How to hold a fork
Table etiquette can be confusing. Yes, all forks and spoons have a purpose in their place, but what is the correct way to hold your utensils? Just as there is a correct way to hold a glass bottle, there is also a rule on how to hold a fork.
However, there is a great debate between European and American etiquette experts. Ultimately, how you hold your fork is up to you, so we’ll let you decide which method you want.
How to hold a Fork according to the Table Etiquette in the United States
Let’s start by addressing the common American “cut and switch” technique before we talk about the European method. In America, the traditional way of using a fork begins with a knife in the right hand and a fork in the left. After using the knife to cut the food, it is placed on the plate to switch the fork to the right hand.
How to hold a Fork according to the Table Etiquette in the Europe
In Europe, eating with a knife and fork looks a little different. Although the process starts out the same, with a fork in the left hand and a knife in the right, there is no change after cutting. The fork remains in the left hand while you eat.
The controversy? Some table etiquette experts say switching forks is pointless, according to The Guardian. However, for some reason, the “cut and switch” method has gained more popularity. Still, both methods are considered “correct”, so choose whichever of the two techniques seems correct to you.
Why do we hold silverwarry differently?
The Guardian shares that the cut and switch technique was a trend in 19th century France, until one day it stopped. The method fell out of fashion there, but is still popular in the United States. In the book In Small Things Forgotten, by the American anthropologist James Deetz, there is a theory that Americans already used a spoon in their right hand, so changing the fork was natural.
Keep in mind that forks weren’t used to bring food to the mouth before the 19th century in the United States, they were simply there to assist the knife when it needed to cut meat, according to the Chicago Tribune. Because of this, it is also speculated that the “cut and switch” technique may have been one of the first etiquette methods involving a fork in the US.
Method 2 : Eating the “American way”
- Cut the food while holding the knife in your right hand and the fork in your left. Then, use the knife to cut and slice the piece of food until you have a piece that can be eaten in one bite. This practice is found essentially identically in the European method.
- Don’t worry about which direction the teeth are facing. It may be easier to pick up the food if you point your teeth up, like a shovel. Most modern Americans don’t pay much attention to the direction in which their teeth are pointed.Make the teeth point downward. According to traditional “etiquette”, the teeth should point downwards, while the palm wraps around the end of the handle. Stretch your index finger toward the base of the fork.
- The American method may be more efficient if you cut the entire meal into pieces before moving the fork to your right hand. This way, you won’t have to swap utensils over and over again.Transfer the fork to the right hand when eating. After you’ve cut the piece of food, place the knife on the edge of the plate. Transfer the fork to the right hand.
- The end of the fork should rest in the area between your index finger and thumb. Use your right hand to bring the food to your mouth, and then switch the fork back to your left hand so that you can cut another piece with the knife in your right hand. Repeat, switching hands each time you go to eat a bite.
- Decide which way is the most efficient. Many modern diners and critics of etiquette claim that the European style is less formal and less efficient than the American method, since it creates less disruption to the eating process. You should know that despite archaic social rules, there is no truly “right” or “wrong” way to hold a fork, as long as you can eat the food.