Which is the salad fork

Small cutlery Knigge

Important eating and cutlery rules should be followed. (Photo by: © istock.com)

We remember Titanic (the movie): Jack played by Leonardo Dicaprio is invited by Rose, Kate Winslet, to a 1st class dinner. He is helplessly overwhelmed when he sees the many knives and forks. Fortunately, Kate helps him by whispering: "From the outside to the inside, Mr. Dawson! ".

In addition to knives and forks and the advice to use them from the outside in, there is a lot more to consider when using the cutlery at the table.

Cutlery for a 4-course menu

  • For a 4-course meal, two knives and a spoon are usually placed on the right of the plate and two forks on the left.
  • Knives and forks have different sizes so that you can tell them apart.
  • The little knife and fork are made for them starter used and are therefore outside.
  • Inside are a knife and fork for the main course.
  • The spoon to the right of the plate is the soup spoon.
  • Lie over the presentation plate Dessert spoon, under which the dessert fork or cake fork is also located.
  • Usually there is also another knife that is on a small plate to the left of the presentation plate. This is the bread plate and the Bread knife, also called courvert plate and courvert knife.

In addition to the standard cutlery, there are also a number of them Special cutlery such as tea or mocha spoons, fish knives, lemon forks, oyster forks, salad servers and others.

The exact arrangement of the cutlery depends of course on the respective aisles. This means that the forks, knives or spoons you need first are on the outside.

The simplest rule is - use the cutlery from the outside in. (Photo by: gsermek / Depositphotos)

Summarized again, the following applies:

  • Pieces of cutlery that you hold with your right hand are on the right of the plate, and those that you hold on the left are on the left of the plate.
  • The cutlery that you need first is on the outside, so that you use the cutlery from the outside in.
  • Smaller cutlery for dessert are above the plate.

Which cutlery in which hand?

One starts from the outside to the inside.

The cutlery that will be used at the end lies above the plate. The spoon and fork head of the dessert cutlery usually point in different directions. The reason for this is that the handle points to the hand with which the cutlery is picked up, i.e. the dessert spoon with the right hand and the cake fork with the left.

Which hand picks up the cutlery for the starter and main course is almost trivial: the cutlery that is held in the right hand is on the right, and the cutlery that is held in the left hand is on the left.

Generally also applies to left handed - However, it is perfectly acceptable to change fork and knife inconspicuously after picking up the cutlery.

Recognize cutlery correctly


  • Salad fork: small and four-pronged
  • Fish fork: four-pronged and relatively short
  • Table fork or dinner fork: four-pronged and long
  • Dessert fork or Central fork: four-pronged and a little smaller
  • Cake fork: three-pronged and slightly smaller
  • Snail fork: two long prongs


  • Fish knife: sharp point and toothless cutting surface
  • Butter knife: blunt or round at the front and a broad brush surface
  • Blackboard- or Dinner knife: Serrations on the cutting surface and slightly round at the front
  • Steak knife: pointed and sharp blade at the front
  • Dessert knife: small and rounded at the front
  • Cheese knife: small and sharp-edged


  • Soup spoon: large, oval area
  • Bouillon spoon: smaller with a circular area
  • Dessert spoon: even smaller with a circular area
  • Ice cream spoon: long-handled with a small area

Put down the cutlery

Depending on how you put down the cutlery, you signal to the service staff whether you want to pause with your meal or whether you have finished a course:

  • Crossed cutlery indicates that eating will be resumed shortly.
  • Cutlery placed in parallelwhose handles point to the bottom right, signal this End of a corridor and the service staff won't clear empty plates either.

Napkins on the table

First things first, the serviette at the table is a mouth towel, not a handkerchief, not a cleaning cloth for glasses and not a wipe either. It is only used to dab your mouth or lips.

The napkin is normally placed on the lap and not tucked into the shirt collar.

After eating, the napkin is placed loosely (not squeezed) next to the plate, with the clean side facing up.

Use wine glasses properly

Wine glasses are always touched by the style so that the contents are not heated by the hand.

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