[Sca-cooks] Fourteenth century Norman fork

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Sat Jan 19 12:39:05 PST 2013

Jim  Chevallier wrote:

 >I imagine most people here know that table forks  weren't used (in 
 >France at least) until well after the medieval period; some may  have 
 >been used in kitchens.

 >This document (from persee.fr) on domestic  objects and arms from 
 >Normandy made of iron is interesting overall; among other  things it 
 >includes an image of a fourteenth century fork (on page  214):

 >Corpus des objets domestiques et des armes en fer de Normandie. Du 
Ier >au XVe si?cle Patrick Halbout , Christian Pilet , Catherine 
Vaudour    >Cahier des Annales de  Normandie     Year   1986     Volume 
   20    >Issue   20     pp. 1-255


 From what I can make out of the French, they're calling this a "fork of 
the table".  Leaving out the diacritical marks, the text says: "Les 
fourchettes de table sont connues pour etre des objects de curiosite au 
moyen age, e l'on y recontre des fourchettes a pot, de grande taille, 
dont le manche se termine en crochet our en oeilleton.  Les deus cas 
illustres par Blangy ne s'inscrivent dans aucune serie bien connue (no 
858, et une autre 'miniscule fourchette en cuivre a laquelle nous n'avon 
pu attribuer de destination', pl. 80, fig. 4 et p.55).

Certainly, cooking forks were known.  I wonder if this smaller fork 
might have been used in the dining hall to hold down pieces of meat 
while they were being carved.  I don't see any comments that this fork 
was used to convey food to the mouth by individual diners.

Alys K.
Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com
alyskatharine at gmail.com

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