Knives and forks

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by cape chef, Apr 7, 2002.

  1. cape chef

    cape chef

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    I was reading something interesting today about the 5 textural categories of medievel food.

    It made me think of how the developement of table cutlery influenced the way food was prepared, I mean..didn't forks make it to the table after the spoon and the knife?

    So how did the fork impact the cooks?
     
  2. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, CC, the fork is the newcomer to cutlery set, though it was used in medevil times for serving, just not for eating. I will have to see if I can find when the fork made to the dinner table.
     
  3. compassrose

    compassrose

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    The fork was used in Italy by the Renaissance, but didn't make it to England until Eleanor of Aquitaine, when it was long scorned as an effete foreign silliness. Think it was round the sixteenth century that it really caught on in Britain. ('Course, I'm pulling these times more or less out of my b*tt, as I am without reference right now.)

    I also find it interesting that until quite late on, people actually brought their own cutlery. You came pre-supplied with knife, spoon and drinking cup.

    A lot of medieval and early-Renaissance eating was done with the fingers. There's some great stuff in early etiquette manuals, about how to eat decently in company, how many fingers to dip, when to wipe and so on. It's such a huge myth that the medievals were big pigs -- almost as big a myth as the one about how "they used lots of spices because all their food was spoiled."
     
  4. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    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.

    By the 7th Century A.D., royal courts of the Middle East began to use forks at the table for dining. From the 10th through the 13th Centuries, forks were fairly common among the wealthy in Byzantium, and in the 11th Century, a Byzantine wife of a Doge,named Domenico Selvo, of Venice brought forks to Italy.
    The same lady, had the habbit to brush her teeth , and bath her self everyday, a habbit that Greeks have since 2.500 and for the same reason the West considered them immoral...( You know why, or you want me to clarify this further...)

    The Italians, however, were slow to adopt their use. It was not until the 16th Century that forks were widely adopted in Italy.

    In 1533, forks were brought from Italy to France when Catherine de Medicis married the future King Henry II. The French, too, were slow to accept forks, because using them was thought to be an affectation

    According to Henri Petrosky,An Englishman named Thomas Coryate brought the first forks back toiEngland after seeing them in Italy during his travels in 1608.

    The English ridiculed forks as being effeminate and unnecessary. "Why should a person need a fork when God had given him hands?" they asked.
    Slowly, however, forks came to be adopted by the wealthy.

    They were prized possessions made of expensive materials intended to impress guests. Small, slender-handled forks with two tines were generally used for sweet, sticky foods or for food (like mulberries) which was likely to stain the fingers.

    By the mid 1600s, eating with forks like those to the right was considered fashionable among the wealthy British. Forks used solely for dining were luxuries and thus markers of social status and sophistication among nobles

    Early table forks were modeled after kitchen forks; two fairly long and widely spaced tines ensured that meat would not twist while being cut.
    This style of fork was soundly designed, but small pieces of food regularly fell through the tines or slipped off easily.

    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. By the early 19th Century, four-tined forks like the ones pictured to the left had also been developed in Germany and England and slowly began to spread to America.

    Bibliography
    ( Note that I used just the books I have at home there must be many many more)

    Giblin, James Cross. From Hand to Mouth: Or, How We Invented Knives, Forks, Spoons, and Chopsticks & the Table Manners To Go With Them. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1987.

    Henisch, Bridget Ann. Fast and Feast: Food In Medieval Society. University Park and London: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1976.

    Petroski, Henry. The Evolution of Useful Things. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.
     
  5. cape chef

    cape chef

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    This is wonderful imformation.

    I really appreciate these detialed replys.

    Next, I am going to try to find out more about table manners in the early days

    Thanks again :)
     
  6. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    :lol: Cape Chef

    Keep a pace because I am running after you!!!!!
     
  7. kimmie

    kimmie

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    The Rituals of Dinner : The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities, and Meaning of Table Manners
    by Margaret Visser

    amazon.com

    also Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things

    Chapter 4 At the Table
    Table Manners, Fork, Spoon, Knife, Napkin, Chopsticks, Western Etiquette Books, Children's Manners, Emily Post, Wedgwood Ware, Stainless- Steel Cutlery, Table Talk
     
  8. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Kimmie,

    Thank you very much for your help
    cc
     
  9. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Don't mention it!
     
  10. jim berman

    jim berman

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    The Visser book is a great read... especially humorous section on children's table manners. I saw a few copies on eBay for a few sheckles... worth it!
     
  11. marzoli

    marzoli

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    This thread gives me some good stuff to throw into my lectures in World History next week--we're looking at 16th century France. Should hold their interest.
    Thanks guys.
     
  12. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Hey Marztoli!!!

    Please!! Don't be so easily satisfied!!!

    Bring us issues here to search.

    Those people here, managed to trace who was the Marie that gave her name to the double boiler " Bain-Marie"We are able to trace every extravagant taste of any Luis ... :)