How To Use Cutlery Properly

Knowing how to properly use cutlery gives you confidence when having formal dinners. You will know which utensil to use for which food and how to hold each utensil in a safe, non-threatening way. Cutlery etiquette is not as complicated as it seems. Let this article guide you.

  • Use cutlery following the placement order. Cutlery is arranged in such a way that the pieces placed farthest from your plate should be used first. Usually, the soup comes first, so the farthest spoon is the appropriate to use. Then the cutlery that sits next should be used when the next course arrives. Follow the order of the cutlery until the last course.
  • Avoid overfilling the soup spoon. Generally, the soup spoon should only be around ¾ full. Gently put the spoon into the soup, its bowl facing away from you, and slide it outward to fill. If the soup happens to touch the bottom of the bowl, make sure not to make a clanging noise. Put the spoon into your mouth. The soup might be hot, so make sure to slowly sip.  
  • Cut the food with a knife. The knives are located on the right side of the plate. Get the appropriate knife, which should be farthest from your plate. Match it with the farthest fork. Grip the fork with your left hand and use it to keep the food in place, while the knife in the right hand cuts the food in a gentle saw-like motion. After making a bite-sized cut, bring the knife to the plate and put the fork, still in the left hand, into your mouth. Alternatively, you can put the fork in the right hand and use it to bring the food into your mouth, although that’s generally inconvenient because you have to switch hands in between cutting.
  • Use a bread knife to put butter on the bread. The bread knife is usually in the bread basket. It is not supposed to be used in slicing the bread but is used for buttering. So begin by tearing the bread apart. Get the bread knife and use it to get some butter from the butter dish. Put the butter on your plate. Every time you need to butter, rip a small portion of bread and spread butter with your bread knife.  
  • Hold the spoon with the right hand. The spoon is positioned on the right side and is held either with the right hand (if you are right-handed) or left (if you are left-handed). Put it onto the plate and turn it so that bowl is facing you. Push the matching fork toward the spoon to help fill the spoon with food. Lift the spoon into your mouth and eat.
  • Place the used cutlery on the plate after eating. The cutlery should be placed horizontally on the plate. The knife and fork, for example, should be placed in a parallel position, with the knife blade facing in and the fork tines pointing upwards. You can also position them diagonally.

Remember not to put the cutlery, whether used or being used, on the table to avoid staining the tablecloth. If the cutlery is on the plate, make sure the handle doesn’t come in contact with the table.


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