Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Obol or A RANT on eating utensils

As a food historian and potter I have been thinking a great deal lately about the sthape and form of eating utensils and serving vessels. They change dramatically over time and from place to place. There's a chapter on this in my Three World Cuisines textbook and I even asked a related question on a midterm exam I was grading today. That is, why do different cultures use different cutlery, seating arrangements, dishes and how does that affect the cuisine, its flavor, texture and consistency? So when the company that makes this asked me to review the OBOL I naturally said sure.
Now just to preface my remarks: I am not at all against innovation and evolution of eating paraphrenalia. In fact I adore my set of knorks. They are beautiful, well balanced and eminently well engineered. Nor do I bewail the proliferation of finger foods and things eaten with hands. I prefer to eat with my hands for the sheer sensual pleasure of doing so. 
So the Obol arrived in the mail today with much fanfare. My 15 year old son immediately volunteered to test it with frosted flakes or some such crap. The whole idea is that the cereal stays dry and the milk is below. You scoop the cereal into the milk as you go, No Sog. The idea is ingenious. My son said in terms of sheer engineering it is a marvel. Revolutionary! But then I thought, would I want to eat anything out of a blue bowl? With a spoon that looks like a baby rattle? From a bowl that is cheap plastic, however well balanced? I don't think I can do it. If this were clay, wood, even metal, in warm appealing tone, I might get really excited. It so reminds me of what we used to feed my sons when they were babies, that I don't think I could bring myself to eat out of it without nausea. Final score 15 year old: 10. 47 year old: 0. I guess you now know your market folks.

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