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What the fork? A guide to dinner forks

Like two peas in a pod, like jelly to peanut butter, like Kolisi to the Rugby World Cup, every knife has its fork. Previously we explored the different functions of knives, who knew there would be so many variations and roles for one tool we use on a daily basis? The fork has a similar range to its knife counterpart.

A quick history on the fork

Before the fork existed, humans used their naturally made tools, their hands. A knife to cut and their hands to eat, simple. In the Middle Ages, diners began to grow frustrated with the shortcomings of using a second knife to hold the food (usually meat) in place, and so began the development of the fork.

The fork evolved from the farmer’s pitchfork. The first fork had two prongs instead of the currently used modern three to four. However, unlike today, this era didn’t manoeuvre the fork from plate to mouth, but rather the fork was used purely as a holding device. In fact, eating food on a fork was deemed unnatural and indecent. Fortunately, in our day and age eating with a fork is deemed normal and in accordance to etiquette. But not everywhere. In most parts of Asia, for example, chopsticks are the preferred method of eating utensils.

Dinner fork (AKA meat fork)

The good old dinner fork. Probably our most commonly used and recognised fork. Originally the dinner fork was created for main course, usually a meat dish, but today it is used for most meals by diners. This fork often has four tines (prongs), all equal in length and width, and is recognisable by its large size. Its versatile and useful. When in doubt, use a dinner fork.

Fish fork

The fish fork is used in conjunction with its unique counterpart, the fish knife. A handy little knife with multiple functions like separating skin from meat and shifting bones away. Like the fish knife, the fish fork is designed with purpose. The fish fork varies between three and four tines, with the left tine slightly larger with a notch in it to help remove bones. It also usually has a distinctive look, designed to stand out from the average dinner fork, often with curves, engravings or other embellishments.

Cake fork

Cake forks are often three or four pronged with the left tine larger than the others with a flattened edge, this allows the diner to hold the plate in the left hand and cut through the cake with the long edge. This enables diners to easily socialise, mingle and eliminates the need for knife or spoon. (Let’s imagine eating cake with a knife and fork for a second.)

Whatever your fork needs, we’ve got you covered with our wide selection of forks to choose from. So whether it’s a multi-course meal or a cocktail party, we’ll help you with all the cutlery you need.