Last week, Flossie was feeling hungry and she wanted to teach you about how people used to eat; she gave an introduction for forks on the dining table. This week, she wanted to share some information about knives. The name for the craftsman who made, sold and repaired knives was a cutler. In our Bath/Beaufort County NC community today we have many families with the surname (last name) of Cutler. Do you know anyone who has that name? Perhaps someone back in their family tree used to actually be a cutler by trade!
In the article found http://whatsnew.history.org/2011/01/why-do-americans-and-english-hold-their-forks-with-different-hands/ on the Colonial Williamsburg website, “James Deetz in Small Things Forgotten proposes that Americans were eating with rounded knives and spoons for at least a generation before forks were common. During that period, meat could have been cut by the knife and spooned into the mouth.”
Flossie has found no proof that the poem “I Eat My Peas With Honey” goes back as far as Colonial days, but it would make sense that you would be able to get more peas to stick on the dining knife blade (which weren’t really sharp like many today) than on a fork. The poem goes like this and is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Ogden Nash. “I eat my peas with honey, I’ve done it all my life, it makes the peas taste funny, but keeps them on the knife!”
Whatever the eating etiquette is in your country now or was in times past, it is always very nice to eat properly……..even when hungry! In Colonial times, children were to be very quiet during the meal, but Flossie says that may be a discussion for another time. Happy Friday!