American vs European Cutlery Etiquette

american vs european cutlery etiquette

I’m left handed and in part that is the reason I eat with my cutlery in “European Style” or “Continental Style” as in the image above. I find it a much more efficient and precise manner for using for flatware.

According to the Wikipedia entry on Eating Utensil Etiquette:

“When used in conjunction with a knife to cut and consume food in Western social settings, two forms of fork etiquette are common. In the European style, the diner keeps the fork in his or her left hand, while in the American style the fork is shifted between the left and right hands. The American style is most common in the United States. But the European style is considered proper in other countries.

Originally, the traditional European method, once the fork was adopted as a utensil, was to transfer the fork to the right hand after cutting food, as it had been considered proper for all utensils to be used with the right hand only. This tradition was brought to America by British colonists and is still in use in the United States. Europe adopted the more rapid style of eating in relatively modern times.”

The reasons for the cultural difference has always alluded me. This article at AZ Central has many different theories about how this came to be.

 

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