How to use your silverware and dinnerware

In many formal dinning situations in Dhaka, there is confusion regarding what belongs to whom. Often one finds his/her glasses are occupied by the neighbors, or the chicken claimed by the next person. This happens because very few are taught formal dinner etiquettes.

While it may be possible to survive locally, it becomes a source of major embarrassment when travelling abroad.

Therefore, it is not enough to be only well-dressed, it’s equally, if not more, important to know the social etiquettes.

Many of the blog’s readers will already know these “rules” and these posts are not targeted at them. These etiquette posts are for those young professionals that aspire to be familiar with the western etiquettes.

Use the silverware farthest from your plate first.

Here’s the Silverware and dinnerware rule:  Eat to your left, drink to your right. Any food dish to the left is yours, and any glass to the right is yours.

Starting with the knife, fork, or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in, using one utensil for each course. The salad fork is on your outermost left, followed by your dinner fork. Your soup spoon is on your outermost right, followed by your beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. Your dessert spoon and fork are above your plate or brought out with dessert. If you remember the rule to work from the outside in, you’ll be fine. 

Use one of two methods when using the fork and knife:

American Style:  Knife in right hand, fork in left hand holding food. After a few bite-sized pieces of food are cut, place knife on edge of plate with blades facing in. Eat food by switching fork to right hand (unless you are left handed). A left hand, arm or elbow on the table is bad manners.

Continental/European Style:  Knife in right hand, fork in left hand. Eat food with fork still in left hand. The difference is that you don’t switch hands-you eat with your fork in your left hand, with the prongs curving downward. Both utensils are kept in your hands with the tines pointed down throughout the entire eating process. If you take a drink, you do not just put your knife down, you put both utensils down into the resting position: cross the fork over the knife.

Asian Style: In Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, India where rice based food are the main food, it is appropriate to eat with the spoon in the right hand and fork in the left hand.

Once used, your utensils (including the handles), must not touch the table again. Always rest forks, knives, and spoons on the side of your plate.

For more formal dinners, from course to course, your tableware will be taken away and replaced as needed. To signal that your are done with the course, rest your fork, tines up, and knife blade in, with the handles resting at five o’clock an tips pointing to ten o’clock on your plate.

Any unused silverware is simply left on the table.

I would suggest that you see the following YouTube videos:

How to use a Napkin

How to eat soup

How to eat salad

How to eat the main course

How to use a finger bowl

Dessert and coffee

The glass ware

Bread

Source: United States Etiquette Guide

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