"I know a fellow who eats his dinner (and perhaps other meals as well) in an unusual way, and I'm wondering if anyone else has ever seen this, and if it has a name or is identified with some particular culture," says Howard_2. "What he does is, every forkful has a little of each item on the dinner plate. So for example let's say he has on his plate steak, string beans, and mashed potatoes. He cuts a piece of steak, puts it on his fork; adds a few string beans (perhaps using his knife to get them on the fork), and then adds a little mashed potato. Thus, every mouthful has a little of each item—and to my mind, the taste of any individual item is obscured, at best."
"I don't know if there's a technical term, but I call those composed bites, assuming that all the elements on the plate were designed to go together," says inaplasticcup.
"Can't believe that people think this is weird; this is how Brits eat," says pikawicca. "You cut a piece of protein, then spear, tines down. Grab a bit of mashed potato or stuffing and smear it on the back of the fork. Add some veg from the plate. Transport to mouth. Once I saw this in action, I adopted it for myself. Very efficient, and it satisfies my desire to have a bit of everything in one bite." tastesgoodwhatisit agrees: "I've been told this too, specifically with British food, that it's proper to pile a little bit of each item onto the back of the fork for each bite. I think you could only easily do it with the European fork and knife style (tines down for eating, and knife and fork never change hands)."
Discuss: Is there a name for this style of feeding oneself?
So here's one of my things: I like to watch people eat, surreptitiously, of course. How do they hold their fork, in which hands, do they switch them back and forth? My upbringing was a hodgepodge of Canadian, American, and British, and I don't always know that aspect of my behavior or speech comes from which sometimes. I do the 'composed bites' - not all the time, but a lot of the time - and had no idea it was a British-ism. I don't switch knife and fork when I eat; fork stays in left hand, knife in right, and I hold the fork tines up. My parents, who are from western Canada are utensil switchers. So tell me, how do you eat? Feed my hyper-curiosity!