How you choose to get your food into your mouth may not matter when you’re eating at the comfort of your home. But that’s completely not the case when you are eating in an open environment. Perhaps, in a restaurant or in a formal occasion, there must be sanity in your composure and style to hold your utensils. A formal atmosphere deserves approvable formalities and utensil etiquette which reflects deserving respect while also maintaining a commendable prestige. So, here we go. How to use fork and knife, the European style!

It is notable that most Americans are beginning to go continental; adopting the European (continental) style of using utensils (fork and knife). Some argue that the European style is more efficient, while others believe it’s simpler. Did I just say efficient? It’s not like you should be in a hurry while taking your food. I think it’s the word for those who don’t think the American style is difficult anyway.

Fork and knife position

Your fork is held on the left side of your plate while the knife on the right. Sometimes you would have more than one fork; the outer one (usually smaller) is for your salad while the inner fork is for your main dish. However, all is held on your left hand.

Holding the utensils

While holding your fork and knife for a cut, the two handles should be concealed by your palm. This is why the European style is also referred to as hidden handle. Your index finger should rest at the blunt side (back) of the knife close to the handle and kept almost straight, while your remaining four fingers wrap around the handle; concealing it completely. This same principle is applied as you hold the fork. Here, you will face the prongs down. Your index finger rests at the back-side and head of the fork. Also, the end of both utensils should be touching the base of your palms.

 Point your index fingers down towards your plate so that the tip of the fork and knife somehow point towards the plate. This can be achieved by bending your wrists. Your elbows should not be up in the air. It should be at rest on the table, though at some point it would be up sometimes while you are performing a cut or fetch.

Cutting and fetching the food

Place your fork on a fraction of the food you wish to cut, hold it down and apply pressure through your index finger. For a cut, place your knife close to the portion clamped down using your fork by sawing. The fork tines should be curved to face you while the knife position is behind the fork, a little further away from you. Always make sure you are able to see your knife clearly when you are cutting. Some foods are easier to cut, always cut one or two bits at a time. In the position, the fork can hold the food but for some foods like rice or vegetables, you can use the blade of the knife to guide the food on the back of the fork.

Taking the food to your mouth

Even if you are right-handed, the fork remains at your left hand. Keep the fork faced down; the back of the fork will be up and the fork tines curving down as you bring food to your mouth.

If you are left-handed, please consider reversing the alignments given in this article

Interested in typical German cuisine? Read here
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