From whence the spork?
May 4, 2007 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Feeding Desire: The Tools of the Table [click on "visit the website"] is an amazing illustrated history of utensils over the past 600 years. If you prefer history to design, look at the California Academy of Science's collection and learn more of the history of the knife, fork, spoon (and more spoons!), and chopsticks. Not covered in these collections are the awesome cutlery/gun combinations of the 1700s, or how to identify the bewildering array of specialized silverware there is out there. Don't forget your bacon forks and cake breakers!.
posted by blahblahblah (16 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I never knew it was called a cake breaker. My mom had one.
Learn something every day.

Also, nice proto-spork!
posted by MtDewd at 1:51 PM on May 4, 2007

This is so awesome. Thanks.
posted by boo_radley at 2:19 PM on May 4, 2007

[click on "visit the website"]
Why not just actually, you know, link to the actual page?
posted by Rhomboid at 2:21 PM on May 4, 2007

Why not just actually, you know, link to the actual page?

Because I was distracted by the mere existence of fork designed only for eating bacon?
posted by blahblahblah at 2:26 PM on May 4, 2007

Yeah, porkfork will have that effect.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:28 PM on May 4, 2007

How to use a teaspoon. Takes the prize for brilliantly creative inappropriate use of tableware!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:04 PM on May 4, 2007

I love the cutlery weapons. If I were a rich man I'd comission a complete weaponized set of utensils!

"Look out! He's got a gravy boat!"
posted by lekvar at 3:09 PM on May 4, 2007

Wow. We totally had a cheese cleaver when we were kids, which was my favorite funny utensil in the drawer.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:01 PM on May 4, 2007

The post was nice and all, but, that spoon and guitar shit was GREAT! That would have made a fine post. I've never seen anything like that before. I can't wait to show my "rockstar" friends. Also..the weapon untensils, really cool!

** IANAM **not even a little, none, love music, can't play a lick. ** IANAM **
posted by winks007 at 6:09 PM on May 4, 2007

(really bad Australian accent) That's not a knife...
posted by 517 at 7:09 PM on May 4, 2007

So what is the proper place setting when eating on a paper plate over the sink?
posted by Gungho at 7:38 PM on May 4, 2007

We always called it a "cake knife", and I used it just a few days ago when my wife came to the rescue of a helpless chocolate cake that her mother had gotten off the "about to stale" sale rack at the supermarket.

I've seen a bacon fork and a bone-holder before, and wondered what they were for...

But the link of the guy playing slide with a teaspoon in his mouth wins the thread.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:45 PM on May 4, 2007

My aunt died of starvation when no one was able to produce a scallop tine quickly enough.
posted by sourwookie at 12:54 AM on May 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

What we have to realize is that most of these fanciful creations are just the cutlers screwing with us. Some apprentice comes up with a twisted lump of spikes and flanges, and then the old hands cluster around.

"What should we call it? The buyer from WIlliam Sonoma's going to come by any minute."
"Well, I thought they'd catch on when we came out with the fish server, but I don't know? An pineapple spoon?"
"Nah, we just did asparagus tongs, it's too soon, it's time for another meat-based one, like the bacon fork."
"Can we put a gun in it? They used to go for those."
"Go back to sleep, Bill."
"Well, how about a harpoon? We can call it a whale fork or something."
"How about an olive fork? That's useless enough, they don't need a special fork for olives."

Thus the olive fork and its ilk were born.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:37 AM on May 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

Superb post, full of entertainment, history and interesting things to learn. Really enjoyable. Love the weapons cutlery. Dining in a dysfunctional family? Or a fear of being offed while eating? Or a threat to the chef? Whatever, yikes.

Another dual purpose: toolkit cutlery.

Am fond of chowder soup spoons, the ones with a round, capacious bowl for good slurping. Love mixing old silver with stainless steel forks, knives, spoons, each has its practical beauty. Always loved strange, elaborate eating utensils.

Check out this fun, screw-in plastic that turns fruit or veggies into cutlery.
posted by nickyskye at 5:12 PM on May 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

*Souperb post
posted by nickyskye at 6:35 PM on May 5, 2007

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