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The spork: possibly the greatest contribution to crossover flatware. But what is it?

A spork is a cross betwixt a fork and a spoon, or rather, a spoon and a fork. If you're really lucky it can be combined with a knife. It is an eating utensil that combines the spear-like abilities of the fork with the scooping capabilities of the spoon. It has a grip and neck, leading into a concave area converging into three or four small prongs in the end. A spork is most often manufactured as plastic and often given out with fast food. Some would find this adequate, but a few quick jabs at a fast food steak will soon break the small prongs.

A metal spork is a far superior instrument with a lifetime of delicious reward. Or perhaps a hand-carved wooden spork, for a more rustic appeal.

Sporks even have a patent. Please don't confuse them with woons, those little wooden planks you get with ice cream and 'malts' at the ball game, parks, etc. Woons are not sporks, just primitive wooden spoons.

The spork was invented in the 1940s, when the US army occupied Japan after the second world war. General Douglas McArthur decreed that the use of chopsticks was uncivilized and the Japanese people should use forks and spoons like the rest of the world; but fearing that they might rise up and retake their country armed with forks, he and the US army invented the spork, which was then introduced into the culture via the public schools. The US army, which had taken over all government enterprises, including the schools, enforced the use of the spork and made the use of chopsticks in the schools a punishable offence.

The spork is a marvellous invention that offers the consumer the opportunity to eat mashed potato, steak and pudding with the same implement. A favourite of regular spork users is a chunked soup where the spork can outshine a spoon or fork alone. Take a stab at a carrot, and quickly follow with some piping hot broth. Although spork usage is in a minority among flatware, do not underestimate the prowess that this fantastical design offers. The next time you sit down to a meal requiring multiple utensils, remember the power of the spork. Buy one today at your local spork retailer. Take it with you on your next hiking trip.

You can produce your own spork by making three triangular shaped cuts in the end of an inexpensive stainless steel spoon. Be sure to sand it down before you use it or you may turn your lips into tentacles. Make it all nice and neat, and lay them at your place settings.

According to US government records, the largest spork in the United States is a spork-like utensil used by the navy that is six feet long.

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