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Correct placement of cutlery while dining

This week we continue our learning  process of how to practice correct table etiquette by learning about the correct placement of cutlery while dining.

Rest your knife and fork on your plate in the shape of an upside down V in between eating. They shouldn’t hang over the plate and touch the table cloth. This looks sloppy. Rest your hands in your lap while chewing.

Bread rolls and butter

  • Never cut a bread roll with your knife. Always break a bread roll into bite sized pieces.
  • Butter one piece at a time and eat it before buttering the next piece on your plate.


Sliced bread and toast

  • Use the butter knife provided, or if there isn’t one, use your own butter knife to take some butter and place it to the side of your side plate
  • .Use some butter from your plate and spread it on the piece you are going to eat, not on the whole slice.


The fish knife and fish fork

  • Use this cutely differently than the cutlery for the main course. Hold the fork in the same way, but hold the knife like a pencil. A fish knife is smaller than other knives and has a broader blunt blade. Fish dishes are eaten with a fish knife and fork at formal dinners.
  • Separate the fish into bite sized portions by sliding the blade into the segment. Remove the skin and bring the portion to your mouth with the fork.
  • A fish fillet is eaten from left to right and the bones and skin are placed on the right hand side of the plate. Never place these on your side plate, as it is meant for bread or for cheese served at the end of the meal. (The guest sitting next to you also doesn’t want to see the bones and skin!)


How to squeeze lemon juice on to your fish

  • Hold the lemon slice with the flesh pointing downwards and press your knife into with the prongs into the fruit.
  • Press slightly as you don’t want to splatter juice over the tablecloth or guests!

If a sauce is placed in a container, move the container next to your plate and spread the sauce onto your fish before bringing it to your mouth with your fork.


A word of advice

  • If you think your fish may have some bones, place only a very small portion on your fork. This will enable you to remove bones easily. If a bone lands in your mouth, remove it with your hand placed over your mouth and place it on your plate. ( never on the side plate)
  • Immediately eat a piece of bread if a bone gets stuck in your throat. If this does not help, using the Heimlich manoeuvre could save a life!

When ordering fish at a restaurant, you could ask to have you fish filleted in the kitchen.


Other sea food

Use a cocktail fork when oysters are served as a starter. Place this fork at an angle on the soup spoon.  If this fork is not available, a small fork will be provided.

Spread caviar on a small piece of toast before eating it. If there is a whole slice of toast, first cut the slice into narrow strips.

“Being civilized costs nothing and can buy everything.”

-Lady Mary Worthey Montagu.

Remember to celebrate life- we will continue next time.

Anne Dreyer

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With her warm personality and tangible style, she infects her audiences as she trains and inspires them from her personal life experience as a successful business woman, and entrepreneur.

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