[dropcap4]What is wrong with the place setting in this picture?[/dropcap4]

 

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ANSWER: This setting is missing a knife! Also, silverware never rests on the napkin. In America, at a correct table setting, every fork from left to right is married to a knife. The two utensils are picked up together as you begin a course.

Correct Table Setting

In France, our place setting of two forks (salad and main) and one knife is correct.  A knife is not used to cut lettuce because pieces are broken into very small bites.  In America, many restaurants serve big leaf lettuce that requires a knife just to cut the salad bite size enough to get the pieces in your mouth.

When the menu for a monthly meeting (i.e., Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, etc), dinner/lunch in someone's home, or black tie event (i.e., wedding, charity, etc) is planned, the table is usually set with all the knives, forks, and spoons required for the various courses.  A safe rule is to start with the outside silverware and work in.  If for some reason you do not feel comfortable, observe the host and follow his/her lead.  In a restaurant, if you have no clue about how to use the utensil, ask the maitre d' for assistance.