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Vienna | 21.12.2007 | 19:17 
God, what's happening in the world! A reality check on the web.

Chris, DaddyD, Zita

Food, Glorious Food
  With Christmas racing towards us and all of those celebrity chefs keen to market their latest publications for the present-buying season, we thought - the topic of food has to be a winner! Whilst researching this a nostalgic thought sprung to mind.

About xx years ago, I was sitting in the back of a radio studio in the UK keen to learn about buttons & faders. A rather silver-haired presenter turned round to me with a pearl of wisdom; that being - one of the great pleasures of working on the radio is you absorb tiny facts. You start to gain a very broad knowledge of useless things; you become king of the trivial pursuit board but alas you remain an expert in nothing of any worth. So in the middle of food-research, I came upon this week's useless trivia-jewel... and it's all to do with the fork.
The Prong
  Hark back a few millennia (or whenever it was) when we were sitting in caves - we used something akin to a knife and spoon. We know this quite simply because anthropologists have found the bits of metal shaped into utensils. But the fork was always missing. In fact the fork didn't make an appearance until the ancient Greeks came up with... not exactly a fork but a two-toothed prong. It was ingeniously conceived to hold a slab of meat in place during the carving process.
Bild: EPA
The Church
  Rather than being put to widespread use like other great Aegean inventions it seemed to go out of fashion. It appeared in parts of southern Mediterranean countries but to a large extent the fork was frowned-upon as something very lower-class. Even the church disapproved of its use; there was the notion: why do we need a fork to use with food when God gave us a good pair of hands! So for much of the medieval period, the fork was associated with something a little decadent; you may be fed with a fork in a Venetian bordello but every respectable family would use their fingers!
  Sometimes it's good to change habits and all that ripping of food with bare hands in polite society faded out of fashion. These days we have celebrity cooks to keep us on the right track and Jamie Oliver pops up on Reality Check this Saturday to tell us about his formula for success. It actually began with him being a fan of TV-cooks in the 80s but all he really wanted to know was: how to make a really good bacon sandwich.
Bild: EPA
  Have a great Christmas from all the Reality Check team and if you want to bamboozle your great Aunt with fascinating facts about food around the Christmas dinner table, check out Reality Check on "Food, Glorious Food" - Saturday (22.12) at 12 midday! Or click here (after the show) and download the podcast. []
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