Have you ever been out for dinner and been confused by the number of knives and forks? Don’t know what to do with that napkin? This is a list of the top 10 tips to help you get by if you are invited to a fine dining experience. The rules may vary from place to place but this should serve as a good guide.
1. Knives and Forks
This is one of the most common problems for people that are used to flatware (knives and forks) being brought to the table with each course. On a properly set table you usually see a series of forks on the left side of your plate, and a series of spoons and knives on your right (the table is always set for right handed people). The very simple rule is to always work from the outside in; the cutlery farthest away from your plate is for the first course. If you are still unsure what to do, wait and follow your hostess or host.Always take small portions of food at a time and put your cutlery down between each mouthful. When you put your cutlery down, place it on the plate (never back on the table and do not rest it half on and half off the plate); cross the tips of the two pieces (if there are two) or angle it if there is just one. This tells the server that you are not finished. When you are finished, place your knife and fork together in the centre of the plate vertically.
The tines of the fork should point up and the blade of the knife should point to the centre towards the fork.You should always hold both your knife and fork – you should not cut your food up at the start and then use your fork only (this is an American tradition and is generally fine in America, but not in Europe). The tines of your fork should always point down toward the plate – for difficult foods like peas, you should use your knife to squash them onto the tip of the fork. The fork is not a scoop, do not use it like one.Do not pick up any cutlery that you drop to the floor. It will be replaced by the server.
2. Soup and Pudding
Soup spoons generally come in two shapes – one is shaped like a round bowl, and the other is shaped like an egg. When eating soup the soup bowl must stay on the table. It is never acceptable to drink your soup from the bowl. To eat your soup, push your spoon away from you starting at the centre of the bowl to the farthest edge. Bring the spoon to your mouth and drink the soup from the edge – do not put the whole spoon in to your mouth. Do not slurp.