Is it a Finger Food or a Fork Food?

Eating pizza with a knife and fork

Finger food makes for a fun, casual dining experience.

However, some meals require a little problem solving.  And the common problem presented is usually, “Should I eat this with my fork or my fingers?”

If you are in a casual restaurant, a barbeque at your friends’ back yard, or on a picnic, the answer may be, “Eat with your fingers.”

If you are at a nice restaurant, at a dinner party, or attending a formal event where a meal is served (a wedding, perhaps) then it’s better to opt for a fork.

Another gauge for the fork or finger conundrum is whether or not the food is greasy or saucy.  

When you have a burger dripping with chili and cheese, what would normally be a finger food now requires a fork and knife.

On that note, a good rule of thumb is, if you eat the main course with a fork, you’ll do the same with the accompanying side dishes.  So if you’re eating your chili burger with a knife and fork, you’ll eat the French fries served with it in the same manner.

When A Finger Food Becomes a Fork Food

Here are a couple more examples of finger food becoming fork food:

When it’s loaded with toppings and using your hands will result in a greasy mess.  Or, if it’s too hot to pick up.

Asparagus, whole green beans, or zucchini sticks
If you’re not in a casual environment, if these foods are overcooked, or if they have a sauce poured over them.

Whenever you’re in doubt about using your fork or your fingers, and there is no set rule about it, do what is most efficient while considering the level of formality of the dining experience.

Keep It Considerate

Chips and dips, fried chicken, tacos, burgers and fries . . . they're all so much fun!

However, it's easy to lose ourselves in the good times and cross the border into inconsideration. 

Some pointers to remember:

  • Pick up your food to take a bite, then place the remainder back on your plate while you chew.  Don’t hold onto it to wave around during conversation.
  • Keep your napkin handy - if you're sitting, keep it in your lap - for wiping your hands, fingers, and blotting your mouth often.
  • To eat dips or sauces, place an appropriate amount on your plate in which to dip your food.  This helps eliminate double-dipping into the serving dish.
  • When enjoying a burger, always cut it in quarters, or cut it in half if it’s very thick.  The smaller portions fit into your mouth easier while keeping you, and your dining space, tidy.

Do you have a question about using your fork or fingers?  Ask me here.

You may also enjoy reading . . .