Table manners exist simply to make the dining experience more pleasurable. Eating is not the prettiest of pastimes. The act of placing food in our mouths, chewing it to a pulp and swallowing in essence is not particularly attractive. This is fine if you are by yourself but social eating is one of the world’s most popular activities.
Rituals and manners surrounding the preparation, eating and sharing of food have been with us for eons while particular manners may vary from culture to culture, their primary purpose is to make eating a pleasant activity for everyone. Like all manners, table manners have evolved over time; we no longer recline at the table like the Romans or eat from our knives like the colonials. Our modern table manners marry the practical with the pleasant and considerate.
The world’s not going to end because you don’t know which fork to use. However, the more adapt you are at using utensils and knowing basic table manners, the more confident you’ll be. With experience and practice you’ll instinctively choose the right implement. The way to eat particular food depends on the method of preparation and whether the meal is formal or informal.