Manners Matter: How sweet it is to eat dessert with you

York Daily Record file photo

During GYManners last week, we focused on dessert etiquette. This was the final dining lesson for the class before our field trip to Tapenade Bistro this week.

Anyone who knows me well is aware of my sweet tooth, so I particularly enjoyed demonstrating for the students how to properly eat a brownie served with ice cream.

In turn, they were equally enthusiastic to demonstrate for me as well. Two girls even tried the New York Cheesecake-flavored ice cream from Sweet Willows, while the rest played it safe with vanilla bean and chocolate.

Readers, prepare your dessert fork and spoon and enjoy this sweet lesson all about desserts.

Which utensil do I use?

Spoon: Soft desserts, such as custards, puddings and ice cream, are eaten with a spoon.

Fork: Firmer desserts — including cakes that have a moist texture — are eaten with a fork.

Fork and Spoon: Desserts that are made with a variety of textures, such as ice cream cake, or cheesecake with strawberries, are traditionally served with both utensils.

Fork and knife: For fruit and cheese.

Remember that in between bites or when finished, to place your utensils on your plate instead of on the table. Once a utensil has been used, it should not return to the table.

Using both dessert fork and spoon

The spoon is held in the right hand and the fork in the left hand, tines down. Use the fork as an anchor to hold the dessert. The spoon should cut and then lift bite to mouth.

Specifics on each dessert

Ice cream: When it is served in a bowl, use the spoon. If it is served on a plate (ice cream roll/cake) use a fork or both utensils.

Cookies: No utensils required; best eaten with fingers. Small cookies may be eaten in one whole bite; however, larger cookies are to be eaten by breaking a small manageable bite off, one piece at a time.

Cake and cupcakes: Cupcakes and pound cakes can be eaten with fingers, one small manageable bite at a time. Turn a piece of layered cake on its side if it is served upright and then use dessert fork and spoon to eat. If only one dessert utensil is provided, use fork or spoon and do your best with fingers of the other hand.

Pie: Normally eaten with a fork. If you are having trouble cutting crust, you may use the dessert spoon as well.

Fresh fruit and cheese: These items are to be eaten with a dessert fork and knife.

Remember: Setting a good, healthy standard for eating is showing your child that anything in moderation is alright. We have a set dessert night once a week in our house it is something fun we all look forward to.

Try introducing a dessert night using the proper dessert spoon and fork and see how some manners lessons truly can be sweet!

Heidi Thomas

Heidi Thomas is a certified etiquette trainer from Sparkle and Shine Modeling and Etiquette program at GYDance. For more information on Thomas and the program, visit Greater York Dance's website,

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3 Responses

  1. Abbey says:

    Very helpful tips…and now I’m hungry!!! :) I love the “dessert night” idea- what a fun way to practice dessert etiquette!

  2. Ashley says:

    Very informative and now let’s eat dessert!!

  1. May 15, 2013

    [...] up to our trip, we prepared by practicing how to properly eat appetizers, salad, penne pasta and dessert. I strongly feel that the more a child or young adult practices, the more confident they will [...]

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