Monday, May 28, 2012

Some thoughts about cutlery

Traditionally, good quality cutlery was made from silver, steel, pewter, electroplated nickel silver.

Nowadays, most cutlery is made from stainless steel or from a nickel and copper alloy.

Plastic cutlery is made for disposable use, and is frequently used for camping, excursions, and BBQs, at fast-food or take-away outlets, or provided with airline meals.

I don't like plastic cutlery (does anybody?), though I am obliged to use it when I'm on a trip. Plastic forks and knives can do the job they are meant for but just barely. The knives often don't cut well if the food is slightly harder than an over cooked broccoli flower, and the fork bends out of shape if you try to stick it into something more solid than a slice of cheesecake.

Consequently, plastic cutlery is very easy to dispose of. The value of its service to the hand that uses it is of such transitory and temporary effectiveness that the user never thinks twice before chucking it away. Plastic cutlery, by its very inferior quality and execution of purpose, inspires nothing but a bored and indifferent kind of relationship. As soon as its utility is done, it is garbaged away, together with the remains of the meal it helped to be eaten.

Unlike the stainless steel cutlery. THAT is chosen with greater care and attention to detail and quality. It is used regularly and does the job well, no matter what the density of the food it requires to cut up or scoop. It is washed and dried and placed in a special place. The relationship between the cutlery and the user is long-standing and requires some care and maintenance. No one throws away a piece of real cutlery off-handedly.

Sometimes when I go on picnics I opt for metal cutlery, and never mind the trouble that goes with it. But it is rare that I do so.

Sometimes when at some motel at night I want to eat a yogurt but no utensil in sight, I search high and low for something to use and if by any chance I manage to fish out one small plastic spoon forgotten deep in the bottom of an unused pocket in my suitcase, all of a sudden that plastic spoon takes on the value of a gold plated silver spoon. But, alas, such is the fate of the plastic spoon that its moment of being gloriously valued is all too brief. A blink of an eye (for how long does it take to eat a yogurt?) and it finds itself joining the other rubbish in the bin. For once it has been used, it becomes dis-needed, disposable, discardable.

Such is the nature of plastic cutlery and such is its fate.


My clueless reader may wonder what this rumination about cutlery is all about. He or she might even suspect that cutlery is not my suit. I may look at cutlery but I am in fact speaking of something else. Let me reassure that doubting reader that he or she is absolutely wrong.  This post is a nothing more nor less than what it says.  It's absolutely about how we humans differentiate among relationships and what rational and irrational factors come into our decisions and actions.

I trust this is helpful.


At 3:08 AM EDT, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

It was a nifty association. Male world is still a bit different, being more focused on the food than on utensils. It wasn't unheard of for a male to use his hands in absence of cutlery.

That in regard to something else too.


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