Dining etiquette can vary widely across cultures and nationalities. If you're dining at an Italian restaurant, for example, there are quite a few faux pas to avoid, especially when it comes to pasta. The beloved delicacy should never be cut into smaller pieces with a knife. Ask any Italian, and they'll tell you that the act would be a most unsavory offense. Even if you're dealing with large stuffed pasta dishes, such as a hefty serving of lasagna, it would be considered uncouth to break out a knife.
So, what should you do if you're faced with lasagna's layers upon layers of pasta, meat, and cheese? Don't be daunted. Instead of picking up your knife to cut the precious pasta into bite-sized pieces, you should simply slice into it with the side of your fork. Considering the delicate nature of the stacked pasta dish, it actually makes a lot of sense to keep things as simple as possible when consuming it. Using a knife to cut lasagna into a bunch of smaller pieces will oftentimes ruin its structural integrity, causing it to fall apart in a mess of meat, cheese, and pasta.
Rather than cutting into it all at once, you should be using your fork to ready perfect bites one at a time, while keeping the rest of your serving of lasagna whole. That way, you can enjoy it as it is meant to be enjoyed: with all of its ingredients layered perfectly in place.
Other Italian Etiquette Rules To Remember
If you're enjoying a dish featuring long noodles, like spaghetti or tagliatelle, you'll want to wind the noodles around your fork until you create a manageable, bite-sized portion. Just as with lasagna, you'll want to avoid cutting noodles with a knife at all costs.
According to etiquette expert Lydia Ramsey, you shouldn't even twirl spaghetti against a spoon "unless one has been given to you for that purpose. If no spoon is provided, don't ask for one." One Italian etiquette rule that is likely to come as a surprise to many Americans: it's actually considered impolite to eat pizza with your hands. Unlike pasta, a knife should be used to cut pizza, which is then consumed using a fork (sorry, New Yorkers).
While it may seem hard to keep track of all of the different dining rules, you definitely don't want to come off as rude or risk inadvertently offending your host when you're enjoying cuisine from another culture. Although the reasons behind Italian dining etiquette may vary depending on whom you ask, it's generally understood that dishes are presented from the kitchen the exact way they're meant to be eaten and enjoyed. If you remember your manners at an Italian eatery, your taste buds will be just as impressed as your company.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.