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Licking fingers at the dinner table?


Laura Corin
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Finger licking?  

190 members have voted

  1. 1. Is finger licking acceptable at a family meal at home?

    • Yes
      72
    • No
      96
    • Other
      22
  2. 2. Is finger licking acceptable at a meal in a fast food restaurant?

    • Yes
      52
    • No
      129
    • Other
      9
  3. 3. Is finger licking acceptable at a 'nice' restaurant?

    • Yes
      9
    • No
      170
    • Other
      11


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I just want to tell you all I am reading this thread, licking some melted chocolate off my fingers. I was eating a chocolate egg. It was melty because it's hot.

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I so want to make some kind of crude joke here...but I won't. I'm thinking them though :)

This could be like the cupcake thread.

 

I'm pro-licking body parts. Only in private, though. ;)

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Dragging the topic back on topic, it's okay when it's culturally warranted. So if you're eating ribs, well, that's (for most of us) a cultural exception to "don't lick your fingers". If you're not sure, look around to see what other people are doing, and don't do anything they don't.

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I just want to tell you all I am reading this thread, licking some melted chocolate off my fingers. I was eating a chocolate egg. It was melty because it's hot.

 

While making lunch today, I was very careful to pay attention to any finger-licking activity I engaged in. I caught myself licking up some stray salsa that got on my finger when I was spooning it into a serving bowl, and some cheese that oozed out of the quesadilla onto the pan (who can resist that?).  Of course since I was handling food for other people I washed my hands immediately, as I always do, because it does come naturally to lick my fingers when food gets on them.  But yes, I wash - you can feel safe coming to my house to eat. 

 

I tried to watch my guests covertly but did not notice any licking.  We weren't at the table, but scattered around the living room, and I was up and moving most of the time (making more quesadillas). 

 

Oh and when I talk about finger-licking I am not talking about slurping noisily and being really obvious about it.  I hate the sound of people eating so I wouldn't be up for that. 

 

 

 

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Interesting (and huge) cultural biases here...  

I wish we could be more careful about expressing what someone thinks is good manners.  In fact, I'd say having good manners would dictate being sensitive to the habits and customs of various peoples and cultures and not calling them gross. 
 

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Interesting (and huge) cultural biases here...

 

I wish we could be more careful about expressing what someone thinks is good manners. In fact, I'd say having good manners would dictate being sensitive to the habits and customs of various peoples and cultures and not calling them gross.

 

Well yes. Of course. But when we are on a message board where most of us are anonymous.....that is different right?

 

I think I sometimes lick my fingers. But i really really try not to because I consider it bad manners. Also people shoving food onto a fork with fingers. No. Just no. It is one of the things I can't tolerate in my dss15. He once told his dad I never get on to him about anything except touching his food and refusing to tell me what he wants in any given situation.

 

The other thing.....your fingers are generally very germy. I just cringe thinking about the number of germs going in a body from licked fingers.

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You slide them between the tines of your fork and transport them whole to your mouth. Whilst the headmistress watches you across the table - we were on tables of twelve or fourteen with an older girl (me) serving and a member of staff at the other end. I was assigned to top table.

 

That makes sense, but sounds like a really stressful meal.

 

Kelly

 

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Well yes. Of course. But when we are on a message board where most of us are anonymous.....that is different right?

 

I think I sometimes lick my fingers. But i really really try not to because I consider it bad manners. Also people shoving food onto a fork with fingers. No. Just no. It is one of the things I can't tolerate in my dss15. He once told his dad I never get on to him about anything except touching his food and refusing to tell me what he wants in any given situation.

 

The other thing.....your fingers are generally very germy. I just cringe thinking about the number of germs going in a body from licked fingers.

But life is generally quite germy and those of us who are pro-licking (lol) probably ingest a fair amount of germs in daily activity. It makes for a robust immune system, you know. Dirty vaccine. Lol.

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I was taught that if you want to lick your fingers, or slurp your soup, or blow your nose at the table, go ahead...as long as you are eating entirely alone in the privacy of your own home. Otherwise, remember that people have to eat while you do XYZ so don't be gross.

 

But THESE days, I don't care if people lick their fingers anymore, while they're eating. I'm just happy if the people preparing and serving the food don't lick theirs. Seriously, no more potlucks for me, for the rest of my life, and possibly no eating at anyone else's house...I keep meeting people who think that good cooks are finger-licking tasters as they go. No thanks.

 

(I am a good cook and I taste as I go. With a clean spoon! If you come to my house you can trust you won't be served anything that I've touched after licking my fingers, or anything that's been stirred with a licked spoon.)

