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You're Eating Pasta and Burgers Wrong, Etiquette Expert Says

Don't even get him started on sushi and pizza.

When you sit down for a shared meal with others, your table manners can leave a lasting impression. Make a mess of your meal or eat your food the wrong way and it may not be a very good one. In particular, British etiquette coach William Hanson shared in a series of recent TikTok videos that there are a handful of common mistakes people make while eating their favorite foods—and they could be getting you attention for all the wrong reasons. Wondering how your table manners stack up? Read on to find out whether you're eating pasta, burgers, sushi, and pizza wrong—and how to get it right.

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Close up of unrecognizable man eating pasta for lunch.

Polls show that roughly 60 percent of Americans eat pasta at least once per week. However, that doesn't stop us from eating it wrong—at least by Italian standards.

Our gravest offense, Hanson says, is using a knife to cut through spaghetti before eating it. "Did you know that one of the worst things you can do in Italy is use a knife to cut your pasta? Just because they give you one doesn't mean you have to use it. So don't touch the knife—it's fork only, bellas!" he says.

Using a spoon to help spaghetti onto your fork is also considered poor etiquette, Hanson warns. If you want to eat your spaghetti "more lady than tramp," you should ignore this particular piece of cutlery.

"Italians do not use a spoon," Hanson explains. "Instead, you upturn the fork in your dominant hand, and you go into the edge of the spaghetti, and against the side of the plate or bowl in this instance, you turn. If you need to go in and turn again that's fine, and then you eat."

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Person holding a burger

Burgers are another popular food that you're probably eating wrong—especially if you frequent restaurants where the portion sizes are especially generous.

In another TikTok video, Hanson demonstrates proper protocol on a towering burger, held together precariously by a toothpick. "Unless you're in the circus, nobody can fit anything this size in their mouth, so don't pick up the burger and eat it with your hands when it's this thick," he says.

Instead, he recommends deconstructing the burger. "Using a knife and fork, take off the top, and eat like so," he says, cutting it into small pieces before eating a modest bite.

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Pizza and Wine Gathering
Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock

In most cases, pizza is designed to be eaten with the hands, Hanson says: "You can pick up your slice, gently fold in the crust, and eat."

However, the expert points out that there is one major exception to the rule—and this is where most people get it wrong. If you've ordered a pizza with "a lot of sloppy toppings" you're going to want to eat it with a fork and knife instead.

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heart attack after 40

Sushi is another food you're eating all wrong, and Hanson says this particular mistake could make an embarrassing mess of your plate.

"When eating sushi, it is the fish side of the nigiri in this instance that is dipped into the soy sauce—not the rice side. Otherwise, it's going to disintegrate," he explains.

Hanson adds that there are three other common mistakes people make with their chopsticks while eating sushi: pointing them at people, placing dirty chopsticks on the table between bites, and sticking them into your bowl of rice (this is considered unlucky, he notes).

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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