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Eating With Only A Fork ....  
User currently offlineCxsjr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2757 times:

I've just spent three weeks in various parts of the US and visited a number of restaurants and eateries.

I noticed that, more than ever since my last visit, most of who I assume were Americans, seem only to use a fork to eat. When something needs cutting, the fork gets passed from right hand to left hand, pick up the knife with the right hand, hold the fork like a dagger whilst cutting the food then put the knife down and pass the fork back to the right hand to eat.

It looks very awkward, not to mention unsightly and would probably be considered bad-mannered in most developed countries - whatever happened to eating the easy way, with a knife and fork?

I know I'll get flamed for this one, and I really don't mean to be rude, but I really never went anywhere else in the civilised world where the eating habits were so bad.

68 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8766 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2754 times:

Weighing in on this, I always have the fork in my right hand and the knife in the left. I don't think I'd manage cutting things with the knife in my right hand. Is that bad-mannered, too?  Wink


Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineCxsjr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2748 times:

Quoting Aloges (Reply 1):
Is that bad-mannered, too?

Depends whether you use your fork like a garden shovel?  wink 


User currently offlineSATX From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2840 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2748 times:

Many of the restaurants in San Antonio don't even give you a knife (or spoon) unless you ask for it. You're just expected to cut with the fork as best you can. You'd probably love it here.  Big grin

Anyway, I actually agree that it's best to eat with both a knife and fork and keep one in each hand without changing hands. I have no idea how this got started, but I'm pretty sure there is a page that explains it somewhere.



Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2745 times:

You RARELY see an American eat with a knife in one hand and a fork in the other. A knife is rarely used as a "shovel" to push food onto the fork, as is the typical British method. If the food is too "hard" to cut with the edge of the fork, then the knife will be reluctantly pressed into action...quite clumsily, at that.

One thing I notice is that the British don't use a spoon very often. Whenever I'm in the UK, I ALWAYS have to ask for one and usually get a strange look.

Mark

[Edited 2006-05-14 02:56:46]

User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2735 times:

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 4):
One thing I notice is that the British don't use a spoon very often. Whenever I'm in the UK, I ALWAYS have to ask for one and usually get a strange look.

I'm guessing from your comment that you perhaps use a spoon for certain courses outside traditional spoon territory (soup, dessert)?

What were you eating when you asked for said spoon and received said strange looks?

What I find strange about Americans is their insistance on cutting up their children's food for them. This is quite strange in the rest of the world. Whether it was steak, chicken, or lamb etc - I was always left to fend for myself, fork in my left hand, knife in my right.

Why do Americans assume their children cannot cut up their own food?

QFF


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2732 times:

Quoting Cxsjr (Thread starter):
When something needs cutting, the fork gets passed from right hand to left hand, pick up the knife with the right hand, hold the fork like a dagger whilst cutting the food then put the knife down and pass the fork back to the right hand to eat.

That is the accepted way to use a knife and fork in the U.S. If you need to push something onto the fork, you're supposed to use a piece of bread.

If I were to have used a knife and fork the continental way as a child, I would have had my hands slapped. It's quite odd for us to see how others use a knife and fork too, but as Americans travel more, the continental style of eating is becoming more accepted in places.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineSenorcarnival From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2724 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 6):
That is the accepted way to use a knife and fork in the U.S. If you need to push something onto the fork, you're supposed to use a piece of bread.

I've also seen in a multitude of occasions people using a finger to push food onto their fork.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2723 times:

Quoting Senorcarnival (Reply 7):
I've also seen in a multitude of occasions people using a finger to push food onto their fork.

A sure sign of an individual lacking manners and good breeding.  Wink



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineDuff44 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1723 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2722 times:

My technique is bizarre:

If I'm only holding a fork, it will be in my right hand

If it's a fork and knife, the fork's in my left and the knife in my right

The thing is, I do not switch between the two. If I start one way, I stay like that unless necessity dictates otherwise.

But I CANNOT use a fork in my left unless I'm holding the knife in my right, and I cannot switch the fork and knife if holding both.

Quoting Cxsjr (Thread starter):
I noticed that, more than ever since my last visit, most of who I assume were Americans, seem only to use a fork to eat.

