There were two staples at our dinner table when I was growing up: Dole Caesar salad in a bag and Pillsbury croissants in a tube. There are six people in my family and eight croissants in each tube. The only way I was going to get a second delicious, flaky croissant was to wolf down my dinner like a ravenous child-beast and pray that my three siblings were slightly less savage/grabby than I.
As a result, I grew habituated to stuffing food down my gullet at lightening speed.
Then I moved to France, and I was forced to eat in a way completely unnatural to me-- i.e. with my fork in my left hand, a knife in my right, and both hands on the table at all times. Every time I get too comfortable and revert to my preferred table manners (fork in my right hand, left hand in my lap), I need remind myself that everyone thinks I'm creepy when one hand is mysteriously below-decks.
It's really hard for me to push chunks of food onto the back of my fork and then get said fork to my mouth without spilling things everywhere. Like couscous. Can I please get a pass on couscous so I can eat it the creepy American way, where my right hand shovels it into my mouth? Please?
Anyway, now I eat a lot more slowly.