My father had a wonderful skill. He could eat almost anything, even the most ardent of finger-foods, with a knife and fork.
I realise this may not sound like much. Until you’ve seen a man dissect and consume a nectarine with surgical precision, leaving the stone stripped bare and cutlery neatly angled on the plate, you can’t fully appreciate the beauty of it.
Would he have eaten an apple with a knife and fork? No doubt.
A pizza? Naturally.
A burger? Most certainly.
Sushi? Of course. Chopsticks are a fool’s game.
A sandwich?! You better believe it.
Legend has it he met his match with a particularly stubborn variety of shellfish, but this won’t have been from lack of trying.
He was a fastidious eater in other ways too. The division of a plate of Sunday roast, for example, would be thoroughly well planned. Each bite was considered, like a snooker player thinking three shots ahead, eventually leaving the perfect mouthful for last. That final crescendo a sumptuous collection containing every element of the meal.
Such behaviour spilled over into many aspects of his life. The meticulous bookkeeping, archives of organised paperwork, everything recorded and accounted for. A dab hand at intricate photography and a graceful golfer.
I seem to have inherited this penchant for the slow and cerebral. Perhaps the most important thing he passed on to me, through his mesmeric example, is the proper technique for eating corn on the cob. Yes, you guessed it. With a knife and fork.
Most people would argue the correct way to eat corn on the cob is to pick it up and chomp noisily, doing one’s best impression of a horse. As with many things these days, most people are wrong. One should skewer the cob with a fork and proceed to carve off the corn with a serrated knife, whilst ignoring the horrified looks from fellow diners.
Just think of the potential benefits! No corn detritus stuck in your teeth for days. A more efficient stripping of the cob. No messy fingers and face. More liberal application of butter can be facilitated. It’s a no-brainer.
I don’t intend to mislead you though. I admit my dear father may have overrated the ability of cutlery. Sandwiches are, of course, meant to be eaten with the hands. Nevertheless, I would encourage you to choose prong and blade next time corn is on the menu.