Today in History: May 13


Image: Cardinal Richelieu (Courtesy Philippe de Champaigne)




A common utensil in our life

We owe to a churchman,*

The table knife.

*Cardinal Richelieu of France (1585-1642).  Richelieu was the Chief Minister of King Louis XIII.  He was largely responsible for centralizing the power of the throne by weakening that of the nobility. One way he did this was to raze their fortified castles.  He also systematically denounced dueling, private armies, and the use of weapons, such as knives.  The table knife grew out of the last of these.  With its round base and single edge, the table knife was less likely to stab or cut. And so much easier to butter up the king.



Filed under: History by day


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  • So what did the French use to butter their baguette or slice their croissants before that?

  • I forgot that bagels went to the guillotine, but what did they use to spread the Camembert?

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, Wikipedia says that the first person to make Camembert was a farmer in Normandy. She got advise from a priest from Brie.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I forgot to add that Camembert first appeared in the 18th century long after the introduction of the table knife.

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