Basic Table Setting Etiquette

Acceptable eating styles vary from continent to continent. But regardless of location, the only proper way to cut and eat one’s food is to hold the knife and fork in a relaxed, natural manner, never with a forced fists spearing food like a mad hunter.

  • When seated, unfold the napkin and place across your lap.
  • If bread rolls are served, break the bread between your fingers rather than cut it.
  • Do not slather butter on both sides of the roll, tear small pieces of bread and butter individually.
  • In American society, it is perfectly acceptable to cut one’s food using a knife and fork as usual and then to transfer the fork to the right hand to then “spear” it before eating.
  • The golden rule is always work from the outside in for your cutlery and tableware.  Use the outside knife and fork for the first course, and them simply work inwards for each course.
  • Knives are always to your right and forks are always to your left.
  • Dessert cutlery will always be at the top of the place setting with fork facing right and the spoon positioned above this with bowl facing left.  (see above..compliments of CG)



About Poisematters

Lori is a recognized Protocol and Etiquette expert who received her training in 1997 from The Protocol School of Washington. Lori is certified and trained in International and Corporate Protocol and Etiquette instruction. Lori began her career with the Disneyland Resort in 1975 and has over 40 years of service with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. In 2001, Lori Dominguez received the Orange County Tourism Council's Service Excellence award in the area of accommodations (Hotels). Lori continues teaching workshops on Protocol & Etiquette to local schools in Southern California including Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach and Cal Poly Pomona and Chapman University. She enjoys Fashion, blogging, being a dog mom, loves social media and travel. Her family includes two grown sons; a husband who is a high school biology teacher; and one very spoiled Bernese Mountain Dog.
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