Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF
FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-
FOGEY ALERT! FOGEY ALERT!
I don't know what's wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs!
Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!
While we're on the subject:
You can talk and talk till your face is blue!
But they still just do what they want to do!
Why can't they be like we were,
Perfect in every way?
What's the matter with kids today?
--- Paul Lynde singing “Kids” from “Bye Bye Birdie”
Here comes the obligatory lengthy lead-in to this week’s main point. We go back to February 9, 2009, and Culinary no-no #100:
Once a week she visited our 7th grade class. A sweet, charming, bubbly lady, she hailed originally from Cincinnati, but had an accent thicker than Scarlett O’Hara’s. Her mission: to groom a bunch of 13-year old kids.
Because after all, as she often drawled, “You wanna be nice, good lookin’ and clean all over, dontcha, huhhhhhhhh?????!!!!”
Manners. We had to learn and practice good manners.
As hysterical as this may sound to some of you, I was an extremely good boy. To this day, I always try to be a perfect gentleman. I owe it all to that woman.
She hammered proper etiquette into us like a drill sergeant with a perpetual smile. Over and over and over and over and over again. Want another analogy? It was Vince Lombardi-like. Then came the real test, the time to execute.
Maybe she could sense that I was not an insensitive kid. Whatever the reason, when she issued an assignment pairing up a boy with a girl to put the grooming lessons into practice, I got matched with Sharon Clock.
Everyone in the 7th grade knew that I had a thing for Debbie Huck and vice versa since the 1st grade. Debbie was pretty, very smart and sweet, and built beyond her 7th grade status. Sharon Clock was short, dumpy, fat, and had a silver front tooth. Kids didn’t dislike her. They just pretty much ignored her.
Instead of Debbie Huck, for the next several weeks, I would shadow Sharon. I pulled out her chair. I held the door for her. I hung up her coat. I held her coat when she put it on. I carried her books. I talked nice to her.
“Is there anything else I can do for you, Sharon? Is there anything I can get you, Sharon? Do you have any other request before I kill myself, Sharon?”
When you’re in the 7th grade, you possess Superman-like peripheral vision and hearing. You can see and hear the smirks and laughter as you help Little Miss Fatty into her seat.
At a Friday afternoon in-classroom party, the occasion escapes me, other kids were spinning records and dancing and laughing and joking.
“Would you like to go hang out with the other kids, Sharon?”
"No, not really, Kevin.”
“Well, what do you wanna do?”
“Are you serious, Kevin?”
Her words echoed through my brain: "You wanna be nice, good lookin’ and clean all over, dontcha, huhhhhhhhh?????!!!!”
“I’d like to play chess.”
“Chess. I want to play chess."
It’s amazing how a 7th grader’s thoughts can quickly turn from good grooming to homicide in a matter of seconds. So we played chess, and I tried to ignore the 45’s blaring in the background, and the laughing, and the snickering.
And I had manners galore.
This past week I thought about 7th grade and the drill sergeant and Sharon Clock as I picked up the Journal Sentinel. There, right smack dab on the front page…
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students learn the proper way to cut and eat food as part of a program to prep them for the working world. Student Lafrisko Lewis (from left); B.J. Helleson, a manager at Prudential Insurance, one of the sponsors; and student Rosha Brister follow along at the Wisconsin Club. Journal Sentinel photo: Michael Sears
In fact, their instructor looks exactly like my 7th grade Miss Manners.
Margery Sinclair of Good Manners are Good Business teaches business and dining etiquette, such as this class for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students at the Wisconsin Club. It was part of the From Backpacks to Briefcases program to help students manage the transition to the workplace. JS photo: Michael Sears
The Journal Sentinel reports:
"The banquet table has eight place settings positioned close to one another. Crystal glasses crowd the space above china plates, and rolls sit nearby, atop small plates.
"But which roll goes with which plate? And which plate with which glass?
'BMW', advises Margery Sinclair, etiquette coach and author. 'From left to right: Bread and butter; meat and main; wine or water.'
"That might not seem like college-level work, but with students getting ready to head off to interviews, internships and jobs, schools are setting aside some time - and some courses - to prepare them in ways beyond technical and management skills."
Schools like UWM, MU and MATC.
They bring in Sinclair to demonstrate in yet another Sears photo…