The appearance of the first printed cookbooks in the fifteenth century coincided with increased use of the fork. Although the fork had been known prior to antiquity, its use was mostly restricted to the kitchen for carving and serving. One story of its introduction to the European table credits an eleventh-century Byzantine princess who came to Venice to marry. Her use of a fork at the table caused quite a stir, with one observer noting that such a thing was “luxurious beyond belief”; and Venetian Church leaders condemned such gross affectations, declaiming, “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.” (Giblin, p. 46) By the fifteenth century its use in Italy was common. It spread to France via Catherine de Médici who brought them to Paris in 1533, and was in common use throughout much of Europe by the late seventeenth century.
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