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Be a good diner.

You may have noticed your dining companions placing their cutlery on their plates a certain way when they’re done eating. Check it out: it’s manners in the wild.

If your fork and knife are plastic, chances are you will be clearing your own plate to the trash. In any other case, you’re not being overly polite by getting in the habit of placing your cutlery a certain way to signify you’ve finished eating. This is helpful to a server because it keeps their flow going — no having to ask if you’re finished, then waiting for you to mull over whether you want to keep picking at it — and they’ll only clear your plates when everyone is done. Here are a few ways to place your utensils. Pick your favorite and stick to it.

American-style
Place your knife and fork parallel across the plate pointing upwards anywhere between 11 and 12 ‘o clock.

Euro-chic
Place your utensils the same way, pointing between 11 and 12 ‘o clock, but place your fork upside down so the prongs are touching the plate.

Don’t cross the utensils in an inverted-V, that’s means “I’m resting,” and never cross them into an X. The whole point of this placement is to allow the server to easily stabilize the cutlery on the plate and prevent it from sliding off. Also, avoid letting the cutlery touch the table at any point, particularly if there’s a tablecloth involved. No point in all the formality if there’s a giant Bolognese stain on the linens.

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