Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The European way with a knife and fork


Bageless
 Share

Recommended Posts

But don't you eat with both hands no matter what? In other words, if you use a fork and a knife, the fork has to go in one hand and the knife has to go in the other hand -- unless you're triple-jointed and have a lot of extra fingers. So from a comfort perspective, who cares which hand holds the fork and which hand holds the knife?

Sometimes I'll run into a lefty who says, "Oh, I'm a lefty, I'll sit on this side of you." I never understand that: assuming we both eat the same way with a knife and fork, why does it matter which side you sit on?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, not if you are cutting right-handed. And your neighbor is eating right-handed. If you are cutting properly, your left elbow will never lift up to disturb the neighbor on your left.

Edited by IrishCream (log)

Lobster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:shock::shock::shock:

Okay, confession time: until I read this thread, I had no idea that such etiquette was employed in America.

Cutlery swapping? Holding the fork in the RIGHT hand? Good Lord. My stiff British upper lip is wobbling.

I was drilled in table manners by a formidable grandmother, who insisted that if I didn't hold my cutlery in the proper hands I would disgust future employers, be unable to get a job and end up as a streetsweeper. Not holding your knife and fork in the 'right' hands is as bad as eating with your mouth open, in her book. And as for elbows: "all joints on the table will be cut".

Despite these pleas for etiquette tolerance, I have never dined with someone who held their cutlery in the 'incorrect' way - it would give me a start if I did. :blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes I'll run into a lefty who says, "Oh, I'm a lefty, I'll sit on this side of you." I never understand that: assuming we both eat the same way with a knife and fork, why does it matter which side you sit on?

A lot of lefties put the knife in their left hand and the fork in their right. When eating with a knife and fork the elbow of the knife hand will naturally stick out somewhat when cutting, whereas the elbow of the fork hand tends to stay closer to the side. If you get a righty sitting to the left of a lefty, the inevitable result is a collision of elbows whenever they use their knives to cut at the same time. This can be mitigated, of course, by having both diners keep their elbows at their sides while cutting (which may be better table manners anyway), but in actual practice this rarely happens and some diners may find it unnecessarily restricting.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of lefties put the knife in their left hand and the fork in their right.

Yes, but this is improper in both the US and Europe.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No knife and fork. Hashi.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You'd never guess from the way I eat today, but pater was Ambassador to Austria when I was growing up...

Question: does etiquette dictate which way the fork should be positioning when in the act of forking? i.e., let's assume it is proper to hold fork in left hand, is there a further standard on whether fork should be held such that the tines curve concave or convex? Is it a function of holding the utensil "overhand" or "underhand"? Is it just dictated by common sense i.e. for piece of steak, stab in overhand fashion and bring to mouth and when its rice, fork underhand and bring to mouth?

I recall it is definitely faux pas to put your knife in your mouth. I am less sure whether it is bad form to balance food on top of the fork (tines facing down) although I never do it as it requires more dexterity than I possess...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I recall it is definitely faux pas to put your knife in your mouth. 

I think back 17 years and I do not remember using a fork in France when I was an apprentice. Pate, cheese, bread, meats, etc were eaten with only a knife. You would scoop up a piece of pate with the knife and place it directly in your mouth. With the same knife you would spread Dijon on baguette and fish gherkins out of a jar while balancing a tumbler of wine between your knees...

I guess French cooks have no etiquette until they become the grand toque blanche.

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You'd never guess from the way I eat today, but pater was Ambassador to Austria when I was growing up...

Question: does etiquette dictate which way the fork should be positioning when in the act of forking?  i.e., let's assume it is proper to hold fork in left hand, is there a further standard on whether fork should be held such that the tines curve concave or convex?  Is it a function of holding the utensil "overhand" or "underhand"?  Is it just dictated by common sense i.e. for piece of steak, stab in overhand fashion and bring to mouth and when its rice, fork underhand and bring to mouth?

I recall it is definitely faux pas to put your knife in your mouth.  I am less sure whether it is bad form to balance food on top of the fork (tines facing down) although I never do it as it requires more dexterity than I possess...

40 years ago, i was supposed to eat everything with convexed fork. peas, too...

very old school parents, mine.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...