Home >> Diet and Nutrition >> Dining Etiquette

To help you feel assured and comfortable in any setting, here are some dining tips. First we will start with the utensils. The general rule of thumb for using utensils is to begin with the utensils farthest away from the plate, and work inward. Do not put a used utensil down on the tablecloth, it is distasteful and unsightly. Coffee or fruit spoons should be placed in the saucer; forks and knives should be placed diagonally across the plate when you are finished eating, and so on. There are two methods for coordinating the knife and fork in cutting meat. In the American method, the fork is transferred to the right hand after each piece of meat is cut. In the European method, the fork is held in the left hand and lifts the meat to the mouth, thus eliminating the need to switch hands. No matter which method you use, never clutch the fork in a clenched fist. Hold the end of the handle as if it were a pencil. If you are left handed you may need to modify the American method. The left hand is used in the European method.

Never use your fingers to push food unto the fork; use a knife or a small piece of bread. Do not blow on soup; just wait for it to cool. It is unappetizing to cut up more than one bite of eggs or pancake at a time; avoid making a gooey mess on your plate. Drink only when your mouth is empty and wiped clean. Dunking is considered very ill-mannered. Finally, butter your roll on the butter plate, and butter only a portion at a time.

Finger Foods

Many people feel uncomfortable eating anything with their fingers. The setting, of course, will affect your decision of whether or not to use your fingers. A picnic, for example, encourages eating with your fingers while a restaurant does not. There are some foods however, that are almost always eaten with the fingers. Some of them are:



Carrot sticks



Corn on the cob


Crispy Bacon








If a food has a pit or seed, use a spoon to remove it from your mouth to a plate. If there are no spoons, you can put the seeds in your hand and then dispose of them properly.

These are some very basic but essential dining etiquette. Observing them will make the dining experience pleasant for everyone present. Happy dining!

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