Is it really rude to cut your food with the side of your fork?

My wife, who has some serious Southern debutante tendencies, claims that it is poor-mannered to use the side of your fork to cut your food, rather than a knife. As an extremely practical fella, I don’t understand why a knife should be needed for cutting softer foods such as french toast or waffles and the like. What difference does it make? Its not like I’m eating my entree with a salad fork. I suspect that she is technicaly correct based on one particular set of notions of “good manners” which may or may not be arcane in the 21st century.

IMHO, the answer is no. But then, I pull the spoon toward myself when eating soup. :eek:

You know what?

I prefer the salad fork. There, I said it. The salad fork is in every way a superior fork to the standard one and I will never stop preferring it.

Ahh. That felt good.

Would you mind outlining the difference? I’ve never heard of a salad fork, and I thought us Brits had the cutlery game in the bag… :wink:

What seems rude to me is watching someone else eat to see if they are cutting their food with their fork.

(And I cut food with my fork regularly, especially if I’m just using a fork to eat).

Not that I know of. Use the fork for soft stuff; if you have to strain to get the fork through whatever you’re eating, you should be using a knife instead.

So, Emilio, I suppose the wife is opposed to the spork as well?

And I trust she quite rightly refuses to wear a skort?

A standard dinner fork has four straight prongs, while on a salad fork, the two outermost prongs are curved and thickened a bit.

Salad Fork
Dinner Fork

Well thank you kindly. I know what you mean, the salad fork does look better - sturdier.

I don’t find it “rude” to segment a soft food with a fork, but I wouldn’t consider either French toast or waffles to fall under the heading of “soft food.” The notion of someone’s sitting at a table sawing away at a waffle with a fork is on the unappetizing side for me, as I don’t find either of those foods particularly condusive to being cut with a blunt fork. Under the theory that doing something at table that would put others off their meals is rude, I’m going to come down on your wife’s side here on the basis of your specific examples. I would not, however, find it rude to, say, divide a long green bean with a fork before spearing the pieces.

It would seem crazy affected to me to cut up an omelet with a knife. Who invents these rules, anyway?

I eat everything with my hands, including waffles, french toast and omelets.

Well, consider me boorish since I have never used anything but a fork to cut my french toast. I guess my friends and family are all yahoos too, since they do the same. We’ll be sure and not dine with you anytime soon.

Oh, by the way, did you mean “conducive”?

My mother always told me it was rude to use a fork to cut up food. I wouldn’t personally be offended if someone was cutting with a fork, but I might think them a little silly if they’re sawing away at something that would be better cut with a knife. However, I’m not one to talk about correctness of cutlery use, as I’ve been known to replace my dinner fork at the table with a dessert fork instead, and I use the most minuscule baby spoon ever created to eat my soup and cereal. It just tastes better that way!

No worries, you’re not invited. I never said anything about people engaging in the behaviour being boors or yahoos. I said that I personally find the sight of it a little unpleasant. Why on earth you would take this as some grand affront to your kith and kin I have no idea.

No, I meant “condusive” because I wanted to give a pedantic prig the opportunity to point out a spelling error on the Internet.

It is only rude if it is after Labor day and you are also wearing white.

If you’re looking at it from a very traditional perspective, it is technically rude to cut waffles or french toast with just a fork - the idea is if it’s tough enough for you to have to make an effort to cut it (I think the test is does it make you raise your elbow to exert force - if it does and you’re eating in company, you may hit the person next to you), you should use a knife. If it’s soft enough for the food to be easily separated without any real force being applied, use just the fork. Similarly, you’re supposed to cut just one piece at a time, not cut your food into a bunch of tiny little pieces all at once. I have no idea what the logic is for this part - I get not hitting someone next to you, but is it really that offensive to get everything cut up at once? But I digress.

From a more realistic perspective, I can see where it might be rude to try to cut, say, a piece of meat with a fork. But french toast or waffles, especially when they’re loaded and squishy with butter and syrup, shouldn’t matter. As for cutting the food into little pieces all at the same time, who cares? As long as you don’t hit anyone sitting nearby because you’re leaning so hard on your food to cut it, and you do it reasonably neatly, just cut it however works for you.

If it makes noise or risks flinging syrup around, it’s not good manners to use the fork. I don’t see any problem with an omelet, most pancakes would probably be OK, with French toast IME it depends on the specific toast, and again IME waffles don’t yield peaceably to the fork.

'Cause your food gets colder that way quicker (higher surface area to mass ratio) and you might form unfounded ill opinions of the kitchen or the server 'cause you messed up his dish by eating it in an unintended manner.

That’s why salt’s bad for blood pressure, too. Not yours, but the chef’s, when he sees you pick up the shaker and start saturating his food in salt without even trying it to find out if his seasoning was appropriate.