05/02/2014 11:24 pm ET Updated Jul 02, 2014

I'm Not Eating it Wrong

First appeared on Food Riot by Naomi Bishop

"If the food goes in your mouth, you're doing it right," the waitress told us, in direct contrast to the instructions given by the ramen restaurant's PR rep. It was refreshing to hear -- especially after having just watched a slurping demonstration that brought flashbacks of a time I slurped spicy soup broth right into my eye. It burnt in so many ways. The slurping demo, though, is just one of any number of ways that the "right way" to eat is trumpeted.

You're opening it wrong. You're eating it from the wrong end. You're insulting somebody's grandmother. Basically, you should probably just go on a juice fast. Wait, HOLD ON. Are you juicing your kale before your celery?

Is peeling a banana that difficult? Is your cat making too much noise? Seems to me, most of these articles are like Charlie's Kitten Mittens: solving problems that don't necessarily exist. Some of them, perhaps rebranded as food hacks, I could get behind (I don't need to eat a Toblerone with one hand, but I avoid pomegranates like the devil to avoid seeding it).

In the meantime, yes, I serve myself from the big bowl with the same end of my chopsticks as I eat from, I bite my ramen noodles, I eat my Ethiopian food with my left hand (seriously, I am left handed and my right hand is as useful as a hook. I don't want to end up with food all over myself), and sometimes I don't even want to finish the apple anyway, so it's satisfying to throw away the core.

For one horrifying minute, I landed on the Cooking Channel's Eating 101 show. Look at that, there's a whole show devoted to how I am eating wrong. I've been eating for all of my thirty years, and my figure will attest to the fact that I'm doing it pretty darn well.

Obviously, I'm against insulting anyone's dead stepfather, but as a world traveler and many time host of international travelers myself, if you're making a good faith effort to be polite, you'll simply be gently corrected and maybe chuckled at. Most people are more excited that you've chosen to eat the food they're proud of than concerned your table manners resemble that of a three-year-old in their world. Trust me, not eating their food would be a bigger insult. That face your friend just made when offered the treasured chicken foot? Way worse than your attempt to flip the fish--an honest mistake.

Maybe I just like the part of the cupcake that isn't coated in frosting or enjoy the perfume from a good orange peeling session, but I agree with the ramen waitress: if the food is going into your mouth, then you're doing it right.

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