What do you do when you are using the American Style (4-steps) of dining to eat, and have just one or two more bites on your plate, but you can’t get the delicious morsels onto your fork?
Do you use your fingers? (Please don’t.)
Let “the fence” help you!
The Fence is a technique used to help you get those hard to get bites of goodness from your plate to your mouth. The technique definitely solves problems if you are using the American style (sometimes called "zig-zag") dining.
You recognize toward the end of the course that you need help with the little food items you very much want to eat. Of course you are resisting the temptation to use your fingers!
Place the knife in your left hand.
(Left-handers report an easy reverse adaptation. They pick up the knife, which is in resting position on their plate, with their right hand to make the "fence," while using their left hand--tines upward--to push against the fence to get the morsels onto the fork.)
Position the knife on the plate, blade down, about an inch or so up from the bottom of the plate and parallel to the edge of the table. This is very important, as this position is the starting and ending position for the technique. The knife doesn't move!
With your fork in your right hand, move or push the difficult seeds, rice, whatever, against the firm fence that you’ve formed with your knife. And now you have another bite to enjoy.
Leave your knife in this position long enough to get all the remaining food you want, but remember to put your knife back at the top of your plate in a resting position. See dining American style. Bottom line: The Fence is a only a temporary technique to solve a particular problem.
I like to note that one benefit of choosing to eat Continental style, is that as you prepare to eat off of the back of the tines of your fork, your knife serves as the pusher and helping tool to get food loaded on the back of the fork. There is no need for a "fence."
Many students in my dining classes list the fence as a favorite thing learned. When you are enjoying a scrumptious meal and have chosen the American Style, you want to get every bite! The fence allows you those last few bites while maintaining your table manners.