Which fork do I use first?

First, observe the place setting above. This is the standard for an ordinary meal. If there are several forks, knives and spoons, start with the one furthest from the plate. The exception is the soup spoon which is placed to the right of the knives. If there are a fork and spoon above the dinner plate, save them for dessert.

Americans eat in two different styles: American and European. Whichever style you choose, maintain it throughout the meal. In the European style, the fork stays on the left side of the plate throughout the meal. You hold the fork, tines down in the left hand and cut your food with the knife in your right. Once you cut your food, you eat it with your fork still in your left hand.

In the less efficient, but more common, American style, the fork goes back and forth between the left and right hands. The cutting is done as above, but then the inefficiency begins. Place the knife on the upper rim of the plate, take the fork with the food on the tines pointed upwards into your right hand and eat. This is cumber–some because you may cut your meat only one piece at a time, so your fork seems to jump from one side to the other during the meal.

During the meal if you wish to rest your knife and fork, in European style rest the knife on the right rim of the plate and the fork, tines down, on the left side of the plate. In American style, rest the knife and fork, tines down, on the upper rim of the plate with the handles on the right side. To indicate that you are finished, place knife and fork in the center of the plate, parallel and close together.