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How to eat delightful (but sometimes messy) finger foods

Did you know that today is National French Fry Day? To help you celebrate here is a perfect Fabulous French Fry Dipping Sauce recipe we've used for years:

1/2 cup of mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons of ketchup

2 Tablespoons of yellow mustard (not honey or Dijon!)

1 Tablespoon of kosher pickle dill juice (in a pinch you can pour the juice out of your pickle relish bottle)

3/4 teaspoon of sugar

1 drop of cayenne pepper sauce (2 if you're adventurous)

It need not be combined in a huge mixing bowl. Rather, you may make it in a normal sized bowl that you bring to the table and serve it from there. Don't forget a serving spoon! When eating with others communal items like the bowl are normally all passed in the same direction - to the right. However, if someone is seated immediately to your left pass it directly to them, do not put on airs and make a big show of "properly" passing it to the right.

Sauces and dips are properly placed on the bottom right quadrant of the plate.

And most fun of all, french fries are finger food when eating in a casual setting. However, when out at a more formal affair one properly eats french fries with a fork - but who serves french fries at more formal affairs?

Indeed, fingers foods are only appropriate when dining casually. Here are a few quintessential summer finger foods you may run into as people start to home entertain, engage in al fresco dining with friends and family, or even venture out to a restaurant.

Watermelon. When served in slices and with seeds, hold the watermelon with a paper napkin if provided, in your hand and drop seeds into a cupped hand and place on your plate or inside a paper napkin to discard. If the watermelon is served cubed and in a bowl, then eat the watermelon cubes with a fork.

Corn-on-the-cob. Butter and season (salt & pepper) only several rows at a time and eat with your hands. Eat a row or two at a time - slowly. Eating a row neatly from left to right is preferable to eating in a circle as you twirl your cob of corn. And don’t butter the entire ear of corn at once - you will create a mess. If you are lucky, you'll be provided handles to push into each end of the ear of corn and use those to pick up your ear of corn. If not, use your fingers.

Barbecued ribs. Another delicious food that is to be eaten with your fingers at outdoor parties, picnics and casual restaurants. We recommend not licking your fingers. And remember to keep your mouth area clean of the sauce.

With all of these messy finger foods, it's important to work at not creating a mess. Take small bites, dab (not wipe or smear your mouth) with your napkin, use your napkin to wipe your fingers and wash your hands after the meal. Normally, extra napkins are provided when these foods are served. You may ask for additional napkins.

And it goes without saying, do not pick your teeth at the table - even if toothpicks have been provided. Politely excuse yourself and go to the powder room to check your teeth.

We'll soon write about difficult foods at business lunches and more formal affairs.


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