I’ve been invited to a fancy dinner party with my fiance, and I have no idea where to begin when it comes to picking the right cutlery. HEEEEELP!
— Confounded in Scranton, NJ
Even the most worldly and elegant epicurean can be overwhelmed in a formal dining situation. So let’s start with an easily digestible primer of some of the things everyone needs to know. Beginning with the two basics:
Now, imagine you sit down to a meal in a fine American restaurant for a four-course meal.
One look at the table setting and your heart might begin to pound. But don’t freak. With a little help, it’s actually easy to know how the meal will progress and how you should behave.
You’ve probably heard the general rule of thumb: Start from the outside — but there can be more to it than that. For example, say you have a fork on the left and a knife and the spoon on the right. If all goes as planned, this is a good indication of where the meal will start: On the far right with the spoon. The side with the most cutlery goes first.
If the setting has an equal amount of cutlery on both sides, both the outside utensils go first.
The Four-course meal