If used in conjunction with a knife to cut and consume food in western social settings, two forms of fork labels are common. In the European style, the diner holds his fork in his left hand. while in the American style, the fork is moved between his left and right hands. American style is more common in the United States, but European style is considered appropriate in other countries.
Originally, the traditional European method, once the fork was adopted as a tool, had to transfer the fork to the right hand after cutting the food, since it was considered appropriate for all tools to be used only with the right hand. This tradition was brought to America by British settlers and is still in use in the United States. Europe has adopted a faster feeding style in relatively modern times.
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How Do You Hold A Fork?
The continental style prevails at all meals, formal and informal, because it is a natural, non-disruptive way to eat.
Hold your fork in your left hand, tines downward.
Hold your knife in your right hand, an inch or two above the plate.
Extend your index finger along the top of the blade.
Use your fork to spear and lift food to your mouth.
At informal meals the dinner fork may be held tines upward, American table manners style.
How do you leave your knife and fork on your plate when taking a break or when you finished eating?
When you pause to take a sip of your beverage or to speak with someone, rest your utensils in one of the two following styles:
Continental Style: Place your knife and fork on your plate near the center, slightly angled in an inverted V and with the tips of the knife and fork pointing toward each other.
American Style: Rest your knife on the top right of your plate (diagonally) with the fork nearby (tines up).
When Each Course Is Finished:
Place the knife and fork parallel with the handles in the four o’clock position on the right rim of the plate.