In Defense of Fork-Wielding Fast Food Eaters

Julia Bainbridge
Food Editor
January 15, 2014

Photo credit: Getty Images

By now, those of you who live outside of New York City have likely heard of Forkgate, the “scandal,” as the media has dubbed it, of Mayor Bill de Blasio eating pizza with a knife and fork. Since the “news” broke, everyone from Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon to that lady whose name you don’t know and don’t care to ask but always talks to you by the coffee machine has had something to say about it. (Admit it: we all looooove to judge a politician.)

In a new Slate article, the writer spends some time making concessions for de Blasio based on the fact that some pizza types—those overladen with toppings, those cut in large slices—are just too difficult to eat by hand. Not until the final paragraph does the article get to the heart of the matter: “Why shouldn’t people eat pizza however the heck they want?”

Yes! The real point is: Who cares? Sometimes, yes, a slice is too unwieldy. Sometimes you don’t want to get your hands dirty. And sometimes YOU JUST WANT TO USE A FORK.

Here are three other foods we, at times, like to eat with a fork. Get ready to freak out!

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Burgers: Sometimes a burger can be so greasy or juicy that the bottom half of its bun is soaked, and you want to discard it before eating the rest. A fork and a knife come in handy: You’ve flipped the burger so the top bun half is now the bottom, then comes the meat, and then come the pickles and other toppings, like an open-faced sandwich, but one so unruly that you need the help of utensils. (They were created for a reason, you know?) Even when a burger’s bottom bun is not drenched, we sometimes defer to the power of cutlery: When one cuts a small piece of burger, the pressure of the knife packs the bun ever so slightly, securing it tightly to the meat and allowing it to soak up its juices. Once on the fork, the bite-sized, meaty morsel can be dipped in the condiment of your choice quite easily.

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Burritos: “But the burrito was designed expressly to be handheld!” you balk. The portable option is, indeed, handy (no pun intended). But that’s the thing; it’s an option. So is eating a burrito with a knife and fork. That way, you get to prolong tasting its rice- and meat-filled greatness, garnishing each forkful with a micro-dollop of sour cream and, thusly, turning every bite into The Perfect Bite. The fork also comes in handy when transferring the burrito’s innards onto the surface of a tortilla chip. Because we do that sometimes.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Fried chicken: We’re not talking wings and drumsticks here; we’re talking breasts and thighs. It’s another case of achieving The Perfect Bite: By cutting with a tool more precise than your teeth, you can ensure you get a bit of crispy skin with each piece of meat. Also, even if you’ve somehow wound up with a skinless piece of meat, a knife enables you to shove the errant bits of crunch now scattered around your plate onto your fork. Hooray for multiple textures. 

So pass the silverware.