Why do Americans hold the knife in the left and the fork in the right?

Totoro 08/24/2017. 14 answers
Food & Drink Other - Food & Drink

I m America by birth but my Jamaican parents raised me and we eat with the fork in the left and the knife in the right. My friend who is American-born and is White does the opposite and I never understand how she can manage that.

It looks childish and cumbersome. You have to but the knife down then switch hands...

14 Answers


Perkin 05/24/2017.

You base off of what one person does and thinks everyone in her race does the same thing(?)


kswck2 04/24/2017.

American-Born and being White has nothing to do with it. I use both, so should you.


Sharon S 04/24/2017.

many are righthanded


CrustyCurmudgeon 04/24/2017.

When traveling to Western Europe, I wanted to fit in, (in spite of my physical characteristics). I adopted the French style of holding the fork in the left hand, and cutting with the right. I then lift the morsel to my mouth with the left hand.

Once the battles of habit subsided, I found that this custom was very practical, and kind of liked the attention I got in the diner when I used my fork with my left. It really works better and is more practical. So the short answer is "I don't", and the reasoning is above.


Groovy_Unicorn 04/24/2017.

We are a right handed country. I don't know many people that switch their fork back and forth though, it's bad manners to juggle your cutlery. It is however, acceptable to cut a piece of food, place your knife down, then eat that piece of food, or even pre cut a few bites worth and then place your knife down. Never pre-cut the whole meal though.


katiya 04/24/2017.

We eat with our hands, mostly.

If I were eating with a knife and fork (like pancakes or something)

I would cut with my left hand, because that is the most active job and I am left handed.

My dad holds his knife in his right hand (I just asked him) because he is right handed.


CB 04/24/2017.

Japanese use chopsticks - I smell a troll


Karen L 04/24/2017.

The only people I've ever seen holding the knife in their left hand in order to use it are left-handed people. Is your friend left-handed?There are two styles of using eating utensils. They are the American and the European. Both have you holding the fork in your left hand, but the American style has you transferring it to your right to pick up the food you cut with your right hand.

But being American doesn't mean you will automatically use the American style. You'll use the one you were taught and if your parents came from Europe maybe they taught you the European one. In any case, NEWSFLASH: people from different places do things different ways.

The American style was what used to be used in Europe. Europe changed styles, America didn't.


Anna E 04/24/2017.

It probably has more to do with most people being right handed. For example, I had never thought about it when I read your question. When I thought about how I use a knife and fork I realized that I put my fork in the left hand and cut with my right, but then put down the knife and switch the fork to my right hand to eat. I am right handed.


sugakrishoshi 04/24/2017.

You base off of what one person does and thinks everyone in her race does the same thing(?)


Sheffy 05/24/2017.

You base off of what one person does and thinks everyone in her race does the same thing(?)


Dawn 04/24/2017.

we are a right handed country......... i don't know numerous people that switch their fork back and forth though, it's bad manners to juggle your cutlery......... it is however, acceptable to cut a piece of food, place your knife down, then eat that piece of food, or even pre cut a few bites worth and then place your knife down......... never pre-cut the whole meal though.........


Jessica 04/24/2017.

we are a right handed country... i don't know numerous people that switch their fork back and forth though, it's bad manners to juggle your cutlery... it is however, acceptable to cut a piece of food, place your knife down, then eat that piece of food, or even pre cut a few bites worth and then place your knife down... never pre-cut the whole meal though...


Billy 04/24/2017.

Americans don't do that. American etiquette prescribes having your FORK IN YOUR LEFT and your KNIFE IN YOUR RIGHT when cutting your food, then putting the knife down and switching your fork to your right hand to eat, tines facing upwards, but only if you're right-handed. If you're left-handed, it's the opposite. Why? Because form follows function.

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