Thank you Barbara Hamm Lee, Another View Radio 89.5 WHRV-FM, for allowing the two of us to talk with you today on our favorite topic Which Fork Do I Use? We spent an hour answering great questions from Barbara and her interested callers in the Norfolk, VA area.
Because neither of us came from families that had correct dining etiquette, our goal continues to be to share our knowledge with others. We want everyone to have a better understanding of the basics of setting the table, serving the meal, and the multitude of dining dos and don’ts.
Let’s just chat about forks, the SALAD FORK, to be specific.
When you purchase a 5-piece place setting of flatware, it will contain two forks – a longer tined dinner fork and a shorter fork used for salads or dessert (think cake).
- Forks are always placed on the left side of the place setting. Always. Well, almost always. There is the occasion when you are serving a seafood cocktail and that little, itty-bitty cocktail fork may be set with the tines resting inside the bowl of the soup spoon. (And you know the soup spoon goes on the right side of the place setting. Of course you do.) Oh, and then there is the occasion when you are pre-setting the dessert service above the dinner plate – then the fork sits closest to the top of the dinner plate with the handle pointing to the left. Maybe it would just be easier to explain if you bought the book. It shows all of this with little pointy lines directing you so you don’t get confused.
- Place the forks in the order they will be used. If you are having salad as a separate course, meaning it is served on a salad plate and served before the main course, you will set the salad fork on the outside of the dinner fork. Meaning the dinner fork is closest to the dinner plate.
- Perhaps you are choosing to dine Continental (European) style. Your salad will be served AFTER the main course, then the dinner fork will be placed furthest from the dinner plate with the salad fork closest to the dinner plate.
- And if you are having a salad on the same plate as your main meal, you can just leave that salad fork in the kitchen drawer. Or, bring it out after dinner for that piece of chocolate cake.
“Which Fork Do I Use?” Flatware reference page 61