Fork off Spoon. Meet the Spork

The spork is a spoon-and-fork hybrid. Popular in cafeterias, fast food, prisons and hiking trails, the spork is a universal utensil for those in-between dishes: a hearty stew, potato salad, oatmeal, hot fudge sundaes, SpaghettiO’s, chili, mac and cheese, vegetable medleys, Dippin’ Dots, matzah ball soup. Many are arguable, but whether a spork is the exact right fit or not, it’s rarely ever the wrong fit.

Just the other day I discovered a mislabeled utensil made by Light My Fire, a Swedish camping supply company [pink spork]. And like the Charles Darwin of eating utensils, I must properly identify the genus and species of this borderline spork.

The label says “spork.” I say no! Calling the Light My Fire utinsil a spork is like calling a pineapple an apple.

It is still a spoon and fork combo, and by many definitions, this would make it a spork. But, if you look carefully you can tell the fork has a blade feature. So it’s actually a “knork” – a knife/fork hybrid. Half knork, half spoon, the Light My Fire Spork is actually a “snork.”

The spork has become many people’s favorite eating utensil – not only because of its prowess on the dinner table, its capability to replace your entire utensil drawer, and its combination of elegance and efficiency, but because everybody identifies with a spork, especially Americans. That’s probably why the Swedes got it wrong. The spork is to America what the chopstick is to China. America is made up of all different types of cultures that merged and evolved. In the same way, the spork is also the product of evolution – of dining utensils. It can be sharp, skillful and smooth, but also a confused halfbreed. An indifferent, stubburn mule searching for identity.

Sometimes I feel like a spork.