We Americans are rude. Not rude in the French "I stick my nose up at you" way nor rude in the Chinese "push push push through the crowds" way but in the "I have no idea what etiquette is" way.
When dining at a fancy restaurant, do the multiple utensils at the table scare the heck out of you? Why would you need three knives for one meal? Fear not, Glion has provided me with a crash course in etiquette and now I will translate these tips onto you so that you will never have to look like an uncouth caveman at the table again!
1. Outside In
You will be able to tell how many course a meal is by the amount of utensils on the table. A three course meal usually entails appetizer, entree and dessert and the table should be set with two knives and forks (one for appetizer, one for entree) and a spoon. Always start by using the utensils on the outside. When you are done, leave your silverware on your plate and the waiter will swoop by and pick it up. Then, for the next course, use the next set of utensils on the outside.
2. Switcheroo's a No No
Most of the time we dine with a knive and fork, we would cut with our right hand and fork our food with our left. Then, when it's time to insert said food into our mouths, we would drop the knive and switch the fork from our left hand to our right. THAT IS RUDE! Europeans tend to dine with the left hand holding the fork the entire time. If you find that you have trouble accomplishing this, try practicing in the privacy of your own home first before heading off to the real world.
When the utensils are separated on the plate, this means that you are not finished with your dish. When the utensils are placed together, that means you are done and ready for the next course!
When you place your fork face down, this means that you're unsatisfied with the meal so don't do this unless you want a pissed off or worried restaurant wondering what they did wrong during your dining experience!
So you'd think that after learning all this, my friends and I would have become little Mr. and Miss Manners. Hah, think again! Later that afternoon, we headed down to Lake Geneva for a dip and then still soaking in our ultra-junky-looking t-shirts, shorts and flip flops, we stroll into a pretty Italian restaurant and ordered some pizza. As we started eating, we noticed that the waiters and other restaurants patrons were staring and laughing at us. We looked around and realized that Europeans eat their pizzas with a knife and fork! Oops... so I guess we didn't exactly pass our etiquette lessons with flying colors. But no worries, there will be far more future opportunities to show my mad skills. Just you watch!
See, this was our second time dining on pizza and we're already pros! Good job guys!