A short tribute to the Spoon, Knife, and Fork
The spoon, knife, and fork.
A lot of things have changed in the past 3,000 years. We have smartphones, electric cars, satellites. But some things haven’t changed. Some things are so perfect, that they can’t be improved.
If someone from thousands of years ago traveled to today, they would feel right at home at a dinner table. They might also say, “what? You guys haven’t changed the spoon since we invented it?” No. We can invent rockets, but we cant improve the spoon. You guys got it right the first time.
Spoons haven’t always been used for eating though. In the 1300’s for example, when a British king was crowned, he would be anointed by a ceremonial spoon. In Ancient Rome, fancy spoons were used to show class and wealth.
Today, the spoon has so many different uses. Eating cereal, measuring things, scooping ice cream, and less conventional things like heating crystal meth.
What’s your favorite thing to do with a spoon?
The fork, not quite as good as the spoon, but still very interesting. Like the spoon, it has been used in some form for thousands of years.
The fork is so perfect that it can’t really be improved. Well, maybe if we went back to mini-tridents instead.
But forks actually didn’t become mainstream until a few hundred years ago. In some cases, using forks was controversial.
In the 11th century, Theodora, a Byzantine princess, was set to marry a prince from Venice, Italy. She brought gold forks as a gift to his family. It was a scandal. The Venetians were very religious and saw forks as an insult to God himself. “God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks — his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating.” -St. Peter Damian
Today, I think you’re safe giving your mother-in-law a few golden forks without causing a scene.
In addition to poking things and putting them in your mouth, forks can also be used to roll up spaghetti, poke your siblings, and pretending you are holding a mini trident.
What’s your favorite thing to fork?
The oldest tool of them all, the knife. Otherwise known thousands of years ago as “that sharp thing.” The oldest single edge knife that we know of is from 4,000 years ago. The appeal of the knife was simple, its great for killing your dinner and then cutting it. Before the fork became mainstream, people used to poke food with their sharp knives and used it as a fork.
Back then there were no table knives, instead, people would carry around hunting knives in sheaths attached to their belt. When it was time to eat, they would pull it out and use it as their table knife. This was a problem because the main source of hydration back then was beer and wine. This lead to a lot of accidents and spontaneous knife duels.
In 1669, King Louis XIV, afraid that someone would kill him, outlawed knives at the dinner table. Since then, blunt knives became mainstream at the dinner table. We can thank King Louis paranoia for the modern table knife.
Cheers to not having to worry about getting stabbed while eating a piece of chicken.