#459 Forks

Once upon a time we didn’t have forks.

Yes, our ancient ancestors were forced to scoop saber-tooth tiger brains out with twigs, hold woolly mammoth meat over the fire with spears, and eat prehistoric pies with a spoon.

According to our egghead pals at Wikipedia, although the Ancient Greeks used forks as a serving utensil it took until the 10th century for them to become popular in Western Europe. Before then, Westerners only had spoons and knives. Most people chowed down with their hands, some shared a group spoon, and rich folks dined holding two knives, making them look like Raphael from ninja turtles.

Forks became a huge hit in Italy first, which was perfect because before then properly swirled spaghetti was just part of an imagined future, sitting in dreamy thought bubbles above sleeping children. Back then guests were expected to bring their own fancy fork in a box called a cadena if they were coming over for dinner. As you can imagine, it was important to spot the BYOF fine print on dinner party invites from the king’s castle.

Now, these days forks are everywhere: plastic-wrapped in airplanes, dented and stained in dining halls, and shined up in fancy restaurants. Most of us even have a drawer full of forks in our homes, turning a rich man’s prized possession a few hundred years ago into something the kids leave under the basement couch after eating dinner and playing video games.

And I think we all know how important forks still are to our twenty-first century society.

People, let’s all hold hands here today and celebrate the power of the fork. Whether we’re holding a tough piece of steak in place,  slicing the tip off a piece of pie, or criss-crossing the top of some peanut butter cookies, let’s not forget how far the noble fork has come to help us all completely stuff our faces.


— Email message —

“I’m a massive fan of 1000 Awesome Things, it is really, really wonderful. I garden little potholes around East London where I live, which hopefully puts smiles on people’s faces and brightens their day too. Cheers!” – Steve, aka The Pothole Gardener

Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

67 thoughts on “#459 Forks

  1. Yay for being up late and catching the awesome thing of the day really early!

    The only thing better than forks are sporks.
    Those need to be an awesome thing.

    1. “Spork”… that’s spiced pork, right? Yeah, it’s like Spam, isn’t it? Comes in a can, good on rye bread.

      Mmm, spork. Not sure what they have to do with forks though…

      1. I’m not really sure if you’re kidding or not. Sorry I’m not good at detecting sarcasm online ha.

        A spork is a combination of a fork and a spoon.

        1. “Spoon”… that’s spice loon, right? Yeah, it’s like Spam (and Spork), but is made from a popular northern aquatic bird, isn’t it? Comes in a can, good on multigrain bread.

          Mmm, spoon. Not sure what they have to do with forks though…


    2. I have to disagree. I know Sporks are all the rage and are really cool in theory, and Spork is a fantastic word, but the second you try to use one, all semblances of awesomeness are out the window. It is IMPOSSIBLE.

      1. “Mmm, spoon, not sure what they have to do with forks though…”

        LOL. Spiced Loon.

        Good one.

  2. I fully appreciate forks and am beyond thankful that using two knives is no longer the conventional means of food consumption. Although … Raphael DOES make it look pretty cool …

    The invention and appreciation of forks reminds me of the part in The Little Mermaid when Ariel uses the fork (aka dinglehopper) to comb her hair. :)

    POTHOLE GARDENING?! No way! That would definitely brighten my day. Awesome!

  3. Oh my. The email is more awesome than the the entry (no offense, Neil. I love your blog & book). Whatever will Lindsay think of this?

  4. Yes, I’m with Helene…sporks are also awesome.

    And chopsticks are cool.

    But, at the end of the day (or rather, all through it), it’s the fork we reach for.


  5. Holy crap. Pothole gardening? That’s freakin’ AWESOME!! Seriously, that’s like the best idea ever!

    And yes, where would we be without forks, spoons, and everything in between…

    Ya know, namely sporks. ;)

  6. Hey. I don’t think this is an entry, but what about when you run through a yellow light and the relief that someone BEHIND you ran it, also.

    That happened to me today and I thought about how awesome it was…

  7. How else would I eat my awesome spaghetti without a fork? Have you ever tried it with a spoon. As a former broke college student let me say I have and I ended up using my hands…they are much like a fork with an aposable thumb :-)

  8. Pothole gardening…how cute is that? I would love to see that!

    My husband has to use the forks with the short prongs otherwise he will poke himself….how do you do that? Forks are awesome. They do make eating much easier. And they make eating less messy…if we had to use our hands all the time. Sometimes I see people eating things with a knife and fork that was meant to be eaten by hand. My ex-boss use to eat donuts with a knife and fork. One of my ex bf’s use to eat pizza that way too. My step mom uses a fork for everything…bugers, hot dogs, sandwiches..you name it…I guess she really loves her forks. :-)

  9. I seldom use forks, but they are awesome friends for spoons. When there are special occasions, and plates are arranged on the table, and spoons are placed on the right side ( my culture) people will question ” Where are the forks??” so forks must be there on the left side to accompany the spoons for the perfect art of table manner:D Does it make sense?
    Forks are as awesome as you!


