Fingers or Fork?

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Florida Dining Manners and Etiquette – What foods can you eat with your fingers and how to know when it is OK?


Picnics, barbecues, and fast-food restaurants are all prime candidates for finger foods, while more upscale restaurants, weddings, etc. are not. Another clue is the messiness factor. If the food is sauced, has gravy, or is loaded with toppings, choose your fork.

A few examples:


Fingers when served on a separate side plate with a dipping sauce

Fork when it’s served on a dinner plate and already sauced.


Fingers when it’s crispy and would break into little pieces if you tried to cut it

Fork when it’s limp, thick, greasy, or already in pieces.


Fingers or Fork when it’s fried. In the South, fingers are the norm.

Fork when it’s broiled, baked, roasted, or covered with sauce or gravy.

French Fries

Fingers when served with a sandwich or other finger food.

Fork when served as part of a main meal that’s eaten with a fork.

Fork when the fries are covered with gravy or ketchup.


Fingers when the pizza can be picked up without too much mess.

Fork when it’s gooey or has lots of toppings.

In either case, use your fork to eat any of the toppings that fall to your plate.


Fingers when served in a bowl or platter with a dip, or tail-on in the shrimp


Fork when served tail-less in a shrimp cocktail or as a main course.


Fingers when the taco is crispy.

Fork when the taco is soft, unless it has little sauce and can be eaten neatly.

As with pizza, use your fork to eat any filling that falls to the plate.

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