You’ve speared meat on your plate with one, you’ve shovelled grandma’s cake into your mouth with one, and every meal you’ve ever eaten you’ve probably used one. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about the fork! Originating well after the invention of the spoon and table knife, the fork is the goto kitchen utensil for eating. So why not learn a little more about the cutlery king and take a look at 25 facts about forks.
Fact 1: The Latin name for the Fork is “furca” However, this doesn’t directly translate into fork as it actually means pitchfork.
Fact 2: In the world of kitchenware, a fork is considered a utensil or part of the cutlery family. That includes things like spoons and table knives.
Fact 3: The table fork came into common use as early as the 10th century in the middle east. That’s over 1000 years ago!
Fact 4: Around 1300 BC, The Shang dynasty in ancient China used a very early form of a fork. It was often made of metal, decorated, and had only two prongs. They were most often used for cooking meat and serving it instead of for eating.
Fact 5: The fork was first adopted in the southern parts of Europe including Italy, the south of France, and Spain. However, the use of forks in northern Europe in areas such as Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain did not come into frequent use until the 18th Century.
Fact 6: Thomas Coryat, an English traveller and writer, first talked about the use of forks when eating while on his trip through Italy in 1611. However, even though he praised the fork for the ease in which you could “pluck a morsel of meat”, most of England thought the use of a fork was unmanly and that real men should just get stuck into a cooked carcass with their bare hands.
Fact 7: Forks have been made from metal for many centuries. The reason for this is, metal is more hardwearing and doesn’t break as easily. Plus metal is more hygienic. Metal utensils are easier to clean as they don’t have any cracks or crevasses to harbor bacteria as wood or bone does. Some modern one-time-use forks are made of wood. And, unfortunately, some one-time-use forks are made from plastic.
Fact 8: Modern forks did not become popular in North America until the American Revolution. Before then the primary utensils in use was the knife sheathed in one’s belt and fingers.
Fact 9: Archaeologists have discovered primitive bone forks that date back to 2400 BC. That makes them nearly as old as the pyramids at Giza: 4500 years old. The forks were discovered at sites that were home to the Bronze Age Qijia culture.
Fact 10: The standard four-prong design of the modern fork didn’t become standardized until well into the 19th century.
Fact 11: The table fork became increasingly popular in 11th century Italy. The reason for this is because of the rise in popularity, of all things, pasta. You see, pasta is difficult to eat. We’ve all been there: we’ve had a bowl full of spaghetti and slopped half of it down our front, and that’s with a fork. Imagine what it would’ve been like to eat spaghetti with a small pointy stick. Messy is what it would have been. To remedy this culinary crisis, Italians introduced the fork, so, instead of three-quarters of the spaghetti being spilt down their fronts, only half of it was! Result!
Fact 12: There’s a type of fork called a Sporf. It’s called a Sporf because it combines a spoon, a knife, and fork into one utensil. Cool right! But take care and watch those sharp edges on your lips as you shovel food in your mouth. We don’t want any accidents.
In response to the Sporf’s obvious hazardous nature, top designers put their minds together and thought of the perfect solution: they created the Spork. The spork instead mixes a spoon and fork into one extremely useful, and not to mention safe, utensil.
Fact 13: Fancy a basic description of a fork? Well, this is the fact for you. A fork is basically made up of a long handle that ends in a head that branches into several narrow, sharp (Well, sharpish), and curved prongs. These curved prongs can either be used to shovel food into your mouth, spear food, or to hold food while it’s being cut up.
Fact 14: St. Peter Damian, a writer for the Roman Catholic Church, decreed that the fork was an “excessive delicacy” and that God would look unfavorably upon their use.
Fact 15: In a dark and damp 2200-year-old Tomb form The ancient Chines Han Dynasty, a stone carving depicts a dinning scene were a number of two-pronged forks are hanging on a wall.
Fact 16: If you were invited around to some fancy rich person’s house in 17th century Italy, and you didn’t bring your own fork and spoon, you weren’t eating! In old-world Italy, you’d be expected to bring your own fork and spoon in a boxset called a Cadena to any tea-party. If you didn’t you’d be refused your meal.
Fact 17: The good old table fork had almost come into universal use among the upper classes of Italian culture by the 17th century. Unfortunately, the poor peasants that roamed the country had to make do with using their grubby fingers to claw meat and bread off their plates.
Fact 18: The Persians of antiquity were a particularly classy bunch. While 8th century primitive Europeans were still largely wallowing in mud huts, the Persians were living the fine-dining life with ornate bronze forks and cutlery. That’s about 500 years before the Italians thought it would be a good idea to start using these fork-things to slurp up their spaghetti!
Fact 19: A Sucket fork (Don’t blame me, I didn’t name it.) is a utensil with prongs at one end of the handle and a spoon at the other. It was used for eating things that were both solid and had juices like soups. You could spear the meat and veg in the soup, and then spoon the juice into your mouth. Brilliant!
Fact 20: It wasn’t until halfway through the 18th century that the British made common use of the fork. Which is surprising considering most upper-class Brits like a fine dining experience and have done for centuries.
Fact 21: The prongs on a fork are actually called tins. But I call them prongs because that’s what everyone calls them.
Fact 22: Persians in the 9th century used a utensil similar to fork called a barjyn.
Fact 23: Ancient Egyptians used large metal forks to aid them in cooking. However, they were not used when eating.
Fact 24: There are at least 35 different fork types.
Fact 25: The World’s largest fork can be found in the town of Springfield, Missouri, in the USA. Found outside an office building, of all places, the colossal fork is 10.6 meters tall. As far as anybody knows, nobody has ever tried eating with it.