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No finger-lickin' at fancy restaurants, but it is fair game anywhere else. Just don't go all slurpy/slobbery on them.

 

Just be glad you weren't ever around dh's aunt, who was known to pop out the ol' dentures and "clean" them up.

I just threw up in my mouth a little. And laughed really hard.

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I was taught that if you want to lick your fingers, or slurp your soup, or blow your nose at the table, go ahead...as long as you are eating entirely alone in the privacy of your own home. Otherwise, remember that people have to eat while you do XYZ so don't be gross.

 

But THESE days, I don't care if people lick their fingers anymore, while they're eating. I'm just happy if the people preparing and serving the food don't lick theirs. Seriously, no more potlucks for me, for the rest of my life, and possibly no eating at anyone else's house...I keep meeting people who think that good cooks are finger-licking tasters as they go. No thanks.

 

(I am a good cook and I taste as I go. With a clean spoon! If you come to my house you can trust you won't be served anything that I've touched after licking my fingers, or anything that's been stirred with a licked spoon.)

 

I inwardly cringe every single time I see a show on tv where someone takes a spoon of marinara, soup, etc. and says, "here try this" and puts the spoon in someone's mouth, then back into the giant pot. NO. JUST STOP. Get another spoon. lol

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I was taught that if you want to lick your fingers, or slurp your soup, or blow your nose at the table, go ahead...as long as you are eating entirely alone in the privacy of your own home. Otherwise, remember that people have to eat while you do XYZ so don't be gross.

 

But THESE days, I don't care if people lick their fingers anymore, while they're eating. I'm just happy if the people preparing and serving the food don't lick theirs. Seriously, no more potlucks for me, for the rest of my life, and possibly no eating at anyone else's house...I keep meeting people who think that good cooks are finger-licking tasters as they go. No thanks.

 

(I am a good cook and I taste as I go. With a clean spoon! If you come to my house you can trust you won't be served anything that I've touched after licking my fingers, or anything that's been stirred with a licked spoon.)

Yes. Me too.

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Why would it be different to casually insult people just because you don't know their real name and can't see their face?

We ask questions all of the time on this board......opinions, thoughts, feelings, local customs etc. it would be impossible to have these honest discussions without someone getting insulted.

 

The question of this thread was how do you feel about licking fingers. I find it revolting. If you are a finger licker you might be insulted....or we might be from different cultures and just learn something new for the day.

 

I find the thought of eating potato chips with knife and fork funny. I am not insulted.

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I was taught that if you want to lick your fingers, or slurp your soup, or blow your nose at the table, go ahead...as long as you are eating entirely alone in the privacy of your own home. Otherwise, remember that people have to eat while you do XYZ so don't be gross.

 

But THESE days, I don't care if people lick their fingers anymore, while they're eating. I'm just happy if the people preparing and serving the food don't lick theirs. Seriously, no more potlucks for me, for the rest of my life, and possibly no eating at anyone else's house...I keep meeting people who think that good cooks are finger-licking tasters as they go. No thanks.

 

(I am a good cook and I taste as I go. With a clean spoon! If you come to my house you can trust you won't be served anything that I've touched after licking my fingers, or anything that's been stirred with a licked spoon.)

Now, while guilty of finger-licking while eating at home, I am also a clean spoon taster, especially if there is even a remote chance that someone outside of my immediate family will be eating it.  And copious hand washer.  And counter washer.  

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I understand that a licked spoon going back into a pot may seem icky, but it's not actually unhygienic, is it? Wouldn't all the germs be killed in the hot dish, just like the germs on the original ingredients?

 

I don't know, I have wondered before. Especially if the cook/taste tester is sick. Just not something I would wanna roll the dice on.

 

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We ask questions all of the time on this board......opinions, thoughts, feelings, local customs etc. it would be impossible to have these honest discussions without someone getting insulted.

 

You can have an honest discussion without people being rude to each other.

 

Additionally, Scarlett, you're cheating. Your original comment was that somehow it doesn't count because we're "mostly anonymous". That does sound like you would not tell somebody to their face that they are "revolting" or "disgusting".

 

Does this mean you don't have "honest discussions" with people you know by name? That's what it sounds like when I put those two comments together. Is that really what you intended to say?

Edited by Tanaqui
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You can have an honest discussion without people being rude to each other.

 

Additionally, Scarlett, you're cheating. Your original comment was that somehow it doesn't count because we're "mostly anonymous". That does sound like you would not tell somebody to their face that they are "revolting" or "disgusting".