      Nicely done, jdurley.

      And don’t forget about one of my favorite Forks:

      Taylor Lautner’s Abs..


      …Wait a second, that doesn’t make any sense at all!

      Still though, who’s with me?

  10. Awesome #1 – I started reading this just as I picked up a fork to eat my lunch

    Awesome #2 – I’m a big fan of the pothole gardener. It’s awesome that he’s a fan of you too.

  11. “It looks like the murderer attacks his victims with various cutlery and kitchen utensils.

    I guess you could say that he is one guy…

    *puts on sunglasses*

    …you don’t want to “fork” around with.”


    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEK0UZH4cs

      Well, at the end of your life, you are lucky if you die.

      Sometimes I wonder why I would even try.

      I saw a man lying on the street half dead, he had knives and forks sticking out of his leg he said, “Ahh ahh ahh ahhhhhhhhwww! Can somebody get the knife and fork out of my leg, please?!”

      Ooh, could somebody please remove these cutleries from my knees

      Yeah yeeeahhh

      1. I heart Tiffany. I also heart Flight of the Conchords.

        I totally had this song stuck in my head while I was writing my post.

        My favorite part of that song?

        They’re turning kids into slaves just to make cheaper sneakers
        But what’s the real cost, ’cause the sneakers don’t seem that much cheaper
        Why are we still paying so much for sneakers when you got ’em made by little slave kids..
        What are your overheads?

        1. Freddo and Tiffany, I think you’re my new favorite people-who-I-will-most-likely-never-actually-meet.
          My favorite part is:

          “Good cops been framed and put into a can.
          All the money that we’re making is going to the man.
          What man? Which man? Who’s the man? When’s a man a man? What makes a man a man? Am I a man?
          Yes. Technically I am.”

      1. I just realized that didn’t really make sense. I was reffering to Freddo’s first comment up there. :)

  12. Properly swirled spaghetti? Does that have its own Awesome entry yet? Because it definitely needs one! :)

  13. i dont know if im the only one out there, but i have a confession to make….

    for some strange reason… i dont like big forks…
    you know the ones with really long ‘teeth’ (i spose you could call them)

    everybody i know thinks im weird… but am i really the only one?

    1. I agree with Simone. I like using smaller forks. The only thing I don’t like about forks is the screechy/graty[is that even a word] sound people make when they bite the fork. Sets my teeth on edge every time.

  14. :D GO FORKS GO! Just don’t poke me in the eye…

    “egghead pals at Wikipedia…” It gets more hilarious every time! :D

    1. That’s so weird that you said that … like five or six years ago, my dad poked me in the eye with a fork (unintentionally!)

      We were both in the kitchen ducking and dodging one another. I turned around to grab something from the counter, and he was absently holding a fork while looking in the fridge (ok ok, so I guess *technically* I put my eye onto the fork, but who’s keeping track?). Luckily I wear contacts … it completely sliced my lens, but (as far as I know) did no damage to my eyeball. Close call though!

      1. Like we used to say when we were kids:

        It’s only funny until someone loses an eye.
        …then it’s hilarious.

        No, but seriously, that was a close call, Laura! Yikes!

  15. I gave my fork a real hard look today after reading this. Then I kissed it in appreciation and used a spoon cause you can’t use a fork to eat ice cream.

    1. I actually have a friend who uses a fork to eat her ice cream, and refuses to use a spoon. =p

  16. Agreed Forks are cool – however check out the children’s book “Spoon” by Amy Rosenthal to get the complete perspective and see that spoons are pretty awesome also.

  17. I must say the fork is my instrument of choice at most meals.

    I love the fan email on this one. Pothole gardening is wicked cool. I’m going to have to search out some potholes and give it a try. Might be hard around here though, the department of transportation does a pretty good job.

  18. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite entry so far! Something so simple, so unappreciated in life, yet so AWESOME! Also, it’s really funny that people used to carry around their forks to dinner parties and such.

  19. An awesome thing I discovered last night after going to Canada’s Wonderland and riding a bunch of roller coasters…when you’re trying to sleep after a day at the theme park but you feel like you’re still on the rides!
    Best feeling in the world!

  20. How odd that I am eating a grinder as I read this post about forks. I am not using one right now, but yes, I do appreciate them.

  21. How could you do a brief history of forks and miss out the man that bought them back to England in the 17th century? :P

  22. Dunno if I should admit this, but used to make multi-lane roads in my mashed potatoes with a fork. In my defense that was over half a century ago.

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