Being American, I can say we occasionally use less than that  Big grin

Mmmmm.... barbecued ribs  yes 



I'll rassle ya for a bowl of bacon!
User currently offlineElton From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2716 times:

I was taught the proper way to use a knife for cutting was to switch hands as described, and then return the utensils to their home positions before eating again.

Being "left-handed" it really threw me growing up...

Elton


User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2708 times:

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 5):
What were you eating when you asked for said spoon and received said strange looks?

Peas, cubed carrots, corn, baked beans, mashed potatoes, etc. There's a bit of logic involved. If a spoon will hold a type of food better than a fork, I'll use a spoon.

Mark


User currently offlineIAH777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 0 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2696 times:

I wonder why every Brit I've seen eat pizza does so with a knife and fork. Not making a generalization, just an observation.

User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2683 times:

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 11):
Peas, cubed carrots, corn, baked beans, mashed potatoes, etc. There's a bit of logic involved. If a spoon will hold a type of food better than a fork, I'll use a spoon.

You see - that does make sense logically, but I still find it strange.

QFF


User currently offlineAeri28 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 709 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2677 times:

Get a spork. Problem half solved.

User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2666 times:

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 13):
You see - that does make sense logically, but I still find it strange

I sorta see it like this. I have a ton of pebbles to haul to the next town. Is it better to transport them in a dump (tipper) truck? Or a flatbed truck?  Wink

Mark


User currently offlineATCT From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2349 posts, RR: 38
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2652 times:

Quoting Elton (Reply 10):
I was taught the proper way to use a knife for cutting was to switch hands as described, and then return the utensils to their home positions before eating again.

This is the proper way to cut/eat food. Take a class in etiquette and you'll learn this. Actually a cool class I admit!!!


ATCT



"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney
User currently offlineTLG From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 379 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2646 times:

Quoting Cxsjr (Thread starter):
When something needs cutting, the fork gets passed from right hand to left hand, pick up the knife with the right hand, hold the fork like a dagger whilst cutting the food then put the knife down and pass the fork back to the right hand to eat.

From what I've observed, the European method (and maybe other parts of the world; I don't know) is to hold the fork in the left hand. Americans use the right hand, unless they're left-handed. Why would you use the hand that isn't dominant? Right-handed people don't write, throw, or do other things like that with their left hand, so why use it to eat?

-TLG


User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2640 times:

Brits have had to protect their fair isle from invading hordes for ages. Only by 'In' mannerisms have they managed to out aliens in their midst who might otherwise pass for an insider. Having progressed from the simple 'Hark, who goes there' IFF they now have a battery of tests for foreigners. If you are spotted, they will point at you and shriek. Here are some tips to help you out:

1. Eat only with a fork and you die.
2. Ditto for using a spoon with spaghetti.
3. Don't clench the knife in your palm as if you're about to stab the meat.
3. You may think they say "Cheers" after every sentence, but be careful with this one.
4. Don't wear a raincoat unless its raining - easiest way to spot an American.
5. Think you're cool? You obviously haven't balanced peas on your fork...
6. Rainy weather means no need to shower everyday.
7. White shirt with your suit? You just got off the United flight from Chicago.
8. Tons of mayo on your sandwich, please - it's the other white meat.
9. Lose the Kleenex - get a cotton hanky and blow your nose in it frequently..
10. It's 'Tems', not 'Thames', 'Gloster', not 'Glue-cester'. 'Jam', not 'Jelly'.
11. Going to P.S.123 in Far Rockaway is not the same as going to Public School in the UK.

Give up and turn yourself in. It's just not worth it....


User currently offlineQANTASforever From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2619 times:

Quoting ATCT (Reply 16):
This is the proper way to cut/eat food.

What?!?!

What rubbish.

The proper way to eat food is with the knife in your right hand, fork in your left hand (spikes pointed down), you cut the food with the knife while holding it in place with the fork. You then push the food onto the fork and move it toward your mouth (spikes again pointed down). NEVER should the fork have the spikes pointed up.

The next argument: how to position the cutlery while pausing between bites.

QFF


User currently offlineTrident3 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 1013 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2616 times:

Doesn't it date back to the early settlers who would probably have had only one knife between the whole family so would have had to pass it round the table. The correct way to pass a knife to someone else being to place it down for them to pick up not to place it in their hands.

