Etiquette Boss: Flatware maps the menu

November 27, 2013 Phillipa Morrish
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FLATWARE ETIQUETTE – Part 2: Now that you have the 18/10 flatware that pleases your tactile senses, you should know how to ‘read’ the menu, simply by looking at the flatware on the table.

The flatware closest to the dinner plate is always used last, and that which is farthest, or on the outside, is used first. Any flatware above the plate is left untouched until after the entrée; when it is pulled down to the side of the plate (or each side, if more than one utensil) to await the arrival of dessert.

If a tiny fork (two or three pronged) is placed in the soup spoon, to the right of the plate, that indicates some type of seafood cocktail will be the first course, and will precede the soup course. Next, the salad fork should be the first of the two forks to the left of the plate.

Sometimes there is a salad knife to the right of the dinner knife. Holding the knife and fork incorrectly is a very common mistake. The forefinger of the left hand should rest on the neck of the fork, and the forefinger of the right hand should rest firmly on the neck of the knife.

Fork and knife handles should be hidden in the palm of each hand without being seen, while cutting food: No protruding knife or fork handles between thumb and forefinger.

Also, there is no sawing the meat with the knife as though it were a piece of wood. Cut in one direction, several times if necessary. At the meal’s conclusion, place knife and fork together in the 4:20 position to indicate you are finished.

YOUR BEST APPEARANCE: I was invited to a luncheon last Saturday, and one lady at the table (I assumed she was in her 60s) was involved in a conversation, and I thought overheard her say she was 75.

I was flabbergasted, so I asked her whether I had heard correctly. She smiled sweetly and told me that she was not speaking about herself, as she was actually 80 years old. I almost fell off my chair.

She had to show us her driver’s license. Well, the table went crazy, with everyone asking her what was her secret. Are you ready? It was a light application of petroleum jelly after cleansing her face every night.

Phillipa Morrish is the president of Etiquette Training International.

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