Proper Use of Silverware and Eating Utensils
The rules that are commonly observed for the use of table silver, china,
and other items of table equipment were made for convenience and ease
in serving and eating food. They are usually based upon common sense,
consideration for others, and general good taste.
Using the Serving Silver
If food is passed to you so that you may serve yourself, it should reach
you from the left. You will find the serving spoon or fork in the dish, and
you should use your right hand to help yourself to a portion of food. Use
your left hand to pass the dish on to the person at your right. If butter is
passed, a butter knife should be passed with it. Use the butter knife to
transfer a piece of butter to your bread-and-butter plate or to your dinner
Using the Napkin
Pick up the folded napkin with your left hand, and place it in your lap. If
the napkin is large, leave it folded halfway. Use it during the meal to
remove food or liquid from around the mouth.
Using the Table Silver
It is important that you know and practice the correct use of a knife, fork,
spoon, and other special pieces of table silver.
a. the knife is used to cut pieces of food on the plate, and to spread butter or
jelly on bread if there is no butter spreader. In using the knife for cutting, hold
it in your right hand with the handle resting in your palm and with your thumb
and last three fingers steadying it. Place your forefinger on the back of the
blade as you cut. When the knife is not in use for cutting or spreading, lay it
across the back of your plate with the cutting edge toward you. If you
remember the rule that used silver should never touch the table, you will never
rest a knife or fork on the edge of the plate in "gangplank" fashion.
b. the fork is used, with tines up, to carry all kinds of food to the mouth except
those that are too soft or too watery to be lifted with a fork. It is also used to
hold food in position so that the knife can cut it. In using the fork while cutting
with the knife, hold it in the left hand with tines down and brace it with your
forefinger at the bottom of the handle. After cutting one bite of food and laying
the knife across the plate, transfer the fork to the right hand with tines up, and
use it to carry the food to your mouth. For cutting the next bite, change the
fork back to the left hand and pick up the knife again.
You may use the side of the fork to separate pieces of food that are not too
hard to handle in this way- for instance, vegetables, cake, or pie.
Use a salad fork with tines up to carry food to the mouth. If the salad requires
cutting, use the side of the salad fork, or use your table knife as you would in
cutting food on the dinner plate.
c. the spoon is used for dipping soft or liquid food and carrying it to the mouth.
Hold it in the right hand as you would a pencil. Take only as much food on the
spoon as you will put into your mouth at one time. Eat from the side of the
spoon. Between bites or when the food is eaten, place the spoon on the saucer
or plate which is under the bowl or cup. Never leave it in the bowl. In eating soup,
dip the bowl of the spoon into the soup away from you-not toward you.
Use your spoon only for stirring or for testing beverages. Never drink a beverage
with the spoon in the cup. Remove the spoon after stirring or testing and place
it on the saucer or plate under it.
d. the butter spreader is used to butter the bread. You may use your knife, but
never use the butter knife that is passed with butter. When you eat bread, break
off a moderate-sized piece with your fingers. Hold it on the edge of the
bread-and-butter plate, and spread butter on it with the knife or butter spreader.
Never hold the bread in the palm of the hand while buttering it.
Back to Glimpses Into The Past
Return to Gates County Page