European vs. American Dining Styles

by admin on May 15, 2009

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

LB May 18, 2009 at 8:36 pm

That is really interesting, especially the part about using your silverware to signal to the servers whether or not you are finished. I had a teacher talk to us about that when she did a day on dining etiquette when I was in junior high. Later she took us on a field trip to a nice restaurant so we could practice.

Seems like I remembered most of it correctly!

Reply

Lara February 14, 2010 at 2:08 am

I’m Australian and was always raised to dine in the European style, so using your silverware to signal when you are finished is nothing new to me. And I have to say, a lot of Australians, especially older people, consider it rude to eat in the American dining style in Australia.

Reply

geekgirl February 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Explains why, as an English girl, got very odd looks eating using the European method in America. Though it does seem to make more sense to me – the American method seems very fiddly, all that putting the knife up and down, up and down.

Reply

Jill March 19, 2010 at 1:14 am

Is the bit about where to place your cutlery at the end of a meal accurate? I live in Australia too, where the European method is used, but I have always placed my cutlery vertically in the middle of the plate when I finish eating (i.e. at six o’clock), rather than at an angle as shown in this clip. This is what others tend to do as well (at least, those with decent table manners), and is what I learned from my European parents and have seen used by other European visitors (not only family but also business associates from many other parts of Europe). I do recall an Italian family using the method from this clip though. Can anyone clarify?

I sure hope some waitstaff see this clip – far too often I have had meals interrupted by staff trying to clear the plate of someone who isn’t finished eating and has tried to signify that by placing their knife and fork apart, not to mention the times a waiter clears away the plates of those who are finished while others are still eating or brings out another course before the previous one has been eaten.

Reply

Caitlin March 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm

The America dining style seems a bit too fiddly to me! Cut food with tiles down, put knife in top corner, change hands and eat with tines up. Too fiddly.

I am also Australian and we use the European style.
Jill, I agree with you about the 6 O’Clock cutlery when you’re finished. My parents and grandparents all taught me that.

Reply

Ari May 25, 2010 at 4:04 am

I’m an American, married to an Australian and living in Australia. It was very hard at first for me to learn the European style of eating, as I was raised with the American style, but it’s true what Lara said — Lots of Australians consider it rude to eat with the American style.

My mother always raised me to have excellent table manners, so I wish I had seen a video like this prior to the first time having a formal dinner with my In-Laws! With all of my clattering around changing hands, they thought I was quite the spectacle. Particularly when I would put my hands in my lap constantly. A comment was made, and I was mortified, and spent the rest of the evening trying to mimick the way my husband was eating.

I’ve gotten proficient in it, and it is a bit easier, without all of the switching, but I have to say, when I am at home, I eat the American way. :)

Reply

Adica April 18, 2011 at 10:16 am

I guess I’ve always eaten mostly the European way, despite being an American? I think my grandmother tried to teach me the “proper” American way, but with all the changing hands, I thought, “That’s stupid,” and just kept doing it the way I’d grown up doing it. The only time I change hands is when I’m switching from something that requires a knife to something that doesn’t, which is the way I’ve seen most people do it.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: