Behold, the humble fork: It is a deceptively genius means of nutritional conveyance, and not just the implement I fall back on after fumbling undexterously with a pair of chopsticks, struggling in vain to shovel any kind of sustenance into my gaping maw. It also inspires the theme of March’s National Nutrition Month, “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”
Did you ever stop to think about how humans went from living literally hand-to-mouth to our more civilized coexistence with eating utensils? According to one aficionado, the dining fork as we know it today came long after the other two of the Big Three pieces of cutlery, the knife and spoon. Two-tined forks had been in use for millennia, but for cooking, not for eating.
It wasn’t until roughly the 7th century when certain nobility in the Middle East stopped eating with their fingers and started wielding the smaller cousin of the cooking fork. (Really, it’s a fascinating story of scandal and divine retribution, at least for history geeks like me—literally a “Byzantine” tale.)
Contemplating and discussing such historical curiosities during meals—I say half in jest—can be one way to practice mindful eating. But as the IFIC Foundation’s Liz Sanders, MPH, RD, tells us, your choice of cutlery, utensils, and dinnerware surprisingly can play a role in a healthier diet.
As we observe the remainder of National Nutrition Month, a time to “return to the basics of healthy eating,” we also celebrate the “expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts,” some of whom we have right here at the IFIC Foundation, and countless other professionals with whom we work every day. We hope you enjoy the content they help bring to this issue of the Food Insight newsletter, and every other month of the year!