FORK PRECEPTORS

los primeros tenedores

Something that for us is now an everyday utensil was not always part of our lives. In fact, in Spain King Felipe III and his favourite the Duke of Lerma were the promoters of the use of this instrument in the early 17th century, although its existence dates further back by many centuries. Specifically, the fork came to Spain in the 11th century from Constantinople, the result of Byzantine refinement.

As with many other innovations, high society initially viewed the use of this strange implement for eating as an eccentricity. Furthermore, the earliest forks were veritable daggers with highly-sharpened spikes and were thus somewhat dangerous, particularly if there were any disagreements at table…

Another drawback of the earliest forks was that they were not curved. They were flat and so it was not unusual for people to prick their lips, gums or tongue. But everyone wanted to do the fashionable thing and learn to eat with a fork, giving rise to the figure of the “fork preceptor”, who was in charge of instructing clumsy diners in the use of this novelty instrument. (Imagen revistadeartes.com)

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