OK, so I don’t get this. If you watch TV commercials, TV programs or movies, at least half the characters – I swear – eat with tines turned down, or what I would call overhand eating. And yet 74 percent of the 164 people who took part in this week’s poll said underhand eating – tines up forking – is the way to go.
So what’s going on here? Do TV and movie characters do it because writers are pretentious fops or because it somehow looks better on camera? Is it my imagination they’re doing this more often? And as for us “real folk,” is tines-up forking simply a Michigan thing and we’re out of step with the rest of the world? And by the way, which method is “correct”?
For answers, I googled and found this explanation from thekitchn.com: “There are two basic methods for eating with a knife and fork. The “American” involves 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. (If you’re right-handed, that is.) With the “European” method, the fork remains in the left hand and the knife helps coax your food onto your fork. The tines remain facing downwards. Lately I’ve noticed that more Americans are adopting the European style, perhaps to appear more well-traveled and sophisticated? Or maybe it’s because the European method is simpler and more efficient? According to some etiquette books, the American style came to the States with the British colonists and took hold here, while the European method is a somewhat more recent change.”
So there you have it. For my tastes, tines up is still the only way to go. It’s only logical – I mean, look at the fork. It has that curve for a reason, right? Of course it does. And the reason is because forks aren’t just for stabbing, they’re just as often for scooping.
I don’t want to seem behind the times, though. Maybe I’ll be a trendsetter, ignore both methods and just start eating with my hands.