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eating etiquette (how to eat...)

Shrimp

Shrimp can be easy to eat or take a little work, depending on how they are served.

Table manners for eating shrimp cocktail. The shrimp in a shrimp cocktail should be served peeled and are usually small enough to be eaten in one bite. The traditional utensil is an oyster fork, although any small fork will do. If the shrimp are bigger than one bite's worth, just spear each shrimp with your fork and cut it on the plate on which it's served.

Table manners for shrimp served as a main course. Shrimp served as a main course are eaten with a knife and fork. When squeezing lemon over the shrimp, use your cupped hand or a spoon to shield other diners from squirts. If sauce is served in a separate bowl, dip your shrimp into it only if the bowl is yours alone; if the dish is communal, either spoon a small pool of sauce onto your dinner plate for dipping or spoon it over your shrimp.

In some shrimp dishes, including garlic prawns, the shrimp are served unpeeled. Pick up a shrimp, insert a thumb­nail under the shell at the top end to loosen it, then work the shell free. An extra plate should be provided to hold the discarded shells.

Table manners for shrimp served as hors d' oeuvres. Shrimp served as hors d' oeuvres are eaten with the fingers. Hold a shrimp by the tail and dip it into cocktail sauce, if you prefer; just be sure not to double dip.

What Wine to Serve with Shrimp

For shrimp in garlic sauce, serve a light to medium-weight red such as a Merlot from Washington State. For fried or grilled shrimp, try Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire in France, or from California.


- , Editor, Etiquette Scholar

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