Forks and a Cooking Tip of Piercing Importance

Forks abound in many sizes and configurations.  Generically, they are tools having two or more prongs or tines. They vary widely in design—from two- to four-pronged, straight, curved, flared, long and short.  In use—for dinner, for salads,  for pastry, for fondue, for escargot, for carving, for about anything that needs to be held, lifted, flattened, pierced or divided.  And material—from wood, sterling silver, aluminum, steel or plastic.

Pictured here are a few sturdy forks:

Forks A and B are fancy carving forks for the table (Fork A is from a 1966 Randall Made Knives set, Fork B has been in the family for over 70 years.  It has an unusual lifting lever).

Fork C, a bayonet fork, is designed to pierce and hold meat to be sliced or carved. Note that its tines are thin and very long to hold a large ham or roast, and straight and parallel so the knife can crowd it without nicking and so that the fork can be slipped out easily and repositioned.

Fork D is a heavy lifter with sturdy, widely spaced prongs that are not only curved up but also slightly away from one another to hold and not slip out.  Not terribly useful.

Fork E is the smallest of the set and most versatile.  It is described in catalogs as a vegetable or kitchen fork.  We call it the “is it fork,” as in “is it done?”  This fork is used often to determine the doneness of veggies, to ensure that baked potatoes, onions and squash are cooked all the way through.  I also use it to peek inside thick fish filets to confirm flakiness and doneness.

A good cooking tip is in order here:

It is usually unnecessary to pierce food and it is always preferable
not to.
With the exception of Fork C, with its straight tines, all
the forks can be used without piercing to hold down a food product on a
cutting board, to turn it or to serve it.


·  Piercing steaks, poultry and burgers lets the juices run out.  Use tongs.

·  “Fork holes” are unsightly.

Have you ever seen fork holes in your filet mignon or prime rib at your
favorite steak house?  The answer is no because “forking meat” is
not done in a professional kitchen.  Both in preparation and plating,
food products should be lifted by hand, or deftly with two forks, or with
tongs or spatula.

Now you know.

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