A Fork

While I was resting this afternoon after making some changes in my appartment, I decided to finish a big bowl of strawberries that remained from yesterday :chef: Usually, I would read something on the Internet or clearing my watchlist here, slowly picking big red juicy fruits with a fork – my favourite way of eating them ๐Ÿ˜€
Then I remembered something. People in Serbia like to brag that in times of Serbian king Stefan Nemanja aristocracy were using fork and knives made of gold while in the most European courts nobility used hands. The story goes back in 1189. while Frederick I Barbarossa, on his journey to Holy land for a Third Crusade War, spent some time as a guest in a court of Stefan Nemanja in town of Nis. Even though it was signifficant meeting for Serbian royal family, details of meeting are not well known today. Except for the story that, while Barbarossa used his hands during dinner, Serbian king used fork and knife.
Modern historians says that story about fork goes back in times of ancient Greeks and Hebrews; also there are numerous examples throughout European museums about forks used by Romans in 2nd century; forks made of bones were used in Chinese dynasties and metal ones were found in Iran (used in 8th or 9th century). So, Serbian aristocracy probably inherited them as a part of polite ceremony, probably from Byzantine court. Later, it was introduced in Italy (in 11th and especially from 14th till 17th century, when upper merchant classes esed it). Fork`s spreading across northern Europe was somewhat slower; partly because the Roman Catholic Church disapproved its use: "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."
Some sources said that forks were used in England, France and Sweden during 17th century while the others say that it became common in England in 18th century. Fork that is used in most of the world today, was developed in Germany in the mid 18th century. The standard four-tine ones were made in the early nineteenth century.
Forks today are inseparable part of every household and restaurant in the world. They are made mostly of metal (rarely of precious metals) and of course – which is annoying – of plastic. The most difficult ones to handle are those used in airplanes, but after September 11th, they became inevitability.

One more curiosity: while handling a fork, in USA it is custom to hold it with tines curving up (American style) while in Europe it is usually held with the tines curving down (continental style). They are used for art, too ๐Ÿ˜€

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98 Responses to A Fork

  1. sanshan says:

    Columbus did not discover America.

  2. sanshan says:

    Oh, btw Dare, nice post. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. SittingFox says:

    Such culture connected to a fork! :eyes: Interesting though. You find interesting blog posts out of the most everyday things :DI'm not sure I'd want to eat with the one on the far right though…

  4. LorenzoCelsi says:

    I add to your interesting post: many uses of the classical age were lost in the western part of the roman empire after it collapsed and it was occupied and ruled by the migrating german tribes. While you know the eastern part formally lasted for other 1000 years preserving many elements. Some parts of the classical age culture were then re-imported in the west following the slow collapse of Bizantium, both because of trades and because of migration of people, especially intellectuals from Bisantium to the West. It is not an accident that Bisantium fells the turk besiege in 1453 and Columbus discovers America in 1492, making the conventional end of the middle ages.The story of europe and middle east during the middle ages (and including the clash with the muslim – turk world) was conditioned by the difficult relations between the "latin" (who were actually germans) and the "greeks", that lead ultimately to the inability to communicate and cooperate for common goals.

  5. LorenzoCelsi says:

    With two it is a twork.

  6. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Probably not since he found it was already populated by people, later called "indians" because he thought to be arrived in India.It is said he "discovered" America because he came back to Europe and history we study at school was written by european historians who worked for european kings.If we had chronicles written by the "natives" probably Columbus and followers were just invaders.And yes, there are some remains someplace in Canada if I remember it well that probably are those of a viking village. It is also probable that the vikings "discovered" America as well but the news were not reported.BTW, basically all the continents were already populated when they were "discovered" by Europeans. For example Australia. Even islands lost in the middle of the ocean were populated. It seems humans are very good explorers and colonizers.

  7. LorenzoCelsi says:

    Actually also the vikings probably found "natives" in America so technically they did not discover it. Who knows how they named them. :)There is this theory about asians migrating to America walking on ice during some ice age… But who knows, maybe it was some people coming on rafts across the ocean like the Kon-tiki…Darko, you forget the most important thing at the time, GOLD. The use of most vegetables like tomatoes, chocolate, potatoes and so on, was discovered some time later.We must also consider that the Spaniards who colonized America first had just ended a centuries long war against the muslims for "re-taking" Spain and then their state of mind (including their local Church) was pretty aggressive when it came to deal with different cultures.

  8. gdare says:

    Adele, I think you remember my post about chairs :lol:Lorenzo, 15th century was a great change in history of mankind. Well, the most of it. Cultures were erased in one paert of the world while on the other new discoveries were made. Even though it was probably the Vikings that discovered American continent much before Columbus, the later made it more important, bringing fruits and vegetables and other specimen of different cultures to old Europe :up:San, thank you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. sanshan says:

    Yes I know this, you don't have to tell me.

