You probably don’t think about utensils very often—until you need one, that is. Interestingly, there’s a lot more to them than you may think. From ancient beginnings to the tables of kings, these sometimes silly-looking tools make our everyday dining better, one bite at a time.
10. The Fat Straw. Apparently, boredom, too, is the mother of all inventions.
9. The Metal Nutcracker. Since the fifth century B.C., nuts have met their maker with this crushing implement.
8. Chopsticks. More than a little ditty people play on the piano, these simple tools have gone global.
7. The Fork. Tableware has come a long way from its stately beginnings.
6. The Knife. The trusty blade has enabled carnivores and cooks to access their meals since the dawn of time.
5. The Spoon. The epitome of ubiquity in utensils, this vessel has countless names around the world, indicating that all people use it.
4. The Spork. A funny little hybrid that only recently joined the ranks of the others on this list.
3. The Flat-Bottomed Soup Spoon. It’s brought stability to liquid lunches for centuries.
2. The Fondue Fork. Helping people devour melted goodness is this skewer’s specialty.
1. Hands. If you don’t happen to have any of the above stashed in your coat pocket, never fear. You’re in good company.
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Welcome to Rosetta Stone TV! Today we’re bringing you our list of the top utensils used around the world. We’ll also share a bit of the history of these mealtime tools.
First off, the fat straw is a relatively new utensil used to consume bubble tea, which contains pearls of tapioca called ‘boba’. The invention of bubble tea is credited to an employee at a teahouse in Taiwan. She got bored during a meeting and poured tapioca into her tea, creating an urgent need for fat straws all over the world.
Next up at 9 the metal nutcracker has its origins around the fourth century BC. The oldest example is proudly displayed in Taranto, Italy. Although the modern nutcracker is a European invention, stones used to crack nuts have been found in both the US and Europe, dating back to the Archaic Period.
Number 8, these utensils hail from China, where they were used as far back as 1200 BC. The first chopsticks were bronzed utensils used for cooking. To cut down on time, cooks started breaking food up into smaller pieces eliminating the need for knives. This allowed chopsticks to spread throughout Asia, evolving into modern usage by 500 AD.
At 7, the fork, as we know it today, originated in the Middle East and Byzantine Empire. There, wealthy families began using the tools in the middle ages. These days, you can spear food with a fork at restaurants all over the world.
At number 6, The knife is one of the most classic eating implements. Since eating meat can be tricky without it, it’s probably the most ubiquitous utensil in existence. We can trace the development of human tools–from the stone to the bronze and iron age–all through the development of the humble knife. Cardinal Richelieu of France was the first person to dull down his knives, creating the table knife as we know today.
Number 5, he spoon is a versatile tool, used for everything from scooping soup to crude cutting. Etymology suggests that the first spoons were made of a variety of materials. . The Greek and Latin words for spoon suggest that they first developed the tools out of shells. The Anglo-Saxon word derives from the word for wood chip.
At number four we have the spork, a mix between a fork and spoon. The combination cutlery was first patented in the early 20th century. Although the term “spork” dates back to around the same time, the plastic cutlery wasn’t patented together with the catchy name until 1970. A Massachusetts company did the honors, making the Spork an American icon.
Number three on our list: the flat bottomed soup spoon. Although this style of spoon originated in China, it’s popular throughout Asia because it’s less likely to spill broth.
Number two on our list: the fondue fork. Fondue, amelted mixture of cheese or chocolate) was declared the national dish of Switzerland in 1930. The Swiss version of fondue is often served in an earthenware pot with long-stemmed skewers making the fondue fork an iconic Swiss utensil.
The number one utensil on our list? It’s your hands. Eating with the hands–often the right hand– is common in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Often customs involving hand washing, prayer, and finger-specific etiquette may accompany the meal.
That’s a roundup of the history of ten exciting utensils. Now you know where these dining implements originated and where they’re used today. I’m Avantika Wagle, thanks for watching. Since there are definitely some that we didn’t get to this time, let us know if we missed your favorite utensil!