In the midst of a meal, where should I place my knife and fork? Can I rest the handles on the table? Is there a particular position for the knife and fork?
Wish to dine right
Dear Wish to dine right,
While resting between bites for only a moment, you need not worry about perfect utensil placement. However, no part of the utensil should rest on the table.
Generally, if you are eating European style and resting for a long pause to carry on a conversation or leaving the table for a restroom break, then place the knife on the right and the fork on the left. If the plate were the face of a clock, then knife would be at an angle about 10:20 and the fork would be at 2:40. The utensils would look like an inverted V. Another acceptable placement would be to cross the fork and knife to form an X.
If eating American style, after cutting, the knife is placed with blade facing you across the top of the plate. The fork can rest on the plate at 9:15 or 10:20.
In either case, the wait staff would know that you were not finished with the meal since your fork and knife are not parallel.