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The 'Immoral' Fork



It wasn't until 1611 that the fork was introduced to England by way of the travel writings of Thomas Coryat. When he attempted to popularize the utensil he encountered in Italy and Spain, he was dubbed "Furcifer," meaning "fork bearer," and generally denounced by the English who saw the fork as an effeminate tool. While forks were almost unknown in England, they were common in Italy and not a rare sight in other parts of Europe.

Additionally, the fork was used with fruits and dishes with sauces that might stain the fingers. This practice was associated with courtesans, leading the Catholic Church to ban the fork as an "immoral influence".