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  1. #1
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default If you learned to eat Continental style, at what age did you start using a knife?

    For those of you who learned to eat with the fork in your left hand and knife in your right hand (aka continental style), at what age did you start using a knife? I didn't grow up eating this way. It wasn't until I was a nanny in France (and my host family made fun of the way I ate), that I switched. Nobody else in my family eats this way. When my kids were younger, I didn't give them knives to use because I was afraid they would hurt themselves. But Gator is 8yo now, and I'd like him to start eating in the Continental style, rather than the American style.

    Any suggestions?
    SAHM to
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  2. #2
    hillview's Avatar
    hillview is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    My 3 year old and 5 year old get knives at the table. On occasion the 3 year old loses privileges. My 5 year old can sort of use a knife with success ...

    Wait what is American style vs Continental style??

    ETA
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_utensil_etiquette

    Hummm ... well I think I eat a hybrid style. I will have to consult DH about this -- he is from the UK.
    /hillary
    Last edited by hillview; 07-07-2011 at 03:13 PM.
    DS #1 Summer 05
    DS #2 Summer 07

  3. #3
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    I'm so old that I can't even remember when I learned!
    Mommy to Two DDs
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  4. #4
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    This is one of those classic cultural differences isn't it?! I'm from across the pond so I eat with my fork in my left and knife in my right, and holding the knife with the handle covered by my closed hand (rather than sticking out between my thumb and forefinger like a pen). This was always a point of table manners (i.e. you could tell people who hadn't been brought up 'properly' because they held their knives like they were pens, or even worse in a a kind of fist!!!)

    I do still find the 'American' way of holding cutlery (sorry, 'silverware' ) funny, even though I've been here four years - it just seems to take longer if you have to swap hands all the time - perhaps I'm just too greedy and eager to get the mouthful into my face!!!

    But that's a tangent, and not answering the original question - I'm slowly introducing my 15 month old to the different items of cutlery, and the knife will probably be last, but we'll definitely stick with the 'continental' way
    Crunchy Brit mama to one little trigglet - 03/2010
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  5. #5
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    I think I always did, then around 8 or 9, my father really got strict about table manners. I hold my knife differently from others, the end of the knife is in between my thumb and forefinger. My Dad learnt this way in the army, and it was different to how he grew up, my grandmother used to comment on it.

    DS is 6.5yo and he can use a knife with somethings. I'm still working on it and how to eat correctly with his fork. He'll stab something and then turn it in his hand so it's like he scooped up the food. It drives me batty. I think I'll work on the fork etiquette first and then move on to the knife.

    I'm also a stickler for how he finishes the meal. I expect him to ask if he may be excused, use the napkin for hands/face and then put it neatly on the table. His fork is to go on his plate with the end pointing to 4 or 5 o'clock, and he's to carry his plate and glass into the kitchen.

    I don't correct DH, but he's table manners could be better...so I'm making sure DS learns from *me*. I do expect some people will comment on how DS eats differently, for eg. I'm often the only one when we go out wiht friends who has a dirty knife...he'll just have to say "blame my mum."

  6. #6
    octmom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Interesting. Here's another link for those of us who need a visual: http://www.professionalimagedress.co...ing-styles.htm

    I definitely use American style. DH has a weird style that I do not want my kids to mirror! DS is 7 and sometimes uses a knife, but not regularly. DD is 5 and rarely uses a knife. DH usually fixes their plates and cuts food for them before he puts it on the table. He practically minced it when they were younger, but I finally convinced him that was not necessary.
    Jerilyn
    DS, 10/03
    DD, 3/06

  7. #7
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trigglet View Post
    This is one of those classic cultural differences isn't it?! I'm from across the pond so I eat with my fork in my left and knife in my right, and holding the knife with the handle covered by my closed hand (rather than sticking out between my thumb and forefinger like a pen). This was always a point of table manners (i.e. you could tell people who hadn't been brought up 'properly' because they held their knives like they were pens, or even worse in a a kind of fist!!!)

    This is funny, because I do the pen way - Dad insisted and it was from his army training - we're Australian though. No one else I know holds it like that. I think the closed hand is easier and it's how I first learnt to hold the knife, and I'll probably only teach DS that way. I agree that the fist method is not how one holds a knife...

  8. #8
    citymama is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    I cannot eat Continental style for the life of me. It's American style or bare hands!
    for Sandy Hook

  9. #9
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    We started giving DS a knife when he was around 3. Our regular flatware isn't terribly sharp so I didn't worry too much about that. He doesn't use it very adeptly, but he does try from time to time.

    I do worry though, because we live in a part of Canada where continental style is used, but I use American style because I was raised in the US. To complicate matters, I am left-handed so I don't really even do American style correctly. DH holds his Continental style, but not the full-fledged, eating peas off the back of a fork type like his parents. That is one impressive skill!

    I'm not quite sure how to address this with DS because he tends to copy me since he is left handed as well. Because while it looks like he's eating Continental style (fork in left, knife in right) I think that as a lefty he ought to be using the fork in his right and the knife in his left, that it should be reversed? But I don't know for sure. They work on this type of life skill stuff at the daycare but everyone else is a righty so I think he's just copying what everyone else does.
    Last edited by MontrealMum; 07-07-2011 at 03:54 PM.
    DS, Summer '07

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  10. #10
    ellies mom is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I eat continental style. My husband eats the hand switching way. I don't care which way the kids eat because I think it is more of a regional style thing than a manners thing. That said, I show the girls "my way" because it is the way I know but if they adopt my husband's way, I'm not going to worry about it.

    We started giving our youngest a knife just before she turned three and I think we gave the older a knife when she was four or five.
    Veronica

    Miss Ellie 11/03
    Baby Audrey 4/08

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