Yep, even silverware has a history. Now I think it started with the cavemen who discovered how sharp obsidian (volcanic glass) was. Probably like we usually do; it was found out by accident — someone likely stepped on it and cut their foot. And voila, something to make life easier. Cave women began cutting things like meat with it. Men started cutting things like dinosaurs with it. They then discovered that metal melts and can be shaped and sharpened. And then, the utility, all-purpose, knife was born. In Rome it’s called the pugio.

Unfortunately, knives are useless when it comes to soup. Clay likely provided the first cup and then came the ladle which was little more than a cup with a long handle. Obviously, the spoon, which is little more than a small ladle. Now, when a Roman patrician went to dinner, his personal servant would carry his silverware (likely real silver too) which would be a napkin, knife, and a spoon and nothing more. His spoon came with a long, sometimes ornate tail/handle that ended with a  point. This allowed him to  use the ladle to spoon a sauce over a small piece of meat and then skewer the other end into the morsel to eat it. This means of eating carried through the entire span of the Roman Empire and the world. And I do not think this as unique to Rome either.

Once western Rome fell and became Medieval, another piece was presented at meals, the fork. The oldest fork was found in China 2400-1900BC. (Google) There were meat forks used in Rome but only in the kitchen. They were not used during the actual meal. No one used a fork until AD 1004. It came in by way of the Byzantine bride of an Italian doge who brought her ‘golden’ forks with her.   This regal young lady refused to touch food with her delicate fingers.

This caused a serious scandal with  the church. Why may you ask?

Those of prominence in the church saw the fork  pronged like Neptune’s spear and pronged like Satan’s serpent tongue in the garden of Eden. Therefore, the local clergy announced, “God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks—his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to him to substitute artificial metal forks for them when eating”. Unfortunately, the aforementioned bride died of a plague which St Peter Damian opined that it was God’s punishment for her hateful vanity. (History of Western Eating Utensils  from the Scandalous Fork to the Incredible Spork, Lisa Bramen July 31,2009)

The fork’s entry into Europe was painfully slowwwww. Catherine de Medici took her forks to her wedding in France and again, the fork slowly gained acceptance. By the 11th century AD, it had grown in popularity in Italy, but little elsewhere. The people of Europe still preferred their fingers over forks. It didn’t arrive in America until the American Revolution.

And now…there are thirty-five kinds of forks. The fork has come a long way baby! (Wikipedia)

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