This photo was taken by me last New Year’s Eve. If you look closely, you’ll notice that there are sets of spoon and fork on the table instead of sets of knife and fork. In the Filipino culture, kids are brought up using the fork to push food onto a spoon before eating it. The reason behind this is we eat mostly with rice and in all practicality, we can scoop out a lot of rice using a spoon rather than when using a fork.
Now here’s an interesting fact:
According to an article about the history of forks by Chad Ward, the forks for dining only appeared in the noble courts of the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire in 7th century and became common among wealthy families of the regions by the 10th century. Everywhere else, where the usual utensils were the spoon, knife and the hand, the fork was not used for dining.
The 11th Century saw the Venetian Doge, Domenico Selvo marry a Greek princess who brought to his court the practice of eating with forks. At the time, her table manners were seen as scandalous and heretical affectations. It was said: “God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks - his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating. Her death shortly afterward was perceived as divine punishment. source
More than 100 years later, Louis XIV still ate chicken stew with his fingers and forbade the Duke of Burgundy and his brothers to use forks in his presence. The British did not start using forks until the 17th century. As late as 1897, Miss Tannahill writes, sailors in the British Navy were forbidden to use them ”because they were regarded as being prejudicial to discipline and manliness.” source
On the other hand, spoons have been around longer than knives and forks which concludes that they were the first to be used for eating purposes. source
So I guess that’s why we never stopped using the spoon. Besides, most Southeast Asians prepare and cook their food in bite-sized pieces so there is no real need for a knife. Knives are used for cutting… there’s nothing to cut.
It’s all got something to do with CULTURE.
So what is it?
The word culturehas many different meanings. For some it refers to an appreciation of good literature, music, art, and food. For a biologist, it is likely to be a colony of bacteria or other microorganisms growing in a nutrient medium in a laboratory Petri dish. However, for anthropologists and other behavioral scientists, culture is the full range of learned human behavior patterns.
The term was first used in this way by the pioneer English Anthropologist Edward B. Tylor in his book, Primitive Culture, published in 1871. Tylor said that culture is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” Of course, it is not limited to men. Women possess and create it as well. Since Tylor’s time, the concept of culture has become the central focus of anthropology.
Culture is a powerful human tool for survival, but it is a fragile phenomenon. It is constantly changing and easily lost because it exists only in our minds. Our written languages, governments, buildings, and other man-made things are merely the products of culture. They are not culture in themselves. For this reason, archaeologists can not dig up culture directly in their excavations. The broken pots and other artifacts of ancient people that they uncover are only material remains that reflect cultural patterns—they are things that were made and used through cultural knowledge and skills.
…Culture and society are not the same thing. While cultures are complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions, societies are groups of interacting organisms. …
While human societies and cultures are not the same thing, they are inextricably connected because culture is created and transmitted to others in a society. Cultures are not the product of lone individuals. They are the continuously evolving products of people interacting with each other. Cultural patterns such as language and politics make no sense except in terms of the interaction of people. If you were the only human on earth, there would be no need for language or government. …source