Many whole books have been dedicated to food etiquette, so to talk about a subject in a couple of paragraphs will by no means cover even a tiny percentage of the subject. In any case, what are good manners in one country may be found offensive in another. Food etiquette may go out of the door at the local truck stop or diner, but when that special occasion comes along, that formal dinner, there are several points that should be remembered. For example, never start eating a course of food before your host or hostess.
A place setting should always be such that the cutlery for the first course is set on the outside and works inwards course by course, so, always start with the knife, fork, or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in, using one utensil for each course. For example, in food etiquette the salad fork is on your outermost left, followed by your dinner fork. Your soupspoon is on your outermost right, followed by your beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. Your dessertspoon and fork are above your plate or brought out with dessert. If you remember the rule to work from the outside in, you’ll be fine. Remember eat to your left, drink to your right. Any food dish to the left is yours, and any glass to the right is yours. Once used, your utensils, including the handles, should not touch the table again. Always rest forks, knives, and spoons on the side of your plate or in the bowl. For more formal dinners, from course to course, your tableware will be taken away and replaced as needed. Finally, to indicate that your are done with a course, rest your fork, tines up, and knife blade in, with the handles resting at five o’clock and tips pointing to ten o’clock on your plate. See our blog for more tips on food etiquette.