Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Table Manners: Use of a Knife and Fork


  • Assuming you are right-handed, hold the fork in your left hand and knife in your right.
  • With the tines facing downward (curving towards you), hold down an end-piece of whatever you are cutting (let's assume it's meat).

  • Do not hold the knife or fork like a dagger, but rather, place your index finger along the top of each utensil, holding each at the end.

  • Gently, using a sawing motion, cut the meat near the tines of the fork, so that you have one bite-sized piece.

  • Lay the knife down (without allowing it to touch the table), and switch the fork (complete with pierced meat) to your right hand.

  • Bring it up to your mouth, chew quietly, and swallow when the meat is sufficiently masticated.

  • **This is called the American (or Zig-Zag) method of cutting food. The Continental (or European) method consists of not switching hands, and using the left hand for all fork-related activities.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW improve your table manners?

When I was young my mother told me that the Continental method (she didn't call it that) was wrong and vulgar. That showing the back of the fork was low-class. Of course her parents worked for a very upper class American family here in the States and probably developed that idea from watching them eat. My grandparents emigrated from Ireland to the States. In my later life I came to the realization that The Continental method was a much more expedient way of eating with knife and fork. If I remember I use my knife and fork the Continental way.

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