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Oct 13, 2011 06:50 PM

Left-handers - how do you handle your cutlery?

When I was a kid, my mother taught me to use my fork in my left hand and my knife in my right, because it would be easier for me to eat at a table with other people if I wasn't trying to do it backwards. She made a brief attempt to teach me right-handed spooning, but I was never co-ordinated enough not to spill the soup in my lap, so I use the spoon in my left hand, and was taught to keep my elbow as close to my body as I could so as not to run into everyone! If I'm picking up a knife to use by itself (eg. to spread butter or make a sandwich) I'll use my left hand, but I cut my food with my right.

Eating American-style seems particularly silly to me as a left-hander. (I'm Australian and even though I live in America I've never found any reason to change my lifelong habit.) But I wonder how American left-handers eat? Do you pick up the knife and put it down at every bite and use your fork in your right hand because that's what everyone else does? Or do you pick up the fork in your left hand and still put the knife down when you don't really need to?

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  1. This southpaw wields knife with left, fork or spoon with right. No need to juggle. Sometimes I catch a stray elbow from a rightie with poor skills, but so long as elbows are tucked, any mix and match of utensils seems OK.

    By the way, it took me a little while to master a L hand stick shift in Australia, but Turks & Caicos is L hand drive also and the cars are L side steering, go figure.

    1. I'm a right hander and I use the fork in my left hand knife in the right, but if I'm not using a knife I cannot use the fork in my left hand, same with a spoon. Weird part, if I hold 2 forks I use the left, 2 spoons,left again .

      1. I eat with the fork or spoon in my left hand. The knife is always used in my right hand, including bigger knives used in cooking. When I am cooking, I will stir or whisk with either hand but the left is for fine spatula work. My mom always said I should cut and switch but that just doesn't work for me. She did not punish me or make me switch, but insisted I "know" the proper way so that I would not be an outcast if circumstances called for me to use that method. I might be an outcast for spilling my food all over, if I tried it though.

        1. Lefty here...but I chop/cut righty...argh...but use my fork lefty. I sew righty and I throw righty but bat lefty...oh...DEAR!!! I'm all messed up...but I don't remember ANYONE forcing me to do any of this. I keep time to music with my right foot and kick a ball righty...totally off topic but just wondering about the rest of you lefties?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Val

            You sound ambidextrous. I write with my right but I do most things with my left. Try making a telescope with your hands to one of your eyes. If you're doing it to your left eye with your left hand closest to your eye you're a lefty. Right, you're a righty. I switch knife to cut with my left, fork to eat with my left. Need to be on the outside of a booth or end of a table when eating out.

            1. re: Val

              Wow! That is really curious, Val.

              This question, of course, has come up before on these boards, and I always thought I was the only one all screwy in that regard.

              Handwriting (as little as that still happens): lefty
              Cutlery: fork in right hand, knife in left hand
              Food prep: chef's knife in right hand
              All sports, including throwing AND batting: right hand

              It's interesting, to say the least. I think it's amazing that you throw with your right hand but bat with your left (and it's also nice to meet a fellow softball player).

              1. re: linguafood

                @lingua...awww...yes, coach who was also our PE teacher in h.s. used to say "watch out, Lefty Lou up to bat" when it was my turn to hit...but when I try to write with my right hand, it's a struggle and not so legible...I can DO it, but only with great effort. hee hee!

              2. re: Val

                When eating, my fork is in the left hand, knife in the right. For soup/dessert, my spoon is in my left hand. For chopping/cutting, I use my left hand. Writing/brushing my hair/tennis etc, definitely lefthanded I'd say I'm strongly lefthanded, but have learned to eat righthanded because everyone else does!

              3. This southpaw uses his right hand for the knife, the left for fork and spoon. It saves so much energy from switching back and forth the way you poor northpaws do things. I just pretend not to notice your clumsiness with your other hand. It's not your fault, you were just born that way.

                (i do hope everyone saw that my tongue was planted firmly in my cheek for that last part)

                2 Replies
                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    for a short time while living in Seoul, I managed to use chopsticks right handed so as not to offend anyone. my friends and coworkers took pity on me and told me that at least watching me use chopsticks with my left hand wasn't painful and to give up on the right for that. What a relief.