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PhotoHunt: Utensils

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This week's theme is "Utensils" and I'm thinking about the Fork.

Venice is often given credit for inventing the fork in the early 11th century. Throughout the Middle Ages, civilized Venetians were dining with forks while the slobs in the rest of Western Europe were still eating with crude spoons or with their hands.

The truth is, the fork might have been brought to Venice by a Greek princess named Maria Argyra, niece of the Byzantine Emperor and daughter-in-law of a Venetian Doge. A grumpy priest blasted this princess for “the luxury of her habits”:

“Nor did she deign to touch her food with her fingers, but would command her eunuchs to cut it up into small pieces, which she would impale on a certain golden instrument with two prongs and thus carry to her mouth.”

You might think that it was the food-cutting eunuch slaves who upset this priest, but no….it was the fork!

"God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks - his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating."

Whatever. Perhaps such wild and crazy religious objections explain why the fork was so slow to catch on. It took several centuries for the use of the fork to spread from Venice to the rest of Italy and eventually all over Europe.

Anyway, my photos were taken in Venice last year and show a few memorable things I ate with a fork.

Spaghetti con vongole veraci (clams). These clams were so tiny but so sweet and delicious.

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Moeche con polenta. Small crispy soft-shell crabs over polenta. These little crabs are amazingly good.

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Pizza with mozzarella, smoked ricotta, and arugula. In Italy, the pizzas are left whole, not sliced like they are in the USA, and Italians eat them one bite at a time using a fork and a serrated knife. I prefer to eat pizza with my hands but when in Venice, I use the utensils.

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You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

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Comments (29)

Wonderful tidbit of info about the origin of the fork.

Oh my that clams and pasta dish is divine. And that pizza? I am salivating like crazy here.

Happy weekend.

Gosh! I'm more interested in the food than the utensils now. LOL!

The meals you ate in Venice look superb. Great take on the theme and interesting information about the history of the fork. Happy weekend.

Such delicious photos. I wish I had my dinner before visiting! Happy weekend

liz:

Interesting history - and yummy-looking food!

Beautiful food shots.

it's a delicious entry with a fascinating history. Happy PH!

That pizza with aragula looks DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!
I've never had the soft shell crabs. Question: do you eat the whole thing? I don't want to look crazy if I decide to eat that in september!...
Have a great week-end!

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Hi AnnaLivia,

Yes you eat the whole thing! They are really delicious. You have a good weekend too!

Fork? Am seeing food! :D Great entry!

Yumm when we have food we have to have utensils

great shots! It made me a bit hungry though.

interesting bit of info about the fork!:P i have a cousin who didn't like using his hands when eating. at the beach, he would look for coconut leaf and stick for utensils while the rest of us are eating with our bare hands. he could be the reincarnation of the princess (hahaha). your photos make me hungry!:P

Annie,
What a great post! I did not know that, and whatever to the bit about using forks is upsetting to God. LOL.

Your food looks delicious! I too used utensils eating the pizza in Venice. I did not want to look like a slob:)

Je découvre avec plaisir votre blog mais mon anglais n'est pas excellent, en souhaitant que vous puissiez comprendre ce que je vous envoie également, merci pour vos photos sur Venezia.

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Hi, I don't understand a lot of French so I ran your comment through Google Translate; thank you so much! Always nice to meet another Venice lover. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Annie

My those Venetians were an ingenious lot!

Great shots for this week's theme. When we were in Pienza they gave you scissors for the pizza!

Looks like quite a feast!

I played too :)

Boy, I'm glad I just ate breakfast or this post would make me hungry! Beautiful post, very much enjoyed.

kaye:

great food
great times
great pictures
">http://ladygaladrielkj.blogspot.com/2009/07/photo-hunt-173-utensils.html> my photo hunt is here Thanks

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I had to smile when I read your post. You'll know why when you get a chance to read my Blog. :)

I did not know that the fork originated in Vencie. What an interesting story. Excellent take on this week's theme. Your food in Venice looks so delicious! Btw, I also use my utensils when eating pizza in Italy.

Have a great weekend!

The food looks tasty! I had no idea Venetians invented the fork. Sure glad they did!

Very informative post - I'm hungry ... menehune

nancyhol:

Great photos and a little education too!

I also didn't know that the fork originated in Venice.

That is neat about the history of the fork and Venice. And the spaghetti looks amazing. I've had lunch but I could eat a plate of it right now. Have a great weekend.

YTSL:

Yum! All those dishes look good. Hmmm... maybe I should go get me some Italian food for lunch today! ;b

Once again another wonderful glimpse into Venice. Thanks! Love the pizza, looks great!

I did Photo Hunters today, too. I hope you get a chance to visit.

Mrs. Mecomber
New York Traveler.net Photo Hunt!

Eden:

Great tidbit of history... but never mind the fork, the food look delicious!

sheri:

Annie, thanks for the interesting lesson on Forks!The food looks even more interesting.

LB:

Those are exactly the kinds of meals I can't wait to eat! :D

Interesting and mouth-watering post! Thanks for the bit of history on the fork; I didn’t know that Venice was the birthplace of the fork.

I also prefer to eat pizza using my hands and luckily that's how my relatives in Palermo eat it.

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