10,000 Spoons When All You Need is a Knife.

March 29, 2009

10 points to whoever can name the song the title's from.  Actually, only 5 points.  It's not that hard.

Several months ago I was eating lunch in a restaurant in Cuenca with a teenager and her mom from Principal. The girl picked up the fork, looked concerned, turned to her mom, and whispered in her ear, “What do I do with this?”

Ecuadorians, especially out in the country, make setting the table easy by using only spoons. Knifes and forks exist, but are more prevalent in the city or in restaurants. Soups are a staple of the Ecuadorian diet, so it makes sense. And it’s not rude to pick up meat by your hands to eat it, so there’s really no need for knifes or forks. But despite all that, I was a little taken aback that a 13-year-old wasn’t sure how to use a fork.

Fast forward several months to one week ago, when I was eating in a restaurant in Cuenca. I reach out to pick up the fork and my mind skips like a scratched CD…“wait, how do I use this?” I think to myself. I stick it into the piece of meat on my plate, hoping that will help me remember. No good. Which hand do I use? “Ok, I learned to cut my meat with the fork in one hand and then switch hands to eat. And I know I eat with my right hand, so I must cut with the fork in my left hand.” Sweet. First step down. I pick up the fork in my left hand. Why does it feel so awkward? “How the heck do I hold this thing?” I try gripping it. No, that can’t be right. I try holding it delicately like a spoon. It slips out of my hand. Why is this so hard? I’ve used forks all my life, why should I have trouble now? I surreptitiously glance across the table to see how my boyfriend is holding his fork and try to copy him, to no avail. I don’t want to admit my struggles, so I suffer through the rest of the meal, irked at my inability to use a fork. My utensil of choice here is by far the spoon (for lack of other options), but could I really forget how to hold a fork? Apparently so.

I'll try and update soon with some pictures when I have some uninterrupted, moderately fast Internet time.


April 1, 2009
Lol. Awesome. Reminds me of when I came back a year and a half ago. While away, I got pretty used to driving on the left-hand side of the road, and consequently, used to the steering wheel in the car and the turn signal lever being located on opposite sides. And, for the first six consecutive days of being home, I kept turning on the windshield wipers every time I meant to flip the turn signal... was somewhat comical.
April 2, 2009
The song is "Isn't it Ironic?"...Do I get 10 points, ok 5 points? Yeah! It's great to hear from you Anna! You've really become part of Ecuadorian culture when you've forgotten how to use a fork. I love it! When are you coming back to the US? I miss you! I look forward to seeing you in June:)
July 24, 2010
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