When bewildered by silverware, keep this simple guideline in mind: The pieces are placed in the order they'll be used, working from the outside in.
Cocktail fork: seafood cocktail, fruit cocktail, lobster, and for serving pickles or olives.
Salad fork: salads, fish, pies, pastries, and cold meats.
Fish fork: use in place of the dinner fork when fish is served.
Dinner fork: all entrees except fish.
Steak knife: used for cutting meats.
Fish knife: used in place of dinner or steak knife when fish is served.
Butter knife: butter pats, soft cheeses, chutney, and relishes.
Dinner knife: all entrees except fish.
Soup spoon: desserts, cereal, soup, or as a small serving spoon.
Teaspoon: coffee, tea, fruits, and some desserts.
Iced beverage spoon: any tall beverage or dessert.
Demitasse spoon: after-dinner coffee, condiments, and caviar.