salad cut or are there large lettuce leaves? Is there a separate container of gravy or sauce on the plate? Such questions are endless, yet each is easily answered by thoroughly checking out the contents with your utensils and determining the characteristics of your food before you start to eat. As with most people, you will make the occasional mistake or misjudgment. Laugh it off, learn by it, and go on. If you are doubtful or need affirmation of your plate’s content, don’t be afraid to ask.
A sighted person may describe the location of the various items on the plate. Imagine the plate to be like the face of a clock. For example, if peas are located at the top of the plate, it is said that the peas are at 12 o’clock.
You may find it helpful to turn your plate so that foods that require cutting or special attention, such as meat or corn on the cob, are brought to the bottom of the plate (6 o’clock position). In this way they are easier to locate and manage without reaching over other foods.
“Loose” food such as peas or corn can be difficult to pick up. Many people use a “pusher” such as a piece of bread, a roll, or a knife to help guide food onto the fork. Another idea is to gently move the “loose” food, i.e., peas, against a barrier of “solid” food, i.e., mashed potatoes. This will give you the advantage of being able to get under the “loose” food, as the barrier prevents such food from moving around the plate.
While eating, direct the motion of the fork or spoon toward the centre of the plate. Food on the plate should be pushed inward for it tends to move out to the edge of the plate during the normal course of the meal.
As you eat, be aware of the weight of the food on your fork or spoon. With practice and patience, you will soon be able to gauge whether you are lifting an appropriate amount of food.
When sprinkling salt from a shaker onto food, sprinkle first into the palm of your hand to determine the amount and how fast the salt is flowing. This will prevent a fast-flowing shaker from ruining your food.
It’s easier to put sticky jam, honey, etc., on your bread if you use a teaspoon to scoop it out of the jar and then use the back of
the spoon (or a knife) to spread it.
People who are visually impaired should keep colour contrast in mind when setting the table. White plates almost disappear on a white tablecloth but show up well against a plain dark tablecloth. Similarly, if food is dark (such as roast beef), use light dishes and if food is light (fish, cheese, eggs) use dark plates.
It is fine to make special requests (ie., to have meat cut or shellfish served out of the shell) when eating away from home.
Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance at home or when eating out.
I hope that these tips are helpful to you.
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Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.