Achtung Baby Or Do Not Shovel Your Peas!

06/12/2010 12:07 | Updated 22 May 2015

do not shovel your peasI have a dilemma. If you've seen the film Inglorious Basterds, you may recall the scene where the English chap, trying to trick ze Germans into believing he is one of them, is caught out in the end by the way he orders three whiskeys. He holds up the first three fingers of his hand whilst demanding the drinks and with that the game was up. If you ask any German to depict three using their fingers they will automatically hold up their thumb and first two fingers. I physically cannot do that. The tendons in my fingers will not allow it. My husband has no trouble and neither does Finje.

That is just weird.

Apparently another common trap the English spies found themselves fatally falling into during the 2nd World War, was their use of cutlery. All that getting a good old rollicking from father not to shovel your peas as a kid was to secure the demise of many a spy. Here in Germany shovelling is de rigueur, whether it be your peas or anything else edible.

Ask them, and they insist it makes much more sense and is a much more productive way of providing your body with fuel. They say the fork was designed like a shovel and should be so utilised. Fair point. Makes life for me a bit awkward though. Despite the common sense and productivity argument, I find myself wincing at German etiquette when it comes to dining. Brainwashed as a child I can't shake it and I insist my daughter learns to use her knife and fork "correctly".

It's a nightmare.

Of course I'm her only role model. Her father, to his credit, has tried and failed and everyone else she sees is shoveling away with abandon. I have a posh friend (everyone should have at least one) who came to visit a couple of weeks ago. She of course has never and would never, even under threat of death, entertain shovelling, and so provided some much needed reinforcement. It didn't help. Finje is a shoveller. But I refuse to give up. Oh no, the shovel versus prong battle is by no means over.

There is the argument that as long as she is actually eating her peas one shouldn't nit pick regarding how. Any normal person might go along with that. Not me. The poor child has years of nagging ahead of her.

She will thank me....should she become a German or British spy.

Related stories on Parentdish: Good manners: Do parents lead by example?


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