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Hybrid Cutlery – What’s so Great About It… and What’s Not

Spoon
Image Credit: Voiding Warranties, Creative Commons

Take a set of cutlery, like Aava’s. It has 24 pieces in it – six forks, six knives, six spoons and six small spoons. Each of the pieces in the set has a very clear purpose – the forks are there to pierce food so we can move it between the plate and its destination without getting our hands dirty. The knives are there to help us cut food into smaller pieces, so that we don’t have to tear it with our teeth or with our fingers. The spoons are there so that we don’t have to bring the whole plate to our mouth and drink soup. The small spoons are there so we can stir our tea, or maybe use them to eat desert. But what if you’d want a single utensil that can cut and pierce, or be used a small bowl and to cut or pierce. Or be used for all three things at the same times.

Well, there’s a solution for that. It’s called combination, or hybrid, cutlery. A hybrid of a spoon and a fork is called a spork. A combination of a spoon and a knife is called – a spife. A combination of a knife and fork is called a knork. And a hybrid of all three is called a sporf.

Because they were designed to perform more than just one function, hybrid utensils come with a promise of great practicality. There are plenty of situations one could think of where having a reduced number of utensils, but with more functions than one, would be beneficial. Eating in an airplane is one. So is eating while camping. Some fast food restaurants also like to use combination cutlery, and they are even used by military when out on the field. Combination utensils are really great when having fewer utensils mean fewer things to pack, carry around and take care of, as well as when it’s important to cut costs by reducing the number of utensils that are used and then thrown away.

So that’s what hybrid cutlery is good for. What it’s not good for is, well, using it for eating in normal circumstances. Basically, any situation when eating involves a table is a situation where there’s really no need to use combination cutlery. Just think about it – can you really eat a steak with a knork? You can’t, because you need a separate fork to hold the food in place while you’re using a separate knife to cut it. Actually, any combination of a utensil with a knife can only be used for very soft food effectively.

As for a spork, the hybrid between a spoon and a fork, it’s been used way before airplanes and fast food joints were invented, and it’s probably the only combination utensil you could actually see on a properly set table. There’s this thing called an ice cream fork, which is basically a spork, and it’s been used for eating ice cream in the 19th century. So technically, you could get away with adding a spork to a place setting if you’d call it an ice cream fork. As for the remaining members of the combination cutlery family, using them only when they’re the best possible choice should be the rule of thumb.

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