Oct 18, 2022 | Samuel Albert

How should you eat with a knife and fork?

Culture shock has become a thing of the past. Instead, learning and adapting to a different culture is the trend these days. For example, learning the art of cutlery usage and table manners has become a part of the work-business world. When your business partner is the one you want to please and impress over dinner, and you have to pull off that deal, I can't stress it enough. As a result, dining etiquettes have become an integral part of work culture these days.

Photo by elCarito on Unsplash

In both Continental and American dining styles, hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right hand. Though both hold the food with the fork and cut it with the knife, Americans switch the fork from left to right to eat, while the British do not. 

Let your fingers practice handling the knife and fork. Hold it, feel it and get used to it. You need to RELAX! One needs to have ample practice to comfortably eat with these two in your hand while you go on to have a light conversation over the luncheon or dinner with your business partner. Practice a few sessions at home to avoid initial glitches and overcome the uncomfortable feeling of using the cutlery. Once you get the hang of it, no one will know that you are a rookie. Now, let's get started!

  1. How to hold your fork and your knife?

Hold your fork in your left hand, so that the tines of the fork face downwards. Let the index finger be on top of the fork to have more control of the fork with your thumb holding the base.

Hold your knife in the right hand in a cutting position. Let your index finger rest on the blunt end of the knife. Hold your thumb at the bottom and let the rest of the hand go around the handle.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Use the fork to hold down the food firmly and cut it into bite-sized pieces, one or two at a time, so it is easier to pick it up with the fork and put it in your mouth.

  1. Is it wrong to hold the fork in the right hand?

Americans start eating by holding the fork in their left hand and the knife in their left. After they cut the food with the knife, they put down the knife on the top of the plate. They then pass the fork to the right hand and use it to pick their food, with the tines facing upwards and remaining so throughout the meal.

The British and the rest of the world never exchange cutlery while eating. Instead, they use the fork to hold the food and cut it with the knife. Also, they use the knife to pile the food onto the fork and eat with it. The knife also aids the fork in the food cutting and gathering process.

  1. What is the dining etiquette for left-handed people?

If you are left-handed, except for the fact that there will be some elbow bumping (watch out!) when you dine with right-handed people, you can get by without any incident.

You can reverse the hands and hold the fork in your right and the knife in the left (if you are comfortable doing so!) or choose to go the traditional way.

  1. How would you tell your waiter that you are resting or pausing, and how to say to him that you are finished?

In cutlery language, you are taking a break if you cross the knife and the fork, with the fork over the knife, or place them in an inverted V.

Photo by Viktoria Slowikowska

If you have finished your meal, place the fork and knife parallel to each other - between 11ish to 12 o'clock or 10ish to 4 o'clock. The waiter knows that he can remove your plate.

Also, note that in Europe, your fork will be facing downwards, while in America, it will be facing upwards in these cases.

  1. How to use cutlery as a beginner while dining?

  • The forks go on the left, and the knives and spoons are on the right. Always start from the outside and work towards the inside.
  • Once you pick up a fork or a knife to eat, never put them back on the table. Instead, always place the cutlery back on the plate.
  • Your drinks will be placed on the right, but you should use your left hand to pick them up.
  • Never talk with the cutlery in your hands or make gestures with them. It is impolite to do so. Instead, put them down on the plate while having a conversation.

  1. What are some basic dining etiquettes that a beginner should know?

Photo by Team Picsfast

  • Close your mouth while eating and never talk with food in your mouth. 
  • Spread the napkin on your lap before starting to dine.
  • Wait for everyone to be served before you start eating your meal.
  • Pass salt and pepper and salt together.
  • While self-serving, offer your choice dish first to the person on the left, serve for yourself and then pass it on to the person on the right.
  • It is impolite to blow on your hot soup. Let it cool on its own. The right way to have the soup is to scoop your soup away from you while having it.
  • Don't use the phone while eating. It is rude to ignore people around you. Rather, be involved in the conversation and lend an ear to the people around you.
  • Don't support your hands by leaning on your elbows on the table.
  • Never make the slurping noise or lick your cutlery or plate.
  • Maintain your eating pace with others at the table.
  • Don't hoard your plate.
  • Be mindful of others.
  • When taking a break from the meal, place the napkin on the chair. Then, pick it up on your return and put it across your lap. 
  • Wait for others to finish their meal before leaving the table.

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