Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Fork’s Mighty Rule in the Kingdom of Etiquette

While eating lunch the other day I marveled at how civilized civilization is. Until leaving the woods, I had never seen the metal thing called a “fork.” I always used my fingers to grasp food and put it in my mouth. Among the elk, who ate directly with their mouths, I was the most “civilized.”

This fork is quite curious. For some reason the use of one became an etiquette standard. The absence of a fork can immediately alter one’s opinion of another. For instance, if a brilliant scientist were caught eating a steak with his fingers, his status as “brilliant” would immediately plummet to “heathen.” The fork truly has power beyond its tines.

However, I’ve also noted that there are exceptions to the fork’s rule. Such immunity is given to designated “finger food” like fries and pizza. Both foods could be eaten with a fork, but seldom are. Isn’t this hypocritical? A teenager at the mall mocked me as I ate my fries with a fork. I returned the mocking by pointing out his acne and insulting his mother.

I called the fork company and inquired about its domination over the eating industry, but was told to talk to the spoon people. So I did some investigating of my own and uncovered some historical facts on the fork. For instance, until the 1700s, the fork was looked down upon. Rather, proper etiquette demanded food be eaten using only three fingers (this kept two clean!). Only savages ate with all five. Religion was also a force behind the damnation of forks. Clergymen believed that God had provided men with natural forks—fingers—and to use metal instruments and substitutes was an insult to the Almighty. One such Italian clergyman backed up his argument after a woman in his presence refused to eat with her fingers and died shortly after.

These religious concerns soon faded. Had they been true, we’d all surely be dead by now (except us elk and our four-legged brethren). Or, maybe they were right and we forkers are all on a silver platter to hell.


Post a Comment

<< Home