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Using Cutlery

Some Do's and Don'ts
  • Cutlery is arranged in the order in which it is to be used, that is, starting from the outside and working inwards. One therefore need not get confused about which implements are to be used for which specific course. One starts by using the cutlery which is farthest from the plate on both sides.

  • To cut food, the fork pierces the piece that requires cutting to offer a grip and the piece is then gently cut away by the knife from the outer side of the fork and not the inner side. The knife is also used as a support to press or push food on to the fork.

  • When the dinner has finished eating, the knife and fork should be placed parallel and close to each other in the centre of the plate or a little towards the right with the handles resting on the edge of the plate. The tines of the fork face upwards but there is nothing wrong if they face downwards as some prefer to do. The sharp edge of the blade of the knife should face inwards.

  • If one wants to pause while eating but has not finished eating, cross the knife and fork with the knife placed above the fork and fork tines facing upwards. One can also put the knife with the sharp side of the blade facing inwards, and the fork, with the tines downwards, resting at an angle on the respective sides of the plates.

  • Generally, when the food is soft, one need not use the knife even if it is kept at the cover for use. Use only the fork held in the right hand. Rice, mashed potatoes, vegetables and patties should be eaten with a fork only. A knife should not be used when the food served does not require to be cut. But here is an exception. If a plain curry and rice is served and one finds it difficult to mix them with a fork alone, one may use the tablespoon, if it is provided. In this case the spoon is kept in place of knife or next to it and is held in the right hand when used. This table setting is an Indian improvisation to facilitate eating typically Indian food which consists of combination of rice and gravy dishes.

  • Soup is served in soup plates. One should slightly tilt the plate away from oneself when nearing the end of the contents. However delicious the soup, one should not scrape the bottom of the plate to try and get to the last drop. On finishing, the soup spoon is placed in the centre of the plate with the handle resting on the edge and pointing towards oneself. If soup is served in bowls, the soup spoon is placed on the saucer or plate on which the bowl is resting and not left in the bowl itself.

  • For eating desserts, the fork is held in the left hand and the knife or spoon (according to the type of dessert) is held in the right hand. Cakes and similar desserts are eaten with a fork whilst ice-creams, puddings, mousses, custards and anything else that is wobbly is eaten with a spoon. The knife is used for desserts with a hard crust or for fruits.

  • A point to be borne in mind while eating is that the food should be taken to the mouth and not the reverse. One should not bend low towards the plate. Likewise, belching and slurping, though acceptable in some cultures, is regarded by most as an obnoxious habit and therefore ought to be got rid off.

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