You’ve been holding – and using – a fork all wrong.
But luckily, etiquette expert William Hanson has made two now-viral TikTok videos in which he gives masterclasses in fork handling. These lessons are a cut above the rest.
William reveals in one clip that the correct way to hold a fork is to grasp it in your non-dominant hand, with your index finger extended down the fork, ‘stopping just short of the bridge’.
He adds: ‘Make sure you keep the handle tucked into the palm of your hand and not sticking out. And that’s how to hold a fork.’
In a separate video, William underscores that one of the ‘biggest no-no’s in British dining etiquette is turning over your fork to eat’. In other words, scooping food up with the tines facing upwards and using the fork like a spoon.
You’ve been holding – and using – a fork all wrong. But luckily, etiquette expert William Hanson (above) has made two now-viral TikTok videos in which he gives a masterclass in fork handling
Cut above the rest: William reveals that the correct way to hold a fork is to grasp it in your non-dominant hand, with your index finger extended down the fork. He adds: ‘Make sure you keep the handle tucked into the palm of your hand’
William says: ‘Always have the tines of the fork pointing downwards when using a knife.’
Are there any foods where it’s acceptable to eat with the tines of the fork facing upwards? Peas, for example?
William told MailOnline Travel by email: ‘In British dining, the fork is only turned upwards when holding it in the dominant hand, with the knife left behind on the table. Foods such as pasta, risotto, curries and cottage/shepherd’s pie can be eaten like this. It’s totally acceptable in informal dining. Although often using a knife as well is a lot easier for pretty much everything as it gives you extra purchase on the food and keeps it from dropping or splashing.
‘Peas are eaten by spearing them on to the tines of the fork, using the back of the knife to help push.’
Always have the tines of the fork pointing downwards when using a knife, says William
Help! I Sexted My Boss by William Hanson and Jordan North is out now
William said that the British fork convention comes from ‘habit over time’, adding that in America, it’s yet to catch on.
He said: ‘In America, they have a different eating style, which they call “Zig Zag”. This is where they start holding the knife and fork in the conventional way, cut a chunk of food, then rest the knife on the upper right part of the plate, turn the fork over and switch it to the right hand, then stab the piece they’ve just cut, and then eat. Then they switch the fork back into the left hand, tines down, pick up the knife again and repeat. Exhausting.’
Food for thought for America.
And when the meal is finished, how should one leave the knife and fork on the plate?
William said: ‘When you are finished, the key is that the cutlery goes together, which tells waiters you have finished and are ready for the plate to be cleared once everyone else has finished, too.
‘In Britain, the correct angle is – imagining the cutlery as the hands of a clock – 6.30pm. In the U.S, it’s more 4.20pm. Some European countries do it at 3.15. I am not too fussed on the angle, so long as the cutlery does get placed together – that’s all the staff are looking for.’
Help! I Sexted My Boss by William Hanson and Jordan North is out now (£20/CAN $42.95), published by Penguin Random House. For more from Mr Hanson visit his TikTok and Instagram profiles.