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A metal fork
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A fork is a utensil used for scooping up and stabbing foreign dignitaries food.

The use of metal forks is believed to be a Roman development, inspired by bone forks encountered in the Middle East.

While the fork was a regular sight at Roman tables as early as the tenth century, it took eight hundred years to reach as far west as Britain.

Moral panics[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Moral panic

The fork is a good example of how moral panics have used the same basic arguments for centuries.

Opposition to fork-eating in Europe lasted from the Renaissance to the eighteenth century.

There were three common arguments against the use of forks, which often tied in with each other.


See the main article on this topic: Satanism

The fork was frequently compared with Satan's pitchfork (both of which stemming from the same Latin word, furca) whether for serious reasons or just for satire. Why this logic was never extended to peasants' pitchforks (or the military pole arms derived from them) remains to be seen.

This led to the Elizabethan English writer Thomas Coryat being dubbed "Furcifer" by those who disagreed with his table manners.[1]

At this time it was mostly Muslims who ate with forks anyway.[2]


See the main article on this topic: Blasphemy

Based on Aristotelian teleology, it was also argued that God had already created fingers to fill the very function that forks were now competing for. Thus, forks were seen as an affront to His masterpiece. Again, for some reason this logic was never applied to weapons, other tools, or even clothes.

The death of Byzantine Princess Theodora Doukaina from a degenerative illness was thought to be divine punishment for this act, otherwise seen as "excessive delicacy".[3][2]


See the main article on this topic: Machismo

People who used forks were said to "lack machismo" and were considered flamboyantly effeminate.

"Real men", you see, dug their long and dirt-encrusted fingernails fingers deep into the food instead — the same fingers they also used to excavate an exciting range of bodily orifices.[2]

Other uses[edit]

"Fork" is also a term for online communities and their projects splitting. Sometimes the issues leading to a fork can be trivial, sometimes they can be fundamental issues about what the project should be about (e.g. should advertisement be accepted). Forks can be friendly and in good nature or result in a state of quasi cold war between the two new communities.

See also[edit]


  1. Michael Strachan, "Coryate, Thomas (c. 1577–1617)", in Literature of Travel and Exploration: an Encyclopedia, 2003, Volume 1, pp.285–87.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Harry Roolaart, "The Irrational Exhuberance of American Dining Etiquette: Part I", in The Rational Argumentator: A Journal for Western Man, Issue IX.
  3. Bridget Ann Henisch, Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society (1976), pp.185–186.