Just learned that I've been putting the forks of my flatware in the wrong position all these years.
We were setting the table for 100+ diners and one of the gals who used to work in a high school cafeteria said that the salad fork is supposed to go next to the plate and the dinner fork outside of the salad fork.
There were about 6 of us who disagreed with her. When I got home, I looked it up in my 55-yr-old Good Housekeeping cookbook that my mother gave me as one of my shower gifts and there it was, the salad fork was next to the dinner plate, just like she said.
Am I the only one here who didn't know this?
I was always told that when you dine, the outside fork was the salad fork, cuz you ate that first and worked toward the inside with the utensils. If I could find my trusty Emily Post I would look it up. Maybe later.
Nope, didn't know that and have to say I respectfully disagree (and don't care what the so-called "experts" say)
I was always taught that the placement was determined by the order it is to be used so, here in the USA, the salad fork would be outside the dinner fork. HOWEVER, just had a thought... in France, the salad course is served after the main entree in many restaurants so, in that case, the salad fork would be closer to the plate!
Just looked at a couple etiquette books online and they all say salad fork on the outside. My good housekeeping cookbook from 1964 also says the same.
I just looked at the copyright date of my GH cookbook and it's 1957. That's strange!
I googled the question and found they agreed with the salad fork placement on the outside.
You use utensils from the outside in -- so placement of salad fork depends on when the salad is served. If it is served before the entree, then it's on the outside -- if it's served after, then it's on the inside.
And of course, in Europe, they turn their cutlery "upside down" (not sure of the reason) and often dessert cutlery is placed above the dinner plate -- both a fork and a spoon.
View my blog:
And don't forget the humble oyster fork placement.
I was sure your question was going to be "does the fork go on the left or right of the dinner plate!" Had this argument many times. Saturday I had two friends helping me set the church dining room for a 200 guest funeral luncheon. The only utensil we needed to offer was the fork. With the heat and no A/C the ceiling fans were going full blast.
Napkins placed to the left of where the plate will go after the buffet line.
The gals started to put fork on napkin to the right. It was a bit of a tussle to explain why I was correct. "The forks always go to the left, next to or under the napkin. Whatever you did at home was fine, but I don't have two major author etiquette books for nothing."
However, you & your cohorts were both correct about the salad fork. In my home we eat salad French style (which actually aids digestion) so the salad fork is next to the plate. But most Americans dine differently, eating salad before the entree.
Try enjoying a small lightly dressed vinaigrette salad after your entree sometime, see if you notice a difference.
Dinner flatware is to be placed & used from the outside in, according to the order of the courses. Forks to left of plate, knives and spoons to the right, dessert flatware can be place above the plate (which I often do to prevent confusion for my guests.) For formal dinners there might be as many as 7 or more pieces needed. Older sets of silverware came with 10 -12 piece place settings, unfortunately not the practice any longer.
Husband wants the fork to the right. I told him and told him - on the left. Once SIL set my table - he told her the forks were on the wrong side. She responded that everyone in the civilized world knows that forks go on the left. LOL End of discussion.
Very interesting about the salad fork and the order of serving. I'll remember that and "get" him again. This message has been edited. Last edited by: KeepYouInStitches,
Does this hat make my butt look big?
We were taught Fork/left(both have 4 letters) Knife,spoon/right(both have 5 lettrs)
I've always placed the salad fork on the outside.
I've enjoyed reading everyone's responses - fun topic!
Just a comment about the placement of the forks - yes, ALL forks go on the left except special- function ones like those for appetizers or dessert! I think the reason it seems funny to consider the salad fork closer to the plate than the dinner fork here in the USA is the SIZE of the forks. It looks unbalanced to put forks of differing size in an odd order which I think is one of the reasons most people are saying the salad fork goes outside the dinner fork - the look of the place setting does add (or take away) from the over-all presentation so I had to think back...
You know what? In places like France and such where the salad is served after the main entree (and, btw, I agree that practice does makes sense re the digestion issue, Lurah), those salad forks are not the "squatty" short forks like we have here but rather long, slim ones that look great next to the knife!
Great question, CA! Glad to see so many interesting responses!
PS. Hope you feel vindicated that YOU were right but, more than that, hope the Dinner was a success!
I too believe the salad fork goes on the outside of the dinner fork vs. next to the plate. The idea is that you use the outermost flatware and work your way inward. BTW, did you know that the knife blade faces the plate?
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