Today, most people couldn’t tell a butter knife from a chainsaw, and despite possibly missing a few major limbs, don’t see a problem with the ignorance. But while you’re dragging your knuckles back to your mother’s cave, your other, more evolved peers are climbing social pyramids, one meal at a time. Meeting over a meal is one thing that has remained a constant fixture in societies all over the world. You never hear of anyone attending a “business stroll in the park” and rarely do dates ever lack the notion of food, because the best way to get an impression of someone is to sit down and share a meal with them.
So before you even consider bringing up some vague knowledge of the world of performance art (Which, by the way, an animated video featuring Waka Flocka Flame, Soulja Boy Slim, Gucci Mane, and OJ da Juiceman doesn’t count, good try though) at the dinner table, brush up on the kind of art you use every day, the too often overlooked art of simply, dining.
In dining etiquette, placement is everything. And just as that heap of steak and potatoes may seem like the center of your universe for the entire ten minutes it takes to shove it down, the dinner plate is the sun, of which everything else revolves around. Wrongly accused of being too complicated, when divided by what goes to the left of the plate and what goes to the right, the solar system that is dining placement is as simple as a second grade science project. (Note: Try thinking of utensil placement as corresponding with the order of courses, working from the outside inward towards the plate.)
Taking it to the left side of the plate, lies the dinner fork and the salad fork, in that exact order, and that’s all there is to it. There isn’t much to the left side. We’re sure there will be some form of protest against the injustice of this somewhere in some bored, dominantly left-handed city of America.
On the right side, you have your knife (or steak knife, if the meal calls for one) right beside the plate. To the right of that lies the single most important utensil on the table, the dessert spoon (Well, that’s debatable, spoon or no spoon, try keeping us from a hot fudge sundae). The soup spoon rounds up the right side of the plate, lingering on the outskirts, like a 3rd wheel on an obviously 2-wheel date, generally not useful but there if need should arise. As far as beverages go, water and wine glasses should always be above the dinner plate.
Unfortunately, there is no allotted place for a set of grills or a 16 ounce pimp cup just yet, but we would suggest someplace by the soup spoon (Lord knows that soup spoon could use all the help it can get), or better yet, tucked away, very, very far into the back of a cabinet. Fine dining is that simple, and sure there are more extravagant dining rules, but, these will get you thru the jigsaw puzzle in the form of utensils at the table.
Now that the “hard work” is done, you have to close the meal in good form like Mariano Rivera of N.Y. Yankees fame. The universal sign for “I’m finished eating” is to cross your fork and knife on your plate in the form of an “X”. Yes, we know you may have thought that reclining in your chair in the Homer Simpson position was enough, but make no mistake, for some of us that’s purely half-time.
So next time you throw Sunday dinner at your place or at a swanky restaurant on a first date, don’t be shy to flex the muscles of your newly heightened class and show off your dine piece, and don’t forget to tip (See Tip Drill). Cheers. U DEFINE SUCCESS