 

Does this mean you don't have "honest discussions" with people you know by name? That's what it sounds like when I put those two comments together. Is that really what you intended to say?

Lol....probably not. If someone asked me my feelings on it face to face I would tell them I think it is gross. I wouldn't tell someone, other than my child, that it is bad manners if they didn't ask.

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You can have an honest discussion without people being rude to each other.

 

Additionally, Scarlett, you're cheating. Your original comment was that somehow it doesn't count because we're "mostly anonymous". That does sound like you would not tell somebody to their face that they are "revolting" or "disgusting".

 

Does this mean you don't have "honest discussions" with people you know by name? That's what it sounds like when I put those two comments together. Is that really what you intended to say?

Honestly I don't think anyone was rude here...but also think we can say things here that we just can't say in very day life.

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At least two people on this thread think comments about this being "disgusting" or "revolting" are perhaps a bit strongly stated and not exactly the epitome of good manners.

 

What is and isn't polite is, of course, a matter of consensus. That's why we say "When in Rome...." Where I am from, good manners usually means putting yourself in the other person's shoes and asking "How would I feel if something similar happened to me?" It also means that if somebody says you're being impolite that you take it seriously rather than arguing with them. You might privately think they're utter whackjobs, but since they care enough about the issue to bring it up to you, you should respect that. Their feelings matter.

 

Perhaps things are different where you live.

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I understand that a licked spoon going back into a pot may seem icky, but it's not actually unhygienic, is it? Wouldn't all the germs be killed in the hot dish, just like the germs on the original ingredients?

That is what I've always heard...I still want to get out a timer, and check that the gas is high enough, to verify that the germs are really dead. LOL And I think that cooks who do this shouldn't let the guests see them.

 

Much worse than the soup scenario is the home baker who licks fingers while frosting a cake or decorating cookies. I think that's why schools won't allow treats from home anymore, but I may be wrong.

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I inwardly cringe every single time I see a show on tv where someone takes a spoon of marinara, soup, etc. and says, "here try this" and puts the spoon in someone's mouth, then back into the giant pot. NO. JUST STOP. Get another spoon. lol

I never do that. I taste only from a frsh spoon and then put it in the sink. My funny cook behavior is that I don't much like tasting soups and chilis because it's so burning hot I nearly always burn my mouth. I know a good cook tastes as they go along, but often I figure it's just gonna have to be good as is because I don't care to burn my mouth.

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I understand that a licked spoon going back into a pot may seem icky, but it's not actually unhygienic, is it? Wouldn't all the germs be killed in the hot dish, just like the germs on the original ingredients?

 

That is what I have always believed; I suppose my mom told me this.  I do believe there is something to the ick factor beyond germs.  I once asked someone about making broth out of chicken bones after people had eaten the chicken with their hands.  I think there can be no doubt that chicken broth made from bones brought to a boil and then simmered for several hours, are going to be fine even if people got mouth and finger germs on them.   But the person just said "oh no, oh yuck" and that was that. 

 

I do use a new spoon each time I taste, though.  I knew someone who would just pour the liquid from the spoon into his mouth without the spoon touching his mouth; I could never master that.

Edited by marbel
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I'd say no, as a rule, in all those settings - very saucy finger food in a casual setting, it might be ok if done quietly and not too obviously, but unfortunately there always seem to be people who think they are fulfilling those requirements when they aren't.

 

Alone, it's fair game along with licking the plate.

 

In other cultural settings, different rules apply.

 

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Frankly, it depends on how delicious the food is. If it's a doughnut, which is generally eaten with the hands, there is no way in h e double hockeysticks that I am not going to lick the glaze off my fingers. I don't care if the queen is watching; sugar trumps everything. Same with cupcakes... :o

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Frankly, it depends on how delicious the food is. If it's a doughnut, which is generally eaten with the hands, there is no way in h e double hockeysticks that I am not going to lick the glaze off my fingers. I don't care if the queen is watching; sugar trumps everything. Same with cupcakes... :o

 

Preach it! 

SaveSave

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The question of this thread was how do you feel about licking fingers. I find it revolting. If you are a finger licker you might be insulted....or we might be from different cultures and just learn something new for the day.

 

Not quite. I asked if finger licking was 'acceptable' in your family. It was deliberately emotionally neutral. I am in a cross-cultural marriage and have lived abroad for most of my adult life, so I am careful. It's up to you, not me, if you want to heighten the language.