  10. sanshan says:

    Wouldn't it be funny to see a forklift lift a crate of forks? ๐Ÿ™„

  11. BryanCox says:

    If it only has three tines, is it called a Threek?

  12. LorenzoCelsi says:

    You know Americans are fond of "world biggest […]".I am told this is a sculpture in Springfield.It must be close to the nuclear plant where Homer works. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Spaggyj says:

    Very informative, Dark. I like ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. L2D2 says:

    They are right Dare—I love the way you take mundane, everyday items or event and make an interesting post of it. I knew some of this info about forks, but not all this. I remember the first time I ever saw anyone eat with fork in left hand and knife in right—I had arrived in France from Texas and my upstairs neighbor was a GI living with a girl from London suburbs. First time I saw her eat, I just sat there with my mouth open and watched as she deftly shoved peas onto her fork with her knife. Never understood how they ever get the food to their mouth with fork upside down! Still don't. Fork on far right is cooking fork. And in American history, we learn that Leif Ericsson was the one who actually first discovered America.

  15. gdare says:

    San, forklift is probably a mother of all forks :lol:Bryan, ๐Ÿ˜† welcome to my blog BTW :cheers:Lorenzo, a good one ๐Ÿ˜†

  16. LorenzoCelsi says:

    The problem is what I wrote above. The Vikings did not have "historians", they had the "saga", basically a story where real facts and myths mix, something like the greek homeric poems.The one about America is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gr%C5%93nlendinga_sagaIt seems it was put in written form only about 1200 and tells about events of 300 years before. Like the Homer's poems were put in definitive written form only during the hellenistic period (the age of Alexander).Anyway, it does not matter much because, like I said, America was already populated by natives. It is like somebody one day rings my bell and says he "discovered" my house. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. L2D2 says:

    And an Italian, Amerigo Vespucci, for whom America was named.

  18. edwardpiercy says:

    Ah, the cultural history of the fork. On of the most difficult topics around. Seriously. ๐Ÿ˜† No, I really mean seriously, I've looked into to it a bit. You've done a great job putting it all together. Love the fork art. :yes:BTW here's my favorite fork. :p

  19. gdare says:

    Kimmie, thank you :)Linda, sometimes there is interesting story (or history) about our everyday life and some usual things and I like to search through it. Thanks :)Amerigo Vespucci, but of course :doh:Lorenzo,Originally posted by LorenzoCelsi:

    t is like somebody one day rings my bell and says he "discovered" my house.

    :lol:Ed, this is one very nice fork you have. How old is it? And what about that post about your favourite tie? I would like to read it :yes:

  20. edwardpiercy says:

    On behalf of my fork, I thank you. :lol:I don't know where I got it — the provenance is lost in the mists of time.Never did the tie post. At least not yet. When I get desperate enough… :p

  21. Dacotah says:

    Well this is my "learn something new everyday". Never knew anything about forks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Suntana says:

    Used for Art too, Eh? ::: Goes and checks ::: :doh: That so wasn't what I thought it was going to be. In my case, it depends on what I'm eating as to whether I use North American Style or European Style. And sometimes it's a combo of both. For example, when eating Enchiladas, I probably use more of the European style. I'll just be cutting the pieces and eating them from the fork in my left hand, without transferring the fork to the right hand. However, I do NOT grasp the fork European style. And I don't grasp it like a freakin' pen either! :eyes: :yikes: Is there someone who does?Pancakes … I'll cut up all the pancakes first with fork in left hand and knife in right. Once it's just a mess of chopped up pieces, then I do switch the fork to the right hand.And then there are other foods that I probably do utilize the North American style more. It's just whatever feels right at the time. Consequently, I sometimes swap between both styles while eating the same course.

  23. Stardancer says:

    Great post, Darko.:up:

  24. ellinidata says:

    Poseidon was the first that is documented holding a fork. It is also well known as Trident (A long, three-pronged fork or weapon, especially a three-pronged spear used for fishing. )later it was used in Greek households and Romans did adopt it too! when I was baptized my godmother gave me silver fork/spoon and knife as a present with a golden cross. I lost the cross growing up but I still have the three silver utensils :)thanks for a great entry Darko :up:

  25. edwardpiercy says:

    Yeah and Poseidon used the big fork to eat big tuna. It's true!:)

  26. KYren says:

    In india we eat with hands. ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. Dacotah says:


  28. ellinidata says:

    the old days every girl had to have in her dowry silverwear and lots of handcrafts :)golden lira too! prosperity and wealth in life… the dowry does not exist any long, and the silver wear became stainless steal Oneida these days! ๐Ÿ˜† I wouldn't mind for some gold however! did you see the price of it yesterday? wow! the highest ever! I was amazed!

