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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tea Drinkers' Hall of Shame

Even Errol Flynn knew not to extend the pinkie finger when drinking a cup of tea. 

A handled cup is held with the index finger through the handle, the thumb just above it to support the grip, and the second finger below the handle for added security. The next two fingers naturally follow the curve of the other fingers. It is an affectation* to raise the little finger, even slightly. #teadrinkershallofshame  (Best practice: See above.)

The crooked, extended pinkie dates back to the eleventh-century Crusades and the courtly etiquette of knighthood. Since ancient Rome, a cultured person ate with three fingers, a commoner with five. Thus, the birth of the raised pinkie as a sign of elitism. This three-fingers etiquette rule is still correct when picking up food with the fingers and handling various pieces of flatware. Etiquette books, however, do not offer instructions on extending a crooked pinkie. This affectation is, no doubt, descended from a misinterpretation of the three-fingers versus five-fingers dictates of dining etiquette in the eleventh century.

From Tea & Etiquette by Dorothea Johnson

*affectation: Behavior, speech, or writing that is artificial and designed to impress.

1 comment:

Debs Dust Bunny said...

Very interesting info! Sometimes I break the rules by 'cupping' my tea in both hands, especially in winter. : ) No matter how you drink it, you can't beat a nice cup of tea.

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