I was having a conversation with my Singaporean coworkers today about table utensils. We often talk about random things. It makes for the most interesting conversations, as you will soon read.
The conversation began with me feeling bad about continually using plastic utensils at lunch that I just throw away after each use. It's not very green of me at all. So I told them that I wanted to find some inexpensive metal utensils, but also didn't want to have to buy a whole set either.
The conversation went as such:
Singaporean 1: Oh, dat's ok Megan. I just bring some in for you. What you want, just a spoon and fork, lah?
Me: You know, I really just eat with a fork and knife. I rarely use a spoon.
Singaporean 2: Oh that's right. Typical American. Always eats with a knife and fork.
Me: Yes, because I need a fork to cut my food.
Singaporean 2: You use a spoon for that, just like the rest of the world. There they go again. Americans always have to be different.
Me: What? The rest of the world uses a fork and knife too. It's common sense. When you need a utensil to cut something, you use your knife.
Singaporean 2: You can use a spoon! The spoon works just as well to cut.
Me: Why would I use a blunt, round utensil to cut when a knife is made for just that?
Singaporean 2: Nevermind you, it's a British thing.
Me: The British do that? I thought they used a knife and fork too?
Singaporean 2: No no no. That's just an American thing.
Ok, I call Bullhonkey. This cannot be just a weird Americanism.
So I consulted Google. In fact, I've been Googling this issue for over an hour.
This is what I found: The Brits use a knife. Proof is here. In fact, most American table manners are derived from Britain. Also, most of Europe also uses a knife.
Not only that, but only in Southeast Asia is it even acceptable to hold both a fork and a spoon at the same time while eating.
But that's not really the issue we're discussing here today.
I'm still stuck on the whole "knife is better than spoon" pish posh. Where on Earth did Singapore get the idea that a spoon is a better cutting utensil than a knife?
It makes no sense.
I know it's not just my coworkers that think this way. It's a collective opinion in Singapore. Not a single hawker stall that we've gone to has provided a knife. It's either a fork and spoon, or a spoon and chopsticks. Knives seem to not exist here.
It's not usually a big deal as most Asian food is served bite-sized. However, in the event that they serve you chicken with the bones still in it (which is usually the case), it'd be nice to have a knife to cut it off. We've had many an accident trying to that with a spoon.
And by "accident", I mean chicken flying across the table and onto the floor or in my lap.
So no. I'm not convinced that the spoon is a better alternate to the knife. Several curry chicken stains to the crotch can count as my proof.
BUT, I will say this. Eating Asian cuisine with both a spoon and fork in your hands at the same time has proved to be much easier than the American one-handed utensil method. It's a better rice getter. Forks by themselves just make a mess of rice on your plate.
There, I've said my peace.
And now I can sleep tonight.
2016 WY/MT Trip
8 months ago