Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About
To dine with cutlery is to participate in western culture. Other sophisticated civilizations eat without these tools: the Chinese and Japanese with chopsticks; the Indians with their hands, for example. Cutlery, therefore, cannot be considered a necessity for civilized dining. Rather, its use points to western society’s deepest values. When Japan finally turned to the West at the end of the 19th century, they found forks perplexing. Indeed they had no word for them, calling them instead ‘meat skewers’.