[Sca-cooks] fork mythology
lordhunt at gmail.com
Sun Jun 24 12:53:02 PDT 2007
This is not working out Alonso Luengo says at the beginning of the
15th Century Pietro de Oreseolo married his son to Romano Agrilio's
sister. He was a rich Venetian businessman. She brought gold forks to
the wedding banquet for all the guests who followed her example of
eating all morsels with this new fangled instrument. Now I have no
knowledge of the existence of this man but of a woman called Agrilio
which I shall explain below.
Pietro II de Oreseolo was Doge of Venice from 991-1009. It seems to
be pretty well established that the wedding in question took place in
1004 in some sources between his son and a Byzantine princess.
On the other hand Henrisch states and I believe one of our SCA
colleagues too that the marriage was between a Byzantine princess and
Domenice Selvo's son. Selvo was dogge between 1071-1081.
It seems to me that Alonso Luengo has a grammatical mishap as his
subject here is that a fruit fork was served as a novelty to guests
during Suero Quinones' tournament in Leon, Spain in the 1434 and that
Henrisch has a mishap perhaps because the fork was supposedly pardoned
(to an extent obviously) during Selvo's service as doge, i.e. some 70
years after the marriage took place.
Now for the Agrilio problem, there is a story that she was a Greek
princess very much influenced by the Byzantines who used the fork at her
wedding banquet with the son of the doge in 955 - that would mean Pietro
III Candiano (942-959). It could be possible as far as I know but then
we get into a messy affair of the Church. Somehow beyond my knowledge it
seems this had something do with the schism between the RC and the
Orthodox Church in 1054 cause, I presume, the clergy of the RC Church
identified the fork with the devil as DA indicates - you know the
devil's pitchfork verses the natural gift of God that we have fingers as
forks and using the devil's instrument, therefore, to transmit food from
the plate to the mouth is an offense to God. - Here were get into Old
Testament teaching that for any act against God, He strikes the Pharaoh
or whoever down so therefore our heroine, whoever she is, dies some
eight days after the wedding and in some stories the groom as well for
trespassing the will of God.
But Alonso points out fruit forks are permitted to carry out that
function as long as the food transmitted to the mouth does not come from
an animal (ok so we can eat hay with a fork, no?). Obviously that means
fruit is ok. Don't know why eggplants and other plants consumed are not
included. Why don't we have vegetable and legume forks except that
generally those were included in pottages, perhaps?
On the other hand the knife prior to the fruit fork was permitted to
carry morsels of meat to the mouth. The blade of the knife is metallic, no?
Finally if metal is the question why was cutlery not all wooden? Why
does the silver or pewter spoon come in centuries before the fork?
The more I read the less I believe! Can anyone sort me out?
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