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As someone struggling with a chronic GI bacterial infection, I would never lick my fingers, especially at restaraunt. Think of how many potential nasty germ ridden things your habd could come into contact with: doors, chairs, menus, cash, passing a debit card to the cashier, tables, condiments, etc. Even at home, the thought of licking fingers grosses me out. I just think it's not the best health and safety practice.

 

Sta: I'm pro napkin and put them on the table (in a basket if needed, not as place settings) each meal.

 

Eta2: I'm okay with eating with freshly washed hands because the food doesn't touch the around and under the nails, which are the germiest parts of the hand.

Edited by ifIonlyhadabrain
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I'm always amused at how many people are germaphobic when i read these threads. Or just grossed out by stuff I would never think of. I mean, I kiss my husband with an open mouth. If that level of spit swapping isn't gross, nothing is  :lol:

 

Not judging, by the way. I have things that gross me out that don't others. Mildew mostly, or even the possibility of mildew. I won't touch the walls of my shower while showering,and freak out if the kids do. The shower is clean, no mildew, but it COULD be there. Ugh. I'm cringing just writing this. 

 

But dirt/licking fingers/someone putting a spoon back in a pot of hot soup/drinking from a common chalice at church/etc don't bother me. 

 

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Interesting (and huge) cultural biases here...  

 

I wish we could be more careful about expressing what someone thinks is good manners.  In fact, I'd say having good manners would dictate being sensitive to the habits and customs of various peoples and cultures and not calling them gross. 

 

 

I think there are ways of expressing distaste for a practice - licking fingers - without being insulting about it.  Just like there are ways of expressing distaste for certain foods without insulting people who happen to like those foods.

 

When I read or hear "ewww, that's gross!" or similar, I start to shut down from the conversation.  It makes me think of people in the Asian market pointing at and making "ewww gross" comments about foods they've never seen before - foods that people who also shop in that store like to eat. 

 

Same with people who eat food with their hands out of a communal pot.  That seems "gross" to many of us, but it's typical, accepted behavior for many.  I'm sure there are people who would marvel at our way of eating and drinking and think it's "gross" because it's so sterile and unfriendly (in their eyes). 

 

A few months ago I had some people over for Indian food.  At the end I put out the little bowl of - darn it, I forget the name - fennel seed and little sugary bits - the breath freshener/digestive aid mixture that some Indian restaurants have.  Of course I put a spoon in it so people could scoop some out into their hand so their fingers didn't touch the food.  A couple from Ireland just instinctively ignored the spoon and pinched some up with their fingers.  That's how the restaurants have it where they live.  Then they realized there was a spoon there, apologized for not using it.  I had to laugh - I would have left the spoon out but I feared no one would take the stuff if they had to use their fingers.  

 

Edited by marbel
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I don't know - I think its fair enough to find something pretty gross, even when it isn't gross in other cultures.  We are blase about using both hands on finger food, other people in other cultures might really be pretty grossed out by that.  I don't know that it is unreasonable in either case.

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This has been an interesting read - esp since apparently I'm in the minority.  I'm ok with that though.

 

Lick away - anywhere, anytime, even in fancy restaurants if they happen to serve ribs or chicken on the bone or something hand held where it gets on hands.

 

It never occurred to me that anyone would care.  It still doesn't worry me that anyone cares TBH.  I kinda get a chuckle thinking how much we may have offended folks in our past... such is life.  To each our own.  We haven't been turned away from eating anywhere yet - and if we ever were, it would be a mutual dislike.

 

We have some (immigrant) friends where their culture is eating with their hands - almost anything.  I lean more that way than "everything with silverware" for my preferences.  We even corrupted our German exchange student way back in '99-00.  She came to us eating everything with silverware - and left being like us (and liking it).

 

At home we also sometimes lick our bowls or plates if the sauce was extra good.   :coolgleamA:   We don't do that out though.

 

 

Edited by creekland
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We don't lick. We teach kids to use napkins from pretty early--they have one in their lap by age 2 at least.

 

I don't think anyone who thinks finger-licking is OK under some circumstances are not also using napkins or are not teaching their kids to use them.  

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This has been an interesting read - esp since apparently I'm in the minority. I'm ok with that though.

 

Lick away - anywhere, anytime, even in fancy restaurants if they happen to serve ribs or chicken on the bone or something hand held where it gets on hands.

 

It never occurred to me that anyone would care. It still doesn't worry me that anyone cares TBH. I kinda get a chuckle thinking how much we may have offended folks in our past... such is life. To each our own. We haven't been turned away from eating anywhere yet - and if we ever were, it would be a mutual dislike.

