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Cutlery: its Origins, Uses and its Role in Society.

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Introduction

Cutlery: its Origins, Uses and its Role in Society Cutlery is defined by www.dictionary.co.uk as "tableware implements for cutting and eating food", or "The business of a cutler", and a cutler himself is defined by the same source as "One who makes or deals in cutlery, or knives and other cutting instruments". Cutlery as we understand it now is knives, forks and spoons - sporks, chopsticks and kebabs can also be seen moonlighting in the cutlery arena, though almost all food can be eaten simply with a fork and a spoon, and most food can be eaten with no cutlery at all - I'll address this issue later. Firstly, the Knife. Knives in their present form evolved from early man's hand-axes, which have been found as early as one hundred and seventy thousand BC. These were initially just pieces of flint, chipped away at with another piece of rock until a sharp edge formed on the flint which could be used to cut. ...read more.

Middle

By the 1600s it was common for Nobles to eat with forks in England, and from then it spread into the middle and eventually the working classes. The Spoon is considerably older than the fork, and probably not much younger than the knife. The first spoons were made of the socket part of ball-and-socket joints in animals early men killed for food, and were used to scoop things, like water and earth. Spoons evolved through the ages much like the knife, and have found their place today along with the knife and spoon as the Western eating implements of choice. Spoons have found a place in modern culture today not only as an eating implement but also as part of the many seemingly 'supernatural' events performed in front of live audiences by magicians. Spoon bending is one of the most popular paranormal activities that can be performed by people, whether in person or via TV. It involves the manipulation of an audience to believe that the magician is bending the spoon with the power of his/her mind, whereas in fact it is usually done with expert sleight-of-hand. ...read more.

Conclusion

Possibly the spoon may survive this onslaught as there remain foodstuffs which would be very difficult to eat without a spoon, but forks and knives are mostly dispensable. When fast food restaurants first opened, disorientated customers could be seen aimlessly wandering around the place, looking for cutlery with which to eat their grease-caked food. These poor, innocent people had no idea what the fast food principle would go on to become. The lack of cutlery in restaurants led to a decrease in formality at meal-times, which in turn led to the development of TV dinners and takeaways, both of which demean family values and detract from valuable family time spent enjoying a home cooked meal together, using proper cutlery. But can fast food be blamed for all of the world's problems? Of course not - if it were fast food's fault, then the Americans would have sued by now, so where should we look? That I cannot answer. However, I do know that if cutlery continues to be disrespected in our society, surely the consequences cannot be beneficial to mankind. Thank you for listening. Richard Kemp 10W 10/05/2007 Mrs Marlow ...read more.

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