Manner #12: Using Your Knife

Manner #12: Knife Knowledge

Attention Getter: By now my kids know that Monday night = new manner so I often get the question, “What manner are we going to learn tonight?” I like to keep them guessing and this week was no exception. So my helpful sister and I came up with this riddle:

Can you guess what I am?
I don’t start like I sound.
Use me with butter and fruit,
On the right I can be found.

Now let’s cut to the chase,
Cuz’ you’re on the edge of your seat.
I should never touch your mouth,
but I will cut your meat.

What am I? ……. A Knife!

(My kids weren’t so sharp. I had to read it a few times before they got it.) We had talked about how to use our fork, so now it was time to talk about how to use our knife correctly.

Manner: 1. You will find the knife on the right of your plate with the blade facing the plate (review).
2. You can use a knife to cut sandwiches in half or to butter your bread. You use a knife and a fork together to cut meat and fruit.
3. When cutting, hold the knife in your right hand like it is an extension of your index finger. It should be parallel with the plate.
4. When not in use, put your knife on the top of your plate with the blade facing inward.
5. Don’t lick your knife or eat off of it.
6. Don’t wave it around while you are talking.
7. If eating the European way, you would use your knife to put the food on the back of your fork.

Why: Most of the manner rules around the knife have to do with safety. That is why the blade is always pointed in. That’s why you don’t make gestures with it. It could slip out or you could poke someone. And safety is why you don’t eat off of it.

Practice: I served different foods throughout the week where a knife would be needed so my kids had ample practice with this utensil. We practiced cutting meat with pork loin and yogurt chicken. I didn’t do tougher meats, that might require a steak knife, because that will be another post another day. We buttered rolls and baked potatoes, and we cut our sandwiches in half.

Follow-Up: We played “The Knife Game/Candy Bar Game” (see directions below.) We cut loose and broke several knife manner rules.

1.Wrap up a giant chocolate bar in several layers of paper.
2. Freeze it.
3. When the candy bar is good and frozen, gather everyone in a circle with the candy bar, 2 knives, and 2 dice.
4. Roll the dice. If you roll doubles you get to hack at the paper– trying to get to the chocolate. The catch is that you can ONLY use your knives. When you get to the chocolate, you have to bring it up to your mouth with the knives. (This is the fun part.) No fingers allowed.
5. If you don’t get doubles, pass the dice to your right.
6. The next person rolls the dice and so forth. When someone else gets doubles, she takes the knives- immediately- from whomever has them. (Nothing is more satisfying than stealing knives from someone just as he is about to take a bite of the chocolate.)
7. Keep the dice going around the circle until the chocolate bar is eaten.
8. You can increase the difficulty level, if you are playing with older kids, by having them put on gloves, a scarf and a hat before they get to start hacking away. It just slows them down a bit and makes them a bit more clumsy.

Have fun and be careful!


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