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Le posate: storia e linguaggio segreto. - Segni Particolari

Cutlery: history and secret language.

by Simona Pruiti Ciarello

The term Cutlery mainly refers to a utensil used for eating or cooking, avoiding contact between food and hands. Cutlery is divided into two categories: table cutlery, used precisely for eating and service cutlery, used for preparation and service.

With this essential and precise definition from Wikipedia you will have understood what we will be talking about today. This time I turned my attention to an everyday object. 

Also in this case we all have the Set with a capital S, well placed in a drawer and used only on special occasions. However, cutlery is something that is part of our daily life and is almost taken for granted, so let's go and dedicate a few lines to it. 

Also on this subject there is really a lot to tell, etiquette gems, secret language of cutlery and much more, but I will try to be essential and not dwell too much.

Where they are born - historical hints

Cutlery began to circulate in France and Italy around the seventeenth century, in 1851 Michel de Montaigne, in fact during his trip to Italy, noted the daily use of an individual fork with two prongs (teeth), placed between two towels together with the bread, a spoon and a knife. This historical hint is a bit of a summary of when we start talking about the actual use of cutlery at the table, also because there are different historical references for each single piece of cutlery, and even for the fork itself, which previously had two points (prongs) and then only in 1770, under the reign of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, will we speak of a 4-pointed fork as we know it today. 

However, the very first cutlery were knives, which appeared as early as the Stone Age, even if the Romans were the first to use them at the table. From here until the sixteenth century it will continue to be used very limited only by the wealthiest families.

Coming instead to the present day and by now there are all types of cutlery, mainly divided according to the dish: therefore we have the knife for meat and the one for fish, the spoon for broths and the one for soups, the teaspoons for tea, coffee or sweets. In short, so on and so forth.
So if you are planning a multi-course super dinner, and if you have all the equipment, you can really indulge yourself and thus amaze the diners. If, on the other hand, you are not too attentive to details and you love the art of getting by, better leave it alone, among the guests there could always be the connoisseur hiding… and then open up, oh dear!

Table etiquette

According to etiquette, the cutlery is held by the top of the handle and moved with the right gestures and measure, always from the plate to the mouth, obviously without causing noise.
The fork on the left, knife and spoon on the right, the fruit and dessert cutlery in front of the glasses.
The saucer of the bread, if any, goes above the forks, while the napkin simply folds into a rectangle or triangle and is positioned to the left, with some exceptions, in the center above the plate.
Another rule not to forget, the fork must be held with the right hand, between the thumb and forefinger, while when you are in the act of cutting it, pass it to the left hand and, with the same hand, we will fork the food cut and then bring it to the mouth, without ever putting down the knife or changing hands. 

The secret language of cutlery

Last aspect in my opinion really curious and very interesting, of which I took some photos to make the concept even clearer, is the language of the cutlery during and after the meal.
Based on their position, cutlery reveals messages to us and we must know how to interpret them but above all have those who take care of the service interpret them, paying close attention to these simple rules.

We have therefore discovered a new language, we can communicate through the way we store cutlery. In life you never know, you always need to be ready.

The author of this article is Simona, if you want to continue following her here are her social references:

♡ Simona Pruiti on Facebook

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