|We have all seen humorous pictures of the uncouth man who sits waiting for his plate with his knife in his right hand and his fork in his left, points upwards. See that you don't let yourself look so ridiculous.|
The Right Thing at the Right Time with the Knife
“Since trifles make the sum of human things.” —Hannah More
DON’T hold your knife at table as if you contemplated cutting your way through a barbed wire entanglement with it. Take it no further down toward the blade than is necessary to hold it securely. In fact, it is a mistake to let your fingers rest anywhere but on the handle, save that the index finger may be placed on the edge of the dull side. When you have finished with a course in which a knife is used, place the knife across the side of the plate with the sharp side of the blade toward the center.
If you are dining with your family and send your plate to the carver for a second helping, the knife and fork should be placed in this way, not removed and laid on the butter plate, much less held in mid-air. Never hold the knife in the hand, save when using it. Some persons, you know, forget that they have it in their hand and raise it in an awkward fashion with the point of the blade ceiling-ward. We have all seen humorous pictures of the uncouth man who sits waiting for his plate with his knife in his right hand and his fork in his left, points upwards. See that you don't let yourself look so ridiculous.
Never use a knife in eating salad. Do not use a steel knife in eating fish. Some persons would say, never use any knives at all with fish, but it is quite all right to use a silver knife and small silver knives are especially designed for the fish course. In the ordinary household where fish is served as a substitute for the meat course, it is served with the usual knife and fork, but this knife should not be of steel. Do not use a knife when eating desserts, although in some provincial hotels, the waiter will give you a knife and fork with pie. A small knife may be served and used with cheese. When this is done, cut off a bit of cheese and place it by means of the knife on the wafer with which it is served and then convey the wafer to your month by means of the left hand.
Never, never use your knife as an implement with which to assist food on your fork or to scout about your plate the last morsels. In fact, the knife should not be used at all for potatoes or other vegetables, these being broken entirely by means of the fork. If no butter knives are used, it is quite all right to use the dinner knife for buttering bread. Remember, however, never to spread more than a small morsel at a time, and never wipe off gravy or other food on a slice of bread by way of polishing your knife before using it on the butter. — By Mary Marshall Duffee, 1922
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia©️ Etiquette Encyclopedia