History of Food

THE HISTORY OF PORTABLE EATING UTENSILS

 

# Korean travel cutlery set

Because people must eat no matter where they are, there has long been a need for portable eating utensils. Throughout history, nomads, wealthy travelers, and soldiers fighting abroad have all used cutlery with which they could easily travel, as illustrated above.

#19th C. Southern European sheathed knife
#18th C. French pocket knife

Portable multi-purpose knives have been used for hunting, eating, and defense since prehistoric times. Frontiersmen, explorers, travelers, hunters, and soldiers alike have all required knives for survival and food procurement, and they have all found ways of making knives portable, whether it was storing them in sheaths at the belt, like the knife to the left, or in their stockings

A folding pocket knife, perhaps the consummately portable multi-purpose tool, was first made in the 1st Century by the Romans to be used on journeys of exploration or conquest. As the
popularity of sheathed knives grew, the manufacture of pocket knives waned. By the late 16th Century, however, pocket knives began to regain popularity especially in America. Unlike sheathed knives, which were generally conspicuous and sometimes cumbersome, pocket knives were easily, safely, and invisibly carried in the pocket like the knife on the left. Men of all trades, from farmers to academics, carried pocket knives to aid in various tasks, including eating on the go.

Pocket knives have also been important tools of survival for soldiers. New York and New Hampshire required their militias to carry pocket knives during the American Revolutionary War, and the U.S. Navy issued pocket knives to sailors as early as the Civil War. Even during World War II, pocket knives were issued to

While knives and pocket knives could be used for tasks other than eating, portable cutlery used exclusively for dining was also created, as can be seen in the set to the right

#16th C. German folding knife & cutlery

 

During the 15th Century, European nobles oftencarried utensils with them when traveling because many inns did not provide guests with cutlery. Knife/fork sets that fit into sheaths that were attached at the belt became popular. Often knives, forks, or spoons like the ones to the left could be folded or had interlocking handles that could fit into small traveling pouches that were attached to a belt. Pocket spoon/fork combinations were also made, some with folding forks whose tines slid into loops on the back of a detachable spoon bowl. In America, particularly during theiCivilWar, combination folding knife/fork/spoons were widely sold.

# English folding fork
# American folding spoon
#
18th C. French folding fork

During the 15th Century, European nobles oftencarried utensils with them when traveling because many inns did not provide guests with cutlery. Knife/fork sets that fit into sheaths that were attached at the belt became popular. Often knives, forks, or spoons like the ones to the left could be folded or had interlocking handles that could fit into small traveling pouches that were attached to a belt. Pocket spoon/fork combinations were also made, some with folding forks whose tines slid into loops on the back of a detachable spoon bowl. In America, particularly during theiCivilWar, combination folding knife/fork/spoons were widely sold

. # Mongolian eating set

Chopsticks have also been transformed into portable eating utensils. In pre-Modern Japan, members of the military class traveled and carried portable eating sets containing chopsticks and a knife that could fit in their obi (sash).

It was also necessary for nomads like the Mongolians to have eating sets, like the one to the left, that were easy to carry. Because Mongolians usually wore a pocket-less garment called a del, they attached eating sets containing chopsticks and a knife to a sash. A silver loop attached to the end of a chord locked the knife and chopsticks in place so they did not fall out if the owner;was active or on horseback.


 # Japanese travel chopstick/ knife set
# Japanese travel chopstick/ knife set

 

 

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