Aside from my hands, one of my favorite cook’s tools is a fondue fork I bought at a flea market many years ago. It is basically an elongated fork with a thin wood handle: 3 tines and about 12-inches long. It is perfect for turning a piece of meat in a pan, scrambling eggs and…curiously, eating. For my private suppers, I happily eat salad with it, spearing each leaf to pop into my mouth: berries and chunks of melon are also curiously more delightful eaten this way. Friends who have cooked in my kitchen often find themselves picking up the fork to cook with.
I originally had two of these forks and, since I found myself constantly washing them to use over again, I went onto Ebay to look for more and searched “vintage fondue forkes”. There I discovered a bonanza of mid-century fondue forks and an idea: Why not buy sets and give my cooking friends the gift of a couple of these useful, pleasurable repurposed forks as a house gift? Which I have over the years, with great success.
There are a number of styles to choose from. My favorite has 3 tines and some of the feel of a regular fork only longer. A set of 6 of these cost $20, less than 3.50 a piece.
I also like the more overtly sculptural forks, though they are a bit less comfortable to eat with, they certainly make you aware of your food: like eating with a little artwork:
When you’re searching Ebay, or a flea market, the thing you want to try imagining are how it will feel in the hand and the scale — 10 to 12 inches works well for cooking and eating (the top picture shows a 12-inch fork in a 10-inch skillet)…
I steer clear of forks with only two small tines with a fish-hook end. The tines are not nearly as useful as the two top versions, nor are they as stylish.
If you find your forks are too shiny, stay tuned for an easy way to tone them down.