Saturday, March 20, 2010

To Whet Your Appetite

A flatware folly. According to etiquette consultant Carol Bory:
When demonstrating the placement of flatware during a dining etiquette program, I am frequently asked why the cutting edge of the knife needs to face the center of the plate.

The reason for the placement of the knife blade stems back to the Middle Ages. During this time men regularly carried at least one knife. For the common man, the knife served two purposes: one as an eating utensil for spearing meat on the tip of the blade, the other for use as a dagger. For aristocratic men, they carried two knives. One knife for use as a kitchen tool for cutting meat before the feast, the second knife as a dagger carried in a sheath suspended from a belt around their waist.

In fact, have you heard the expression, “To whet your appetite?” It comes from the practice during the Middle Ages of placing a whetstone before the entrance of an eating room so men could sharpen their knifes before they would partake in a feast of food.



Sandra Gulland. said...

Interesting! My understanding, as well, is that the sharp edge facing away from your plate would seem to threaten your neighbor.



elena maria vidal said...

Welcome, Sandra! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting!

Carol Bory said...

Hello Elena Maria,

Thank you for the mention. I am so fascinated with the history and traditions of dining.


elena maria vidal said...

Me, too!