Cutlery Not Included

Alexandra Lange dishes out some choice history from Bee Wilson’s new book, Consider the Fork. On the rise of the butter knife:

In 1637, Wilson reports, Cardinal Richelieu was supposedly so offended by a guest using the point of a knife to pick his teeth that he ordered all of his own knives blunt. In 1669, King Louis XIV made this law, forbidding cutlers from forging pointed dinner knives. … Before Richelieu’s manners moment, the knife had no place on the table—it was too precious, and too personal, to be part of a household set. Instead, in medieval and Renaissance Europe, everyone had their own blade.

Previous Dish on Wilson's book here.