Originally created 01/06/02

Fork usage swings hot and cold



Dear Carson: A hot meat fork has two tines and usually has a longer handler than a cold meat fork, which has multiple tines. Do you consider it a faux pas to use a cold meat fork to serve warm or hot meat that has been sliced before it is served on a buffet?

It seems that it would definitely be appropriate if the host is carving the meat at the table and serving the guests. However, it seems the cold meat fork would be acceptable if one is simply lifting the already sliced warm meat from a buffet platter. - On the Tines of a Dilemma

Dear Tines: You explained it as well as or better than I might have. Thanks for introducing a new topic.

Dear Carson: My mother-in-law and I are having a surprise 25th anniversary party for a couple dear to the family. They are having a terrible time with medical debts from multiple sclerosis and the loss of a limb. We'd like to ask for monetary gifts in the invitation but are not sure of the etiquette. Can you help us out? - Alms for Anniversary

Dear Alms: It is inappropriate to invite guests to a party and ask that they contribute money. However, you are free to write a check, and if any of the guests want to know of an appropriate gift it would be all right for you to make that suggestion.

Dear Carson: My neighbor asked me to watch her child one Saturday night. I didn't want to be bothered so I told her I didn't have time because I had to clean and run errands. I also know from experience that she never pays or offers to barter babysitting services. When she watched my child she told me I owed her $40, which I paid.

The problem is that on that particular Saturday night she ran into me at an entertainment spot and confronted me with my little white lie. What should I have said? - Got Caught Lying

Dear Caught: This neighbor appears to be a "user of people." Your mistake is that you didn't confront her in the very beginning.

I find it strange that you paid an exorbitant fee when you had done the same for her with no charge. Next time tell her outright that you are willing to be paid or to have her return the favor by sitting with your child.

Unfortunately, generous people are sometimes taken advantage of by others. Straighten your spine next time and take care of yourself.

Confidential to Daughter: Technically, your mother is a divorcee, but if she wants to be known as a widow that is her call. However, she would open herself to criticism.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, PO Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@home.com. Carson Elliott's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com.