 

We have some (immigrant) friends where their culture is eating with their hands - almost anything. I lean more that way than "everything with silverware" for my preferences. We even corrupted our German exchange student way back in '99-00. She came to us eating everything with silverware - and left being like us (and liking it).

 

At home we also sometimes lick our bowls or plates if the sauce was extra good. :coolgleamA: We don't do that out though.

Can I admit that until this thread I never much thought about the propriety of finger-licking, one way or the other?
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Can I admit that until this thread I never much thought about the propriety of finger-licking, one way or the other?

 

Learn something new every day.  We're set for the day!

 

It never fails to amaze me both what one can learn on the Hive and what some can be bothered by in other people's behavior.

 

My mind has since  been pondering the history of the fork and knife and wondering just when it became a separator between "us" and "them" in a Star Bellied Sneetches sort of way as that's what it's appearing to be at first glance.  It certainly isn't any sort of "need" with humans (survival need), though it has some convenience value, of course.

 

It'll give my brain something to work on while I'm grocery shopping in a few minutes.  :lol:

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I don't think it's all that fair to see this as just people choosing to be judgemental.  We all have strong perceptions of things that are gross, largely shaped by culture, that are very powerful.  We can tell ourselves that our particular hang-up is about hygeine or whatever, and that may be true at some levels, but that sense of things being gross is not just about that kind of rationalistic reasoning, and I think it's just about ubiquitous among human beings.  It isn't ever going to be something where it will be totally privately applied, and I suspect that kind of disgust reflex is meant to work socially, as a protective mechanism for that particularly community.

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I don't think it's all that fair to see this as just people choosing to be judgemental. We all have strong perceptions of things that are gross, largely shaped by culture, that are very powerful. We can tell ourselves that our particular hang-up is about hygeine or whatever, and that may be true at some levels, but that sense of things being gross is not just about that kind of rationalistic reasoning, and I think it's just about ubiquitous among human beings. It isn't ever going to be something where it will be totally privately applied, and I suspect that kind of disgust reflex is meant to work socially, as a protective mechanism for that particularly community.

Yep. I am not offended because someone thinks shower walls are gross and I touch my shower walls. Especially if Dh is in there with me.

 

Now that is a question. How do you feel about your spouse being in the shower with you. LOL.

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That is what I have always believed; I suppose my mom told me this.  I do believe there is something to the ick factor beyond germs.  I once asked someone about making broth out of chicken bones after people had eaten the chicken with their hands.  I think there can be no doubt that chicken broth made from bones brought to a boil and then simmered for several hours, are going to be fine even if people got mouth and finger germs on them.   But the person just said "oh no, oh yuck" and that was that. 

 

I do use a new spoon each time I taste, though.  I knew someone who would just pour the liquid from the spoon into his mouth without the spoon touching his mouth; I could never master that.

I use two spoons: a long-handled stirring spoon and a tasting spoon.  I use the stirring spoon to drip the sauce onto my tasting spoon.  That way I can taste as much as needed without getting a new spoon each time. 

 

It's not the germs I'm worried about, but the enzymes in saliva that start pre-digesting the carbohydrates.  

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This has been an interesting read - esp since apparently I'm in the minority. I'm ok with that though.

 

Lick away - anywhere, anytime, even in fancy restaurants if they happen to serve ribs or chicken on the bone or something hand held where it gets on hands.

 

It never occurred to me that anyone would care. It still doesn't worry me that anyone cares TBH. I kinda get a chuckle thinking how much we may have offended folks in our past... such is life. To each our own. We haven't been turned away from eating anywhere yet - and if we ever were, it would be a mutual dislike.

 

We have some (immigrant) friends where their culture is eating with their hands - almost anything. I lean more that way than "everything with silverware" for my preferences. We even corrupted our German exchange student way back in '99-00. She came to us eating everything with silverware - and left being like us (and liking it).

 

At home we also sometimes lick our bowls or plates if the sauce was extra good. :coolgleamA: We don't do that out though.

It's funny. It's on these boards that I find out people care about all sorts of things that never crossed my mind before.

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Yep. I am not offended because someone thinks shower walls are gross and I touch my shower walls. Especially if Dh is in there with me.

 

Now that is a question. How do you feel about your spouse being in the shower with you. LOL.

 

Don't tell DH, but this is why I almost never have him in there with me, I'm afraid I'll end up touching the walls or the shower curtain. Ugh. 

 

Sorry honey....people invented beds for a reason. Let's use it ;)

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