It is important to know how to use cutlery to eat rice and chicken plus other foods you get served at home, in a formal settings or at a canteen.
I have discovered that a lot of Nigerians eat meals methodically with a spoon, knife, and a fork because they lack or haven’t mastered the proper West African dinning etiquette yet. I remember this one time I was invited to a formal dinner and I had to turn down the food because everyone except me knew how to use the cutlery to eat rice in a formal setting.
The importance of Nigerian table manners in business settings involves the proper way to use a cutlery. What if I told you that your placement of cutlery on your dish signals different interpretation to the waiter/waitress?
READ MORE: How To Make Vegetable Sauce with Rice
Have you been in a situation where you left the table for a while only to discover upon your return that your half-eaten dish has been cleared out? Will you blame the waiter for this? No! It was most likely because of how you placed your fork and knife (so, you caused this).
Nigerian Dining etiquette during mealtime plays a big role in giving people a favorable impression about you. Table manner you demonstrate while eating are observed and taken into consideration by other people around you, and is very important you master the Nigerian table manners if you hope to get more invitations to dine with your friends.
I hope this article takes your Nigerian table manners to another level and helps build your confidence on the table.
How to use a cutlery in a formal dinner to Eat rice and Chicken/ Any Other Meal
- Use your fork to hold down you food while you cut out smaller bites with your knife. Your fork is also used to lift food from your plate into your mouth.
Note: When a fork is used alongside a spoon, or knife, the fork must be held in your left hand with the prongs facing downwards. However, if it is used on its own, you can hold the fork in your right hand with the prongs facing upwards, resting on your fingers and secured with your thumb and index finger (the finger next to your thumb). Plus, ensure you hold your fork as close to the end as possible.
- Pick up your knife and use it to cut your food without stress and can be used to pile food unto the fork. You must hold it in your right hand, with the handle tucked into your palm.
- Your spoon is basic use is to scoop liquid or semi-solid foods such as ice cream, soups, etc. You should hold it in your right hand, resting on your fingers and secured with your thumb and index finger.
Note: Remember, to sip from the side of the spoon rather than the tip when drinking from it. Loving our article on how to use cutlery ? Read on for more tips.
READ MORE: How To Cook Nigerian Vegetable Stew
Important Tips to Note While Eating in a Formal Dinner
- Ensure you bring the spoon or food to your mouth when eating, rather than lower your head towards the food.
- Once seated on the dinning table, avoid waving your cutlery in the air while talking; if you must make gestures with your hands, lay down your cutlery on your plate.
- Do not scrape or make annoying loud clattering sound with your cutlery against your plate or bowl. This is very annoying and may disgust/annoy those around you. Instead, learn how to eat your meal slowly and gently. Take your time and do not rush.
- Clanging your cutlery against your teeth is considered extreme bad table manners.
- It is both offensive and disgusting to lick your cutlery once you are done eating.
- Avoid holding your spoon using your wrist.
- If by mistake, your cutlery drops to the ground, leave it; the server will replace it for you.
- If you get served a 3 course meal, start with the cutlery placed on the outer edge and walk your way inwards as the course changes.
- If you want to continue pausing while you are not done eating, indicate by placing your knife and fork in ‘twenty past eight’ position of the clock on your plate, with the prongs of the fork facing downwards. Once you are done eating, indicate by placing your cutlery in the ‘six thirty’ position of the clock on your plate, with the prongs of the fork facing upwards.
Want to learn more on how to use cutlery to eat rice and chicken? Read on…
- When a hostess or hosts picks up their napkin, it is a signal for you to do the same and that the meal has begun. So, pick up a napkin and lay it neatly across your knees (take your time; not too much though).
- Do not open or shake a napkin above the surface of the table. As soon as a host or hostess picks up their cutlery and begins to eat, you can begin eating your meal too. However, Eating before your host begins is considered to be a very rude manner; you should only do this in cases where he or she insists that you do- how to use cutlery!
- Utensils that are on the farthest position from a dish must be used first. The rules are quite really simple: food on the left, drinks on the right.
