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Small forks used for eating first appeared in Tuscany in the 11th century, but they were still a rarity in Italy by the 14th century. Kitchen forks trace their origins back to the time of the Greeks. These forks were fairly large with two tines that aided in the carving and serving of meat. The tines prevented meat from twisting or moving during carving and allowed food to slide off more easily than it would with a knife. From the 10th through the 13th Centuries, forks were fairly common among the wealthy in Byzantium. In the 11th Century the Venetian Doge, Domenico Selvo, married a Greek princess who brought the practice of eating with forks to his court.

This was regarded as a scandalous and heretical affectation, and when she died shortly after it is perceived as a divine punishment. During the reign of Charles V of France to forks are listed in his inventory of plate, but it is specified that they are only to be used when eating foods that might otherwise stain the fingers. The French, too, were slow to accept forks, like the Italians, using them was thought to be an affectation. In , according to a French manners book, different customs evolved in different European countries. For eating soup, Germans are known for using spoons, Italians are known for using forks presumably the fork assists in eating solid ingredients and the remaining liquid is drunk out of the bowl as it was in the Middle Ages.

The Germans and Italians provide a knife for each diner, while the French provide only two or three communal knives for the whole table. An Englishman named Thomas Coryate brought the first forks to England around after seeing them in Italy during his travels in The English ridiculed forks as being effeminate and unnecessary. Slowly, however, forks came to be adopted by the wealthy.

They were prized possessions made of expensive materials intended to impress guests.

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Small, slender-handled forks with two tines were generally used for sweet, sticky foods or for foods such as berries which were likely to stain the fingers. By the mid s, eating with forks was considered fashionable among wealthy British. Forks used solely for dining were luxuries and thus markers of social status and sophistication among nobles.

The upper classes of Spain were also using forks in the 16th Century.

Rules of dining etiquette

They begin to be made blunt at the end. In late 17th Century France, larger forks with four curved tines were developed. The additional tines made diners less likely to drop food, and the curved tines served as a scoop so people did not have to constantly switch to a spoon while eating.

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By the early 19th Century, multi-tined forks had also been developed in Germany and England and slowly began to spread to America. In the early 18th century, the four-tined fork has become the rule in Germany. In England, however, forks still have two tines and are not so helpful for scooping up bites of food.

Etiquette at the table: The position of the cutlery and its correct use

Tomato servers, sardine forks, jelly knives, and cheese scoops are among the many elaborations in silverware. In the s it was acceptable at the table to use the serviette to also wipe off all utensils, as well as greasy fingers and lips. Maybe someone got tired of washing all those huge serviettes, since people were encouraged to first wipe their fingers on a hunk of bread. As the use of forks rather than fingers become popular the less large napkins were needed, and they became smaller. It is the period of time beginning with year one of the Gregorian calendar.

Search for:. The Fascinating Origins Of Dining Utensils Prehistoric diners used sharp stones, some made sharper by chipping to cut food. In the 1st Century CE, the Romans designed two types of spoons.

During the Middle Ages, spoons, generally made of wood or horn were supplied by dinner hosts. While it may sound unlikely how can four different forks be more convenient than one?

Eating Utensils History and Facts

The idea is that each utensil elegantly serves a single purpose. That was far different from even, say, the Elizabethan era, where folks where customarily armed with only a knife and spoon that travelled with them [source: Murphy ]. When the fork made its common appearance on the scene in the 18th century, the entire table setting started to spiff up: napkins folded in complicated shapes appeared and the wealthy classes began to have sets of silver in their home to show off status [source: Murphy ].

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  2. Nearly 400 years later, the fork remains at the center of American dining controversy.
  3. Why do formal meals include so much silverware?.
  4. And how does a wealthy person show off status? By having more.

    Guide to Japanese Table Manners

    More silver forks, spoons, plates, knives and glassware. Instead of asking a guest to bring along their boring spoon and fork, you could now magnanimously provide them.

    To display your enormous riches and sophistication, you can even offer multiple versions of the same utensil that serves its own purpose in the dining room. Essentially, formal meals include a lot of silverware because the idea was the hosts had a lot of silverware to provide. Absolutely not.

    Etiquette at the table: The position of the cutlery and its correct use

    But who among us doesn't get that little thrill when they see they've been provided with their very own tiny fork to skewer the shrimp cocktail? What is common R. Why does it matter which fork you use? Why is it rude to stare? Formal dinners can be stuffy, but remember your manners - and why each piece of silverware is necessary.

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