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Knives gained a rather recent seat at the table

We appreciate the wonderful taste of food as it reaches our mouths and fills our senses, but eating as we do today wouldn’t have been as easy if it weren’t for utensils, and the table knife is one of three utensils most used in today’s enjoyment of foods.

This is the second of three articles on the items of cutlery that make our dining experience easier; the first, last week, told about the spoon.

The knife is the only piece of cutlery used since prehistoric times for feeding, as a weapon, and as a tool. It is only in fairly recent times that knives have been designed specifically for table use.

In Europe’s Middle Ages, hosts did not provide cutlery for their guests. Most people carried knives in sheaths attached to their belts (the same ones that they also used for hunting and protection). The sharply pointed ends were used to spear food and raise it to one’s mouth. That was around the 15th century.

Prior to the Middle Ages, knives were made of ...

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