For some, the perfect eating utensil is the most elegant, the most practical, or simply whatever they're used to. But me? I want a utensil that allows me to eat the most amount of food with the least amount of trouble. Let's begin.
Like most Westerners, I grew up with the knife and fork. It's the perfect combination for a culture that eats primarily meat (although I'll never understand why manners dictate you switch hands for slicing and eating). Ideally suited for steak, the fork/knife can handle a wide variety of other foods. So it's good, but not the best. Let's look at some other options.
The chopsticks are the choice of the East. They are an elegant utensil, and you're super-cool if you can use them. But cool as they are, they just don't make any sense for countries whose primary dish is rice. I mean, seriously guys, how am I supposed to eat this?
Next up is the spork. The scooping action makes it an ideal choice for rice and small pastas, and the tongs give it the versatility to spear larger chunks of food. The spork is almost perfect, but used alone, it is difficult to get reluctant peas onto the shovel or to slice foods too big for one bite.
Enter Thailand. In Thailand, chopsticks are only used for noodle dishes (sometimes not even then). The preferred combination is a fork and spoon, but you'll have to throw out your Western mindset: the fork goes in your off hand. The spoon is your primary utensil.
The spoon allows you to carry much more food. And the fork allows you to fill the spoon to overflowing with a minimum of effort. You can also use them to cut anything except a tough steak.
But then why are you eating tough steak anyway?
The fork-and-spoon is the best combination I've found yet, to the point where I often ask for a spoon when I visit the States. But there is one eating utensil that tops even these.
The tortilla! This amazing invention serves as a plate, but you can eat it! Pile it with food, roll it up, and shove it all into your mouth. The best part is, when you're done, there's nothing left to wash but your hands.
Geez, I could go for some Mexican food right now.
How about you? What do you like to eat with?