Western Dining – Eating Styles
By bizetiquettes - Sun Jul 22, 3:00 pm
Continental: The fork is held throughout in the left hand, tines down, and the knife in the right, with the cutting edge pointing downwards. Press the index finger of the left hand on the neck of the fork. Press the index finger of the right hand on the knife where the blade and the handle meet. Press the thumbs down on the right and left sides of the fork and knife handles respectively. The last three fingers of both hands curl around the lower part of the handles, so that the handle fits into the palm of the hand.
To cut food, pierce with the fork the food you wish to cut. With the knife, first `pin down’ the food, so that it does not `fly’ away. Gently cut or slice away the pierced piece, by placing the knife at the outer side of the fork, away from you, not inside. Use the knife finally to press or pile food onto the back of the fork. Do not ever put the knife into the mouth. It is not a spoon!
American: Cut the food in the Continental style. Thereafter, put the knife down across the upper right of the plate; transfer the fork to the right hand; use the fork like a spoon to scoop up the food.
Dry items such as bread, asparagus, carrots, chips, and some fruits are `finger foods’. They require no implements.
Eat solids with the mouth shut, soundlessly; sip liquids without slurping noises. Before you sip the wine, clear your mouth of any food, particularly bread, and blot the lips with your napkin. Cut only one mouthful at a time. It is impolite to over-fill the mouth, make grunting noises, over-load the plate, and reach across the table for a dish. Do not blow over hot food to cool it! Do not wave your cutlery when you talk. Do not hold on to your cutlery when you sip wine. Do not poke a finger inside the mouth to remove an inedible piece; do not spit a cherry seed directly onto the plate or into the napkin; instead, bring the fork to the mouth and discreetly, concealing the action behind the hand, spit the seed on the fork. Do not eat your food too fast or too slow. Keep pace with the other diners. Do not place your elbows on the table.