November Zoom

The first and most-used utensil since the dawn of humans has been the hand. Then came the knife, first fashioned out of rocks at least 2.5 million years ago. Rudimentary spoons, such as repurposed shells were also used since the dawn of man. Forks (from the Latin furca, meaning, “pitchfork.”) didn’t come along until ancient Greece, where they were designed to hold meat steady, making carving easier. The fork was first seen in the Byzantine Middle East by the 7th century AD, and then gradually spread through Europe, to England by the 16th century. In each of the Old World locales, it was the wealthy that embraced the fork, and it was seen as a status symbol and thus many were fashioned out of precious metals with elaborate decorations. The fork took hold in America by the 1850s where its usage was more egalitarian and where the fork/spoon hybrid spork was popularized in the 20th century. For most of the history of the fork, it had two flat tines. This design proved to be ineffective in spearing and scooping small pieces of food, so by the 18th century, the now-familiar 4-curved-tines design became the norm. –Words: Michael Isenbek, Photo: Stephen Lang

michael isenbek

Michael Isenbek, Associate Editor, dabbles in both fiction and nonfiction writing, coordinates the Pulse event listings and writes the text for "Zoom," among other editorial tasks. He has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Journalism from SUNY Empire State College.