There is a story (urban legend perhaps) of escaped American POWs in WWII being captured because they were spotted constantly picking up and putting down their knives, not some thing your average european would do.



"We are the warrior race-Tough men in the toughest sport." Brian Noble, Head Coach, Great Britain Rugby League.
User currently offlineJBLUA320 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 3180 posts, RR: 19
Reply 21, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2616 times:
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Quoting Elton (Reply 10):
Being "left-handed" it really threw me growing up...

BINGO! Being a lefty can complicate everything!!

JBLU


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8466 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2600 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting Duff44 (Reply 9):
My technique is bizarre:

If I'm only holding a fork, it will be in my right hand

If it's a fork and knife, the fork's in my left and the knife in my right

Nothing wrong with that, it's exactly how I do it and have since I could eat without my mother's assistance.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineOzGuy From Australia, joined Apr 2005, 392 posts, RR: 13
Reply 23, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2588 times:

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 5):
Why do Americans assume their children cannot cut up their own food?

How old are we talking?

One of mum's friends cut a steak up for her four year old while we were out the other night, which is fine with me, but then the next night I saw a kid who must've been eight (at least) playing his gameboy at a restaurant while his mother cut his cordon bleu into little pieces for him so he could eat with only a fork - which he proceeded to do whilst using the other hand for the gameboy. I don't get why people would let their kids get away with that.

Quoting QANTASforever (Reply 19):
The proper way to eat food is with the knife in your right hand, fork in your left hand (spikes pointed down), you cut the food with the knife while holding it in place with the fork. You then push the food onto the fork and move it toward your mouth (spikes again pointed down). NEVER should the fork have the spikes pointed up.

 thumbsup  That's the way I was taught


User currently offlineManuCH From Switzerland, joined Jun 2005, 3012 posts, RR: 46
Reply 24, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 2581 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

If there's something to eat with both fork and knife (ie. something to cut), I hold the fork in my left hand and the knife in my right hand.

If OTOH there's something where a knife isn't needed, I hold the fork in my right hand. If then something unexpected to cut comes up, I switch the fork to the left hand and cut with my right...

I am somehow unable to hold *only* the fork in my left hand and eat like that. But I'm also not sure what's supposed to be the right way of doing it...

