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Using a knife and fork

(98 Posts)
Nansypansy Sun 27-Aug-23 20:35:58

Is it me? I was taught to use my knife in my right hand and fork in my left hand. I notice so many people use them the other way round. I absolutely understand if they’re left handed but there’s not that many people who are 🤷‍♀️ …. Which is correct?

25Avalon Sun 27-Aug-23 20:55:33

It started off in America I believe where just the fork was used and not the knife so you hold it in your right hand.

When MacDonalds first arrived I was quite horrified that you didn’t get a knife and fork but had to eat with your hands. DD’s thought it was hilarious that I was searching for cutlery!

kittylester Sun 27-Aug-23 21:04:38

Personally, as a left hander, I consider the traditional British way of holding cutlery is for lefthanders. If a right handed person just uses the fork, they have to swap hands.

hollysteers Sun 27-Aug-23 21:11:05

My late DH was an absolute stickler for table manners, he’d be shocked!😨
I have a close friend who eats this way, but then his table manners are atrocious. No knife and fork together at the end of the meal (a signal to the waiter you have finished), starts eating before my meal arrives, smacking lips etc etc.
Good manners are important to me, but the knife and fork wrong way round doesn’t bother me but I do wonder how they are brought up…

Blossoming Sun 27-Aug-23 21:20:57

I can’t use my left hand for eating. I can hold food in place with the fork in my left hand then cut with my knife in my right hand. If I try to use the fork in my my left hand to put the food in my mouth I am in danger of flinging the food across the room and/or stabbing myself in the eye.

Juliet27 Sun 27-Aug-23 21:23:14

Yes, I was taught that way too Nansypansy but I guess meals used to be more of the meat and two veg type where a knife was needed. I was also told not to hold like a pen. I do use just fork in my right hand for pasta or rice dishes. Never tried chopsticks.

Aveline Sun 27-Aug-23 21:25:41

Fork in left hand and knife in right. I'd be interested to know when it became common to drape cutlery off the plate with the handle on the table. Absolutely unnecessary. I assume it's an American import?

Primrose53 Sun 27-Aug-23 21:30:22

My adult son has always chosen to eat using the fork in his right hand and knife in left. He does actually use them both. He has done this forever. He is righthanded but uses his left for lots of tasks.

Deedaa Sun 27-Aug-23 21:30:58

I am beginning to find that arthritis in my left shoulder is making it very difficult to eat with a fork in my left hand so, as much as possible, I just use a fork in my right hand.

Shelflife Sun 27-Aug-23 21:36:59

I notice when eating out that many people have no idea how to use a knife and fork! Can't decide whether it matters or not?

kittylester Sun 27-Aug-23 21:40:50

If many people don't know how to do it, it can't really matter, can it. Life moves on.

Shelflife Sun 27-Aug-23 21:42:25

It does indeed kitty, I think you are correct.

VioletSky Sun 27-Aug-23 22:00:19

Knife used for cutting should be in the dominant hand with the best control

I am a tiny bit fussy about it lol

MerylStreep Sun 27-Aug-23 22:15:02

Why do people assume our way is the correct way.
I lived in a country where you you put your knife and fork resting on the plate/ table to let the staff know you you had finished.
What about some asian countries where you eat with your hands.

greenlady102 Sun 27-Aug-23 22:22:18


Knife used for cutting should be in the dominant hand with the best control

I am a tiny bit fussy about it lol


BlueBelle Sun 27-Aug-23 22:30:28

I m too interested in what I m eating myself to look round and take note of what others are doing
I ve never ever noticed how other people eat unless they happen to sit next to me

Marydoll Sun 27-Aug-23 22:34:45

At least people are using cutlery. I often had to do lunch duty and was horrified to see young children eating and scooping food with their hands. On one occasion, a child tried to eat baked beans without cutlery. He had no idea how to use it.

Many years ago, I remember watching a war film, where the American on the run from a POW camp was caught by the Gestapo, because he ate with only a fork in his right hand and no knife. It always stuck in my mind!

VioletSky Sun 27-Aug-23 22:46:50

greenlady because it is easier to cut food that way and because one of my children cut her finger with a steak knife

Mollygo Sun 27-Aug-23 23:53:39

Visiting different countries you see lots of different ways of eating. Granted, we teach our children to use cutlery either the way we were taught or the way we choose to use it, but I don’t stress over other’s use of cutlery.
My only bugbear is people licking a knife or putting food in their mouth with a knife. A guest once cut her tongue doing that and complained that our knives were too sharp. I don’t criticise my guests, but after that I never gave her a knife sharp enough to cause her injury.

grumppa Mon 28-Aug-23 00:07:23

Aveline, a few years ago we took DGCs away for a night, and at breakfast the next morning DGS would put his knife and fork down in the way you describe. Imagine his surprise when the fork kept falling off the table. How did DD ever let him do this in the first place?

biglouis Mon 28-Aug-23 00:15:28

When I worked in the USA the standard way was to use the knife and fork to cut up the food into small pieces then swap to the fork only in the right hand. So a meal with meat meant constantly using the knife and fork, swapping to fork, and so on.

It seemed such a clumsy way of eating that I stuck to my traditional way. People used to come up to me in restaurants and the uni cafeteria and say "Hey you must be English" because they thought of this as the "English" way of eating. Of course in the UK it would be consiered very rude for a complete stranger to walk up to one in a restaurant and begin a conversation. However this was Nevada and manners are very laid back. I was often tempted to say that where I come from only small children eat the way you do, but of course I never did.

I have travelled to countries where people eat with their fingers from a communal dish, although only the right hand. Using the left is a bib nono because its considered unclean. Its the hand people use to wash themselves with in the loo. Visitors are usually given a spoon or fork.

As some posters upthread have pointed out there is no ONE correct way of eating.

multicolourswapshop Mon 28-Aug-23 07:10:17

I can only use my right hand to eat with a fork and occasionally I have to swap with a knife due to a left handed stroke but it’s no hardship, food still gets to my mouth, well most of it. 🤣🤣

rosie1959 Mon 28-Aug-23 07:23:26

I always have used my right hand for the fork left for the knife even though I am right handed Don't know why buy has never ever been a problem.

Joseann Mon 28-Aug-23 07:33:17

At a school I once taught at, there was no kitchen so the children had packed lunches. One parent complained that we weren't teaching the children how to eat with a knife and fork!

BlueBelle Mon 28-Aug-23 07:36:03

Of course the knife goes in the right hand for right handed people as it’s the implement that does the work cutting the food the fork in the left hand takes it to the mouth
I can’t see why we have to copy America for everything especially if it’s not for an improvement