EUROPEAN TABLE ETIQUETTE
Proper European table etiquette requires training and practice. Americans who attempt to emulate their continental cousins often do so without success. Few can handle the intricacies of holding the fork upside down in the left hand with the forefinger extended towards the tine, and the knife placed in anticipation in the right hand. The unfortunate results are knives and forks waving in opposite directions as the person attempts to eat, losing concentration while attempting to engage in conversation at the same time.
The well bred European holds his knife stationary just above but not touching that which has just been cut, while the fork is utilized in the upside down position to bring each bite to the mouth. In-between cutting, the fork and knife both remain suspended without motion. When it is necessary to put them down ( in order to drink wine), they are placed side by side on the plate. Although some Europeans rest the handle of the knife and fork on the table with the tine and cutting edge on the plate, this is not proper. The fork is turned around only to eat rice and potatoes and small vegetables such as peas, which may be pushed onto it with the knife. It is acceptable to break small pieces of bread with the hands before utilizing the knife and fork as before to soak up excess gravy. When the plate is empty, (Europeans do not A fashionably @ leave food to be discarded) the fork and knife are placed together across its center.
The dessert spoon and fork face each other above the plate to be used together for desserts that contain sauce or small pieces of fruit. When fresh fruit is served, a small plate accompanied by a fruit knife and fork are exchanged for the dessert plate. Deftly holding the fork as before, the apple/pear, etc. are stood straight up and peeled from top to bottom without being touched by the hands. When the entire fruit has been peeled, it is sliced and eaten one piece at a time. It takes years of practice to accomplish the art of removing the peel without cutting into the flesh of the fruit or shooting it across the table.