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"Knife on the left, fork on the right" – Is this acceptable for the left-handed?

"Fork on the left, knife on the right" – I'm left-handed. I simply couldn't handle knife on the right. So to me, it's always "knife on the left, fork on the right". Is this widely acceptable? Or do I have to explain it to the ones sitting next to me all the time? ;-)

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  1. Pffff. I am ambi-dextrous, but can only eat with the fork in my right, and the knife in my left hand. I cut foods with my left. I write with my left -- well, the little hand-writing one does these days, if any. BUT, I do all sports with my right hand (throwing balls, holding rackets & bats, etc.).

    People sitting next to you should just deal, imho.

    1 Reply
    1. re: linguafood

      I am ambi also. I have had to live in a right handed world and so much doesn't matter.

      Last Oct31, I fell and broke right wrist. Cast to my shoulder for 7 weeks. One handed is more difficult, esp with pho (usu have chopsticks in one hand, soup spoon in other...)

    2. Why on earth would it be anyone's business which hand you use for which implement? Miss Manners would be appalled should anyone presume to correct you.

      I have only minimal use of my right arm, and I know what I'd say if anyone tried to tell me which hand I may use for what.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wayne keyser

        I suspect it's more about (literally) bumping elbows with the right handers while eating when sitting next to them. Happens to me all the time although nobody's ever complained or had the audacity to suggest I eat with my right hand.

      2. It's perfectly acceptable, but interesting to hear. I'm completely left handed as well, but can only eat with fork in left and knife in right.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PaulV

          PaulV, curious...i'm completely left-handed (throw left, write left) but I cut left, fork right. Any other permutation seems sorrowfully awkward to me, which is most of the world. As long as elbows are in and not flailing, it's nobody's business. We all know how to place utensils when we have finished.

          1. re: PaulV

            I, too, am completely left-handed but I have always held my fork in my left hand and my knife in my right. I make sure I sit at the end of the table whenever possible and it's never a problem.

          2. As a southpaw, I always try to choose a corner seat if possible where people won't be elbowing me too much. I have learned, as I am sure most lefties have, to keep my arms close to my body when dining. Unlike some of you I keep my fork in my left hand, and cut with my right.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              As far as how the table is set, I certainly do not expect the host to reverse the silver placement in order to accomodate me. In fact, the placement with the fork on the left and knife on the right work well. If I get decrepit enough that I can't reach across for the spoon, then chances are someone will be feeding me anyhow.

            2. As far as I know, properly Americans switch knife and fork between hands when cutting and bringing food to the mouth. Of course the Europeans among us eschew the zig-zagging and choose to keep the utensils in the hand proper to it. Assuming the OP is American, if you're going to be transfering the utensils between hands anyway, does it really matter which side the utensils are placed?

              1 Reply
              1. re: JungMann

                For a formal table setting, yes, it does matter. As you note, people switch implements in their hands (or they don't).

              2. I'm right handed and when I eat, I keep my knife in my left hand and my fork in my right. I never understood the constant switching - my parents tried to drill it into my head when I was a kid but I would break down crying from the awkwardness and my inability to efficiently transfer food-to-mouth so many times that they quickly gave up.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sistinas

                  Shouldn't matter-whatever you like. I'm a lefty and ambidextrous. I tend to keep the knife in the right and not switch (like many Europeans) as opposed to the American tendency to switch.

                  1. re: sistinas

                    I'm right-handed but I learned how to eat European-style while studying in Europe. It's far more efficient (no switching the fork between hands). Also, it's very useful to be able to use a fork with either hand. When you have young children: use one hand to feed self and the other hand to feed your child at the same time.

                  2. I'm another lefty who holds the fork in my left hand and the knife in my right. I keep my elbows in, especially if I'm next to a right-handed person, and no one has ever, ever said a word to me about it. I don't understand how right-handed people do all that switching back and forth--that seems pointless. But I wouldn't be so obnoxious as to comment on how other people eat, and I hope no one has had the temerity to make such comments to you.

                    As long as your table manners are appropriate, I can't imagine that it would matter to anyone, and really, why should it?

                    1. I'm also ambidextrous. I write the best with my left hand and always use it to hold my fork but can use the right if the left is injured in some way. I cut with my right hand so eat in a more European style.

                      When it comes to eating with others, I rarely go anyplace with assigned seating so can always choose to sit at the end or beside another lefty...usually my 8 year old son. I don't see where the placement of the silverware would be a big problem, you can always pick up your fork and transfer it to the left hand. I do see where being a lefty can be an annoyance when seated in tight quarters with a righty on the left side of you.

                      1. I'm right handed and I find it's far easier and more comfortable to use the fork on right hand.

                        1. I'm right handed and eat European style, but i'm "Goofy". Rather than knife in the right and fork in the left, I have knife in the left and fork in the right. I have no mobility issues, it feels "right" to hold my utensils that way.

                          It's never been an issue for me, though my husband finally noticed me switching my utensils around when I first pick them up, and was completely taken aback. This was after a year and half of dining across the table from one another.

                          My brother is left handed, and eats the traditional way - European style - knife in right hand, fork in left. Everyone tries to keep away from his elbow. Strange,eh?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kali_MM

                            Finally someone with equivalent knife- forkiture. Cut left, fork right. Except that we are opposites (I throw left, write left, you're a righty). It always seemed to me that use of your hand/arm with the most strength, dexterity, and the nimbleness of a plastic surgeon, should be the appendage that can best wield a knife (or scalpel). Forking is rather simple, and for those who can't quite master it we have spoons. When I'm dining on loin lamb chops or a succulent porterhouse, and I survey the personalities around the table and realize that my first choice of gnawing on the bones with eager, greasy hands is not within the etiquette rules at the moment, I at a minimum want to carve away the sweetest meat nearest the bone, with my most able arm.
                            I have yet to figure out with which hand I would pick a guitar. I just enjoy listening.

                          2. I have trained myself to be ambidexterous over time. It can be done. The nature of my work dictates that one have the use of both hands to achieve the results one wants to have. Relating this to the table.... I eat with my left hand, and use the right hand for knife usage. It's fun to see family members who have known me for a long time wonder what the heck I'm doing, knowing I'm naturally right-handed.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              I respect profoundly that you are a retired art teacher, where nibleness and agility come into play, and especially "touch". But a question to right-handers who cut-and-eat with their right arm/hand; what have they been doing with their left arm all their life? Hell, I'm 55 years old and I can kick a 45 yard field goal with either leg, or bowl a 200 with either arm. Use what you have.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                "But a question to right-handers who cut-and-eat with their right arm/hand; what have they been doing with their left arm all their life?"

                                Why the old switcheroo, of course. OTOH...If I live to be 100 I'll never be able to kick a 45 yd field goal with any leg I may have in operative condition at any given time. Bowling? What's that?
                                Good on you!