There are many places in the world where dining etiquette is a paramount consideration. You will want to ensure that your etiquette is entirely up to snuff before you attend a formal dinner as it will reflect upon your manners. While social conventions such as these are becoming more and more obsolete over time, they are still good to know.
The steak knife is one of the more recognizable table utensils thanks to its appearance and their tendency to be some of the best-constructed pieces of cutlery. It would almost be a crime to misuse one, but there is no need to fear, as this guide is here to help.
Keep in mind that steak knife etiquette may vary based on your region, so we will attempt to give a well-rounded guide of how to ensure that you use proper dining etiquette, focusing primarily on the use of your steak knife.
One thing to remember is always to hold your steak knife in your dominant hand, as this is one of the most important aspects of knife etiquette at the table. Also, remember to place your index finger on top of the knife (when it is sharp side down). This provides more cutting pressure.
Previously, one would always hold their steak knife in their right hand, regardless of handedness, but etiquette has changed slightly to be more accommodating for lefties.
While your dominant hand holds your steak knife, your other hand is left for your fork, so you can more easily cut your steak. Once you have your steak braced with the fork, use the knife to cut yourself off a bite-sized piece.
Once you have finished cutting off your piece of steak, place your knife on your plate, with the handle remaining on the table. Switch your fork to your dominant hand and consume the piece of meat. Once you have finished chewing, place your fork back in your non-dominant hand.
This is essentially the entire process of cutting your steak in a formal setting. It is not overly complicated and can even become muscle memory after a little bit of practice. The trickiest part is remembering to switch your fork to your dominant hand when you are taking a bite.
Also, make sure that you make judicious use of your serviette to clean your mouth and hands, should you require it. It is rather impolite to eat with a greasy mouth and fingers at a formal dinner.
As you can see, the rules and etiquette at formal dinners are not as difficult to learn as one would imagine. Putting a little bit of effort into remembering these courtesies will go a long way among certain company, especially due to the diminishing presence of people who understand proper etiquette.