Can you understand why this joke is particularly related to Americans?

(Para Português, clique aqui)

I have always been marveled at how complicated the American way of using knives during a meal can be. In fact, I gave up on it on my first attempt. This is a funny comic about 2 aspects of American dining etiquette and here is a theory on what they are joking about:

Cartoon touching food knife stab cafeteria

1. The first one is pretty simple: a lot of everyday meals can be eaten without a knife

Many of the everyday foods Americans eat, especially during the day, don't even require cutlery, really. I have always felt the general rule is if something can easily be eaten without utensils, people will do it as it's more practical and faster. Unlike Brazil, where we avoid touching food at all cost, Americans tend to favor practicality and speed.

One thing I have observed is that is it far more common for Americans to bring their own food to work than in Brazil, where we often go to self-service restaurants for lunch. I have noticed most of the times they take simple meals, and most of these do not often require a knife.


2. The American dining etiquette rules

According to American dining etiquette, instead of eating with a knife in one hand and a fork in the other, you are supposed to use only the fork during the meal, and the knife stays on the table until you want to cut something. Then things get complicated.

If you want to cut anything, you are then supposed to put the fork down, pick up the knife with the same hand you use for the fork and the fork with the other hand, then cut with both knife and fork, then put the knife back down, change the fork back to the hand you were using, and continue to eat with the fork. 😵😵😵😵 

I obviously gave up on that 2 minutes after I started trying! 

Therefore, I believe these two factors are what leads Americans to not use the knife; that’s the humor behind the cartoon. In informal situations you might see people using their hand to quickly move food onto the fork instead of doing the whole knife-and-fork dance. it's not the most polite of behaviors, but people may do it in some informal situations (especially when thinking they are not being watched) and it's annoying when people say: "You have a knife, look!", "Why don't you use your knife?".

Because it’s my food and I’ll eat it the way I want.

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