Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Sporks and Forks.

I am not too sure how I feel about sporks. You know what they are, I am sure: an eating utensil that combines the features and functions of both a spoon and a fork, specifically designed for those occasions when one hand is required to hold a plate. The only time that I can see that this is absolutely necessary is when one is required to eat standing up, away from a table-like surface, which is not something I choose to do. I prefer to be sitting comfortably when I eat. And in any case, no matter how efficiently the spork enables one to wander around while one eats, it does not free up a hand for a glass of wine, so what is the point?

The word 'spork' appeared first in 1909, in a dictionary supplement, but a utensil combining the functionality of the spoon, fork and knife was first patented in 1874, by Samuel W. Francis. Patents for other 'cutting spoons' followed over the next few decades, and indeed, variations on the theme continue to pop up, whether we need them or not.

'Fork suppers' and 'fork luncheons' were fashionable iin the 1930's, and The Times of London had some suggestions and recipes for them in an article on Meals in the Garden, in August 1938.

Mayonnaise of Turbot.
Flake about 1 1/2 lb of cold boiled turbot; add a little chopped tarragon and chervil, pour over 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls of vinaigrette dressing: 2 parts oil, one part vinegar, salt and pepper. Leave to stand for ten minutes. Meanwhile coarsely shred the hearts of two or three lettuces. Put the shredded lettuce in a deep dish; sprinkle with dressing and cover with turbot. Mask completely with mayonnaise, spread this with a palette knife. Trim with a trellis of anchovy fillets, border with quarters of hard-boiled eggs, sliced tomatoes, and gherkins cut fan-shaped; top with an olive. Sprinkle all over with parsley.

Quotation for the Day.

Is it progress if a cannibal uses a knife and fork?
Stanislaw Lee.


Les said...

I didn't realize sporks had such a venerable history.

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

I was surprised to see, in a late-Victorian mail-order catalog or some similar document, something called an ice-cream spoon, that looked to me just like a spork! In silver with a fancy handle, no less!