  29. ellinidata says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    I have entire set at my home

    w00t! that stands for an invitation! what's for dinner on Sunday evening? ๐Ÿ˜†

  30. gdare says:

    Ed, I have only one tie in my possesion, so it would be interesting to read a post from someone having a big experience with them :yes:Carol, this is because we use them on a daily basis and never pay much attention to them. It is like that with so many things in our lives. pens, for instance. Or needles… :DCarlos, I needed to google enchiladas to understand what are you talking about ๐Ÿ˜€ When I am in a public place I would use fork in my left and knife in right hand, European style most of the time. In private, sometimes I use it with right hand. It depends on a food as well. At home, I would use my natural forks when eating pancakes: my fingers :lol:Angeliki, that thing about giving silver utensils to a kid is interesting. It represents a wish for you to have a rich and easy life, right? In Serbia we would usually give a gold coin, or something made of gold for girls, earrings or chain. Interesting :up:Kiran, I know. Once my coleague and me went to Indian restaurant in Belgrade and they asked us if we would eat using forks and knives or traditional way. I was :eyes: when they explained what traditional way is. We choosed fork/knife version, otherwise it would became messy ๐Ÿ˜† But I ate once by hands in a dinner that my friend organised. He is married with a woman from Pakistan and they prepared food with some kind of tortillas (I don`t know its name) and we weretaking food to mouth with that. But a food was licking good so no one complained :yes:

  31. gdare says:

    I guess stainless steel would do these days :lol::sst: I have entire set at my home ๐Ÿ˜†

  32. qlue says:

    Darko, the Indian/Pakistan 'tortilla' is called a 'Roti' and it's pronounced, 'raw-tea' :up:.

  33. edwardpiercy says:

    @ AngelikiYou really SHOULD fly over and have dinner with Darko! He could serve you up some of that great Serbian sausage I'd bet. :up:

  34. gdare says:

    Angeliki, we have becar paprikas :chef:Aadil, thanks, maybe his wife told me but I forgot :doh:Ed, as I said, becar paprikas :yes:

  35. gdare says:

    Carlos, usually it is melted chocolate or plum jam or apricot jam :chef: It`s finger licking good :yes:

  36. Suntana says:

    Are you serious, Darko?At home, you use … you use …You use your :left: :right: FINGERS to eat pancakes? :eyes:My … that's a very informal home. Whew! That sounds like it could be really messy! You do put butter and syrup on pancakes, don't you?

  37. Suntana says:

    Well, no syrup, but the melted chocolate is probably just as messy as the syrup.A possible predicament entered my mind, but then I remembered you said you only did this at home. But, just for giggles, this was the thought that entered my mind.There you'd be … eating pancakes with your fingers at a restaurant. Your fingers would of course be all messy and sticky. Suddenly you'd see Liv Tyler walk into the restaurant. Your instinct would be to suddenly run your fingers through your hair to make sure your hair was NOT disheveled. But, OMG! Oh :no: You have melted chocolate and jam all over your fingers. AND some of your hair is out of place! What are you going to do? Liv Tyler is walking your way! :insane:

  38. gdare says:

    Sugar mixed with cinnamon or..? Sounds interesting :chef:

  39. qlue says:

    Cinnamon sugar is the South African way to eat a pancake. :yes:.

  40. gdare says:

    I would grab one pancake and offer it to her. I bet she would accept it and eat it using her fingers good. She looks like a person who would appreciate a good fingerlicking chocolate covered pancake :chef:

  41. Suntana says:

    Ohhh, Okay. I guess that would work too, Darko.I thought for sure you were going to say that you'd put your arm around her and start serenading her as you let her lick the chocolate off your fingers.

  42. gdare says:

    It`s a nice thought Carlos ๐Ÿ˜†

  43. sanshan says:


  44. gdare says:


  45. Suntana says:

    Well, on the Star Trek: Next Gen Holodeck … it can become reality! :headbang:

  46. ellinidata says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    ou are having becar paprikas??? No kidding???

    hells yeah!!!!!!!!!!! :cheers: I love the coincidence! ๐Ÿ˜† Also that Serbian and Greek cuisine are very much alike! w00t!

  47. gdare says:


  48. ellinidata says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    Angeliki, we have becar paprikas

    :eyes:holly crapola! I have axactly the same meal! ROFL ahahahahaha you are not a copycat ,are you! ๐Ÿ˜† thanks for the invitation Darko! it sure makes me feel special! :up:

  49. ellinidata says:

    Originally posted by edwardpiercy:

    He could serve you up some of that great Serbian sausage I'd bet.

    Eddie,you know I am ๐Ÿ˜ฎ vegetarian …in the whole meaning of the word! but i know about Serbian hospitality !

  50. gdare says:

    And this post started as one about forks ๐Ÿ˜€

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