Remains of the DayReading the memoirs of Agatha Christie and came across a description of what social customs and etiquette were like in English society during her childhood. Her mother would tell the little Agatha to leave some morsels on her plate "for Miss Manners". This is in sharp contrast to childhood education in the manners department here (at least the way I was instructed). We were exhorted to make sure our plate (or leaf when it came to weddings, many social customs were explained and enforced by eagle-eyed relatives to the young kids over the kalyaaNa chaapaTTu elai) was clean to the point of being spotless at the end. This automatically led to discipline in the asking for more food if you wanted to achieve the clean slate (or plate) at the end and plus you wouldn't waste any food. Modern parents usually tend to be a little lax with their children and there are a lot of leftovers - quite avoidable.
It also gave me a small lesson in persistence and foresight - in the kalyaaNa lunches, you had to spread out your hand in advance lest the onrushing appaLam (which usually looked as big as a frisbee) or payasam dispensing guy would put some more on your leaf. Those could easily translate into moments of weaknesses, for the guy would usually be insistent on doling out another helping for you and tempt you accordingly. It was a question of who blinked first.