• Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Chef sparks outrage for saying teaching children ‘eating food with hands is unmannered’ is racist

Representative image by iStock

By: Pooja Shrivastava

A chef’s column detailing how use of knife and fork as a must in table manners has racist intonation has sparked a debate on social media. A Tory MP also has strongly condemned the activist’s claim who states that teaching children “eating food with hands is unmannered” has an echo of colonization.


Sharing an article by activist, food writer and celeb chef Joshna Maharaj titled “Why the way we teach kids table manners is actually kind of racist” on Facebook, Conservative MP Lee Anderson claimed that this assertion is “rubbish”.

‘When in Rome. Different countries and cultures may have different ways of eating food. Chopsticks, cutlery, fingers etc…,” Mail Online quoted what MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire wrote on a Facebook post on Monday (26).

I taught my kids to use a knife and fork and not their fingers. Not once did I think of colonisation. In the UK it is good manners to use a knife and fork at the table.”

The Facebook post, which garnered a lot of comments and discussion by social media users, is now deleted.

The article, which Anderson condemned, was published last year in July though it has been shared widely on Twitter and Facebook lately.

In the article, the celeb chef has claimed what is considered “good table manners” should be thought over again.

“I’ve always believed that food tastes better when it’s delivered to your mouth by your hands, regardless of what you’re eating,” wrote the chef who is also a motivational speaker.

In her article, the chef highlighted how preschools stress upon using knives and forks while teaching children table manners and those eating with fingers are frowned upon. She revealed how her niece was told in school that she needed to work on her table manners when she was eating rice with her hands at lunchtime.

“I immediately felt a rush of anger bubble up inside me when I heard this. The message that eating food with your hands is an unmannered way to eat is a real problem for me because it is dripping with the control and shame of colonization, which is particularly dangerous in an educational context,” the chef wrote in the article.

“Suggesting that a child who eats with her hands has no manners is an echo of European colonial powers looking to tame the wildness out of the people they controlled.”

The chef had also claimed in the article that European table manners were “imposed on conquered people in an attempt to “civilize” them”.

Calling for revisiting what children are being taught in the early years, the chef wrote that it is essential to recognise diversity. 




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