Why are there so few forms of cutlery? The thread asks.

Why are there are so few forms of cutlery? The thread asks. Why are there so few kinds of cutlery? - The Straight Dope
There’s lots of forms. Take a gander at this thread from a few months ago.


That thread (that’s the true link) basically says there are no other types of cutlery, except jokey ones.

Since this is the only thread related to the “cutlery” article, I might as well say that I wish the answer had discussed chopsticks more thoroughly-- i.e., at least touched upon the remarkable, and apparently profound, East/West cutlery split.

I don’t want to blather on about this, since I’ll probably blunder into various cultural faux pas. And I also don’t want to hear from chopsticks snobs-- I’ve had too much personal experience with non-Asian acquaintances who’ve mastered the use of chopsticks, and are insufferably chopsticks-proud.

Is it really the case that adroitly manipulating a pair of pointy sticks is an infinitely superior system for manipulating foodstuffs into one’s mouth, such that chopstick-using societies saw no need to borrow or invent “Western”-style utensils?

You clearly need to get yourself invited to a ten course, Italian wedding dinner. Which includes both an antipasto and fish course. You’ll get to see some cutlery, my friend.

Also, very many chopstick using cultures also use a fork and spoon to eat with. Eating off the spoon, not the fork!

Of course not - no more than the katana is an infinitely-superior evolution of the sword. Americans just have a wee habit of putting Asian culture on a pedestal.

I like chopsticks because I think they’re fun to eat with. They seem more… involved? With the right sort of meal, they’re definitely just as convenient as any western implements.

I will say that disposable bamboo chopsticks are lightyears better than disposable plastic cutlery.

I have it on pretty good authority (my wife) that Chinese kids typically learn to use cutlery before chopsticks. And when I go to Chinese restaurants, there’s a 50-50 chance that the waitstaff will try to offer me cutlery upon seeing my laowai face.

In Thailand the default implement of choice seems to be the spoon. Chopsticks are provided for noodles. Often when eating in the company cafeteria, I’d be the only one using chopsticks. For meals consisting of chopped up bits of stuff, I really do find chopsticks superior. Thai rice (as opposed to Chinese rice) does lend itself to the spoon, though.

And sushi rolls, damn it, don’t chopsticks!

Speaking of Asian cultures, Koreans typically prefer scissors rather than knives to cut up foodstuffs. A bit odd to see the first time, but it’s utterly practical, and considerably safer.

You may not have noticed, but Cecil is actually quoting the OP in that thread, and supplying his own answer.

And sadly, destroying forests.

Each year, 3.8 million trees go into the manufacture of 57 billion disposable pairs of chopsticks in China.

NYTimes 2011

Chinese never were that great at Silviculture.

Trees make bamboo?

Isn’t bamboo the hot new renewable wood source?

That article says 45% of disposable chopsticks as of 2011 were made from non-bamboo sources. I couldn’t find any more recent statistics.

Did you read the article?

You never heard of Bamboo Forests ? They can be magnificent.

There’s even a Bamboo Forest of the Lost in Gensokyo*.

China’s Appetite for Bamboo Is Damaging Forests

China produces 57 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year, which requires over 1.18 million square meters of forest, according to the Forest Ministry’s statistics from 2004 to 2009.

Pulitzer Center 2011
Distinguishing between wood and grass when it’s vanishing seems a precious form of chop-logic.

And washable metal cutlery is one of the West’s great advancements.