-Manuel



Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
25 ZKSUJ : Well, I must be pretty uncivilized then.
26 Post contains images Aero145 : I've seen people using only fork (in the right hand) while eating. I find it strange, and when I try it, I can't usually do it very well. When I'm in
27 Post contains images Aloges : That's not wrong! Or else I'd be doing it wrong, too... however I don't need much elbow space. When I'm done cutting meat, I'll stick the fork in it
28 Post contains images Aero145 : I know that, mate. That's why I did "'wrong'". Why?
29 AeroWesty : What rubbish. The proper way to eat food is to balance two sticks in your right hand and ... See how silly that makes what you said? Every culture ha
30 JGPH1A : Except for peas. There is a specific Culinary Fatwah Ordinance (#17887-A456-14 para 2 subsection B (ii) as amended) exempting peas from the "fork poi
31 Aloges : In the days before antirust steel, knife blades used to be made of regular steel anyway since the silver used for the handle and for the fork wouldn'
32 KFLLCFII : If you don't like it, don't look. I'll take a personal quote from the "Why Do Americans Dress So Badly" thread: Who are we trying to impress, and why
33 Dc10s4ever : Midevil Times Restaurant has no forks or knives...use your fingers.!
34 Post contains images JGPH1A : Tsk tsk - historically inaccurate ! In mediaeval times, almost everyone used a knife and a spoon to eat. Forks however were virtually unknown in Euro
35 Scbriml : I eat my peas with honey. I've done it all my life. It makes the peas taste funny, But it keeps them on the knife. Spike Milligan (I think).
36 Kalakaua : IIRC, f you're served peas or corn, there should be a side of mashed potatoes, or something along the line, to adhere to your fork, so that your peas
37 Kalakaua : I do find etiquette interesting and irritating at the same time. Interesting in that it's the whole part of the degustation experience, however, irrit
38 CastleIsland : Everyone knows that you eat peas off a knife that is heavily coated with mashed potatoes.
39 JGPH1A : That may be the case in the noisome sewer you choose to infest, but the Culinary Fatwahs about eating food off a knife are very strict ! Thou Shalt N
40 Post contains images Airdolomiti : I always hold the fork in my left hand and the knife in my right hand; if there is no need for a knife, I still hold the fork with my left as I'm (pre
41 BA757 : Funny you mention this. I thought it was strange eating a pizza with a knife and fork - I never really did this until I moved here (Italy). Back in t
42 Post contains images Fumanchewd : I've noticed this myself and have "re-educated" myself to cut with my left hand during my teenage years. At first my teenage years were filled with so
43 Daleaholic : I Absolutely hate seeing people eat like this, and people eating with their mouths open often makes me angry.
44 Levent : Here in Thailand, when eating Thai food, you will generally be provided with only a spoon, or a spoon and a knife. A fork is available upon request. T
45 Post contains images DeltaGator : So what is it there Chief? You say we only eat with a fork but then go into a discourse on how we switch hands and use the knife. Get your story stra
46 Kingsford : I agree that one should respect each other's culture and habits. I admit that I was somehow grossed out when I used to see how americans only use thei
47 Post contains images HAWK21M : Ever Eaten Idli sambar with Two Spoons regds MEL
48 QANTASforever : Next time you eat at McDonalds, remember to use only a fork, and perhaps a spoon for the McNuggets, as my American friend above would no doubt advoca
49 DeltaGator : Are you talking about some lazy ass hillbilly who puts their elbows on the table and holds their chin up with their fist? If so we aren't all lazy as
50 Post contains images Comorin : Deltagator, On another note, have you ever eaten alligator meat? If so, what's it like?
51 DeltaGator : Yes, I've eaten Gator. Like so many other things it tastes like chicken but perhaps a bit tougher. I'd say it is greasier but that usually has to do w
52 S12PPL : I only use a knife on meat, generally. My dad, however.....He uses a fork for everything but steak. It anoys the shit outa me, cuz he sits there with
53 Post contains images Texan : It is also interesting to see how forks and knives are used by left handed people and right handed people in Ameirca: For people who typically hold a
54 BigOrange : Being British I was taught to eat with a knife and fork. However as most of the time I don't sit at a table to eat, when I am at home I just use a for
55 Goldenshield : This is becuase all the utensils are placed on the RIGHT side of the plate, due to the domineering hatred of right-handed people. If we were to move
56 Vivek0072 : oh, you guys got to visit India, especially the suburbs, everyone eats with their hands and if you have been brought up eating with your hands you wil
57 Comorin : Thanks for responding. BTW, I'm glad one of us has eaten one of them for a change; the news out of Florida these days is somewhat alarming... I bet t
58 DeltaGator : News media hysterics in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Nope, their thought process is... 1) Is it fluffy? 2) Can I catch it? 3) Who cares? I'll try anyways. 4) Lun
59 Post contains images Comorin : No that is a new one, and I have lived in MAA. All Southey food must be eaten with fingers to taste right! I'll keep your life-saving tips in mind ne
60 DeltaGator : Judge? What the hell am I even typing tonight? I meant don't JOG by ponds. One other rule...if you hear deep grunting from within the bushes it is us
61 AirWillie6475 : I'm an American. Fork always stays on my left hand and knife always stays on my right hand. If nothing needs cutting I just use my right hand to hold
62 ClipperHawaii : Hold on to your forks with the real reason behind this. Up until the Revolutionary war, Americans used the fork in one hand method. It was changed to
63 ANCFlyer : Damn near the only post in this whole thread worth a hoot . . . well done Frenchie. . . . Fork: Right hand unless knife is required. Then Knife: Righ
64 Post contains images NWA742 : That's weird to me. I'm left handed, use a fork with the left hand, use a knife with the right if I need one. Weird Alaskans. Speaking of Alaska, I'v
65 Post contains images ANCFlyer : Alaska is big, remember, in the southeast parts of the state, Juneau, Ketchikan,etc, they'll get dark even in summer. In Anchorage, in a month or so,
66 Post contains images USAFHummer : I guess at the MAN meet, as the lone American attendee, my eating habits will be closely studied as if I was some kind of museum exhibit Greg
67 NWA742 : Well I came across a show the other day about Alaskan cruises, and they mentioned some areas being dark 24 hours a day for half a year, and light 24
68 LO231 : And photographed! Regards, LO231
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