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Proper Use of Tableware
Forks, Knives, and Spoons

The rules that are commonly observed for the use of table silver, china, and other items of table equipment were made for convenience and ease in serving and eating food. They are usually based upon common sense, consideration for others, and general good taste.

Using the Serving Silver

If food is passed to you so that you may serve yourself, it should reach you from the left. You will find the serving spoon or fork in the dish, and you should use your right hand to help yourself to a portion of food. Use your left hand to pass the dish on to the person at your right. If butter is passed, a butter knife should be passed with it. Use the butter knife to transfer a piece of butter to your bread-and-butter plate or to your dinner plate.

Using the Napkin
Pick up the folded napkin with your left hand, and place it in your lap. If the napkin is large, leave it folded halfway. Use it during the meal to remove food or liquid from around the mouth.

Using the Table Silver

It is important that you know and practice the correct use of a knife, fork, spoon, and other special pieces of table silver.

a. the knife is used to cut pieces of food on the plate, and to spread butter or jelly on bread if there is no butter spreader. In using the knife for cutting, hold it in your right hand with the handle resting in your palm and with your thumb and last three fingers steadying it. Place your forefinger on the back of the blade as you cut. When the knife is not in use for cutting or spreading, lay it across the back of your plate with the cutting edge toward you. If you remember the rule that used silver should never touch the table, you will never rest a knife or fork on the edge of the plate in "gangplank" fashion.

b. the fork is used, with tines up, to carry all kinds of food to the mouth except those that are too soft or too watery to be lifted with a fork. It is also used to hold food in position so that the knife can cut it. In using the fork while cutting with the knife, hold it in the left hand with tines down and brace it with your forefinger at the bottom of the handle. After cutting one bite of food and laying the knife across the plate, transfer the fork to the right hand with tines up, and use it to carry the food to your mouth. For cutting the next bite, change the fork back to the left hand and pick up the knife again.

You may use the side of the fork to separate pieces of food that are not too hard to handle in this way- for instance, vegetables, cake, or pie.
Use a salad fork with tines up to carry food to the mouth. If the salad requires cutting, use the side of the salad fork, or use your table knife as you would in cutting food on the dinner plate.

c. the spoon is used for dipping soft or liquid food and carrying it to the mouth. Hold it in the right hand as you would a pencil. Take only as much food on the spoon as you will put into your mouth at one time. Eat from the side of the spoon. Between bites or when the food is eaten, place the spoon on the saucer or plate which is under the bowl or cup. Never leave it in the bowl. In eating soup, dip the bowl of the spoon into the soup away from you-not toward you.
Use your spoon only for stirring or for testing beverages. Never drink a beverage with the spoon in the cup. Remove the spoon after stirring or testing and place it on the saucer or plate under it.

d. the butter spreader is used to butter the bread. You may use your knife, but never use the butter knife that is passed with butter. When you eat bread, break off a moderate-sized piece with your fingers. Hold it on the edge of the bread-and-butter plate, and spread butter on it with the knife or butter spreader. Never hold the bread in the palm of the hand while buttering it.

Pictures of Early 1900's Silverware and Utensils

Tablespoons, silver plated and engraved.... Silver Plated Tableware... Alaska Silverware
C. Rogers & Brothers Silver Plated Tableware... Rogers Brothers 1847 Goods
Syrup Pitchers, Butter Dishes, Quadruple Plate Britannia Ware
Silverplate Casters and Salt and Pepper Shakers
Monogramed Initial Silverware
Tea and Candle Silverplated sets
Other Silverplated gifts

More Articles

1900's How to Set a Dinner Table
How to Correctly Serve Food
Basic Table Manners
Basic Use of Silverware
Basic Pantry List
How to Decorate a Cake

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