Table Utensils

Table utensils can come in a bewildering array. A picture of a table setting at a B&B was posted on a B&B owners group Facebook page, showing numerous utensils. That brought out a discussion about the need for that many utensils and the usages. My contribution was: until the early 18th century it would have been just a pointed knife (for stabbing food on the plate) and a spoon. A 2-tined fork began to be used in the early 18th century, which became a 3-tined fork later in the 1700s. Today, 4-tined forks are quite common. When the fork came into common usage, the point on the knife was rounded off since stabbing food just was no longer acceptable. We can thank the Victorians for all those layers of specialized utensils that were used in the 19th century and continues today, although with fewer utensils. When faced with a bewildering array of utensils, start at the outside and work your way towards the plate as each course is served. Dessert utensils are always at the top above the plate.

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