- A fork used in a pair with a knife will always lie on the left. If a fork lies on the right, then you shouldn’t use it with a knife. Cutlery meant for dessert will lie above your dish or will be brought alongside dessert.
- Once you are done eating, place all used cutlery on your plate together on the right side pointed up not on the table.
- Only ask for leftovers or uneaten food to be taken home in public restaurants. Do not ask the same when attending a formal dinner, the host may suggest but shouldn’t insist. You should decline anyway.
- You should place the napkin on your chair when leaving the table momentarily, but place the napkin on the table to the left of you place when leaving finally.
- Never talk with your mouth full- how to use cutlery!
- Endeavour to first taste a dish before deciding to add sauces. A hostess, host or a cook in a restaurant puts tons of efforts in the preparation of a delicious meal which is why adding pepper or salt to the dish without even trying it first is considered as an insult.
- Blowing on your food in order to cool it is considered uncultured. If it is too hot for you, wait until the meal becomes cooler. It is advisable to cut off a portion that can you can put inside your mouth without any problem- how to use cutlery!
- Avoid rushing your meal. If a dish is not to your liking and you feel you cannot praise it, simply keep quiet rather than spitting complains upon complains.
- Leaving foods on your place when you are filled up is allowed. However, you must eat a little even if a meal is tasteless to you.
- Do not ‘play’ with your cutlery or food.
- Guests should avoid eating too much unless the host persuades them to consume more which often happens, however the bible gives the best advice in such a situation in the books of proverbs 23v1 when the wise man said “when you sit down to eat with a rich man put a knife to your throat……” eat like a lazy obese person and you’ll be considered a slob.
READ MORE: How To Make Vegetable Sauce For Yam
How to Use Cutlery Properly Video
Here is a quick video showing how to use cutlery properly below:
Nigerian Dining Etiquette| Eating etiquette
Now that we have looked at how to use cutlery in a formal dinner, let us look at how to use cutlery properly video in according to the Nigerian Dining Etiquette with some tips below:
Nigerian Table Manners While Eating Traditional Dishes
There are more than a thousand tribes with diverse cultures in Nigeria and each of them has different rules for table manners. But all of these evolved from one thing- PRACTICALITY!
For Example, it is generally impolite to place elbows on the table. Why, because doing so creates a risk of tipping over cups and bowls. Each group or Naija based family sets its own standards for how strictly these rules should be enforced.
Learning how to follow Naija table manners are quite different from learning how to use cutlery to eat rice, chicken or in a formal setting.
- Like other African country, eating lots of meals is done with the right hand and without cutlery.
- Never expose the sole of your feet while eating on a carpet or mat as it is considered very rude.
- It is bad and rude to laugh or talk with food in your mouth.
- You must keep your mouth closed when chewing.
- If you are in an organized settings or in a group, eat everything on your plate as it is considered wasteful to leave food on your plate. However in many places in Nigeria, an adult should leave a little something for the kids in the house.
- Never pick food (meats, meals or bones) out of your teeth with your fingernails.
- Ensure your head is turned away from the table when coughing or sneezing.
READ MORE: How to make Egg rolls With Pictures [Plus Video]
[Extra] Guidelines and Best Practice For Using Your Hands To Eat Eba At A Business Event
- Your hands must be washed before eating eba.
2. You should avoid draw soup (unless you are an expert in eating it without messing things up).
3. Avoid sucking your fingers while eating eba at a business event.
4. You should avoid spitting bones on your plate. Instead, gently remove and place on plate.
5. You should not stretch out your arm to greet when your hand is loaded with eba
6. Fight the temptation of asking your colleagues to pass over their half-eaten eba in a professional setting.
7. Never use the last ball of eba to lick the soup on the plate.
8. Avoid using your fingers to remove leftover meat in your teeth.
9. Avoid feeling so relaxed that you fall asleep during the conference after eating eba.
Conclusion on How to Use Cutlery
Learning and practicing the best tips on how to use cutlery in formal setting, to eat rice and to eat chicken doesn’t have to look impossible once you have mastered the art. To boost your eating skills n confidence levels, use the right cutlery to eat your meals.