An indispensible urban tool: the titanium spork

titanium spork
 

One of my best allies in my effort to cut down on my use of disposables is a titanium spork. It’s strong, pleasant to use, and weighs virtually nothing. I bought it many years ago in preparation for a long hiking trip, but it soon proved its utility in the urban environment. It’s always in my bag, a permanent part of my “everyday carry”, and I use when I’m eating food from home as well as in situations where I’d otherwise be forced to use plastic flatware.

I love its simplicity and utility. The prongs of the spork are substantial enough to work as a fork, but aren’t hard on the mouth when it’s used as a spoon. I have another so-called spork, not a true spork, if you ask me, but a Frankenstein’s monster with a spoon on one end and a fork on the other. Do not be tempted by the promise of having a full fork and spoon in one utensil–it just doesn’t work. When one end is in your mouth, the utensil on the opposite end threatens your nose and eyes, not so much literally, but psychologically. That’s disturbing, so it remains with the camping gear. (KonMari will want me to set it free soon.)

My true spork, the REI Ti Ware spork, is a perfect blend of form and function. While I bought this spork many years ago, REI is still selling a version of it which looks identical, except for having a more prominent logo.¬† REI no longer carries this particular spork, though it carries other titanium sporks. There’s also a very similar looking titanium spork over at Amazon, produced by Toaks.

Some of you may wonder whether I need a knife, and the answer is I don’t need one in most situations. I usually carry a pocket knife, and I can bring that out if I need to slice something like bread or cheese, but 95% of the time the spork alone is sufficient. Also, it’s sturdy and thin edged, so the side of the spoon can cut through softer foods.

I’ve heard that back in the day people did not expect to be provided with eating utensils in public establishments, so travelers carried their utensils with them. Today this might seem crazy, but to me, if anything is crazy it’s the idea that we have the God-given right to be provided with a set of plastic flatware which we will use once and only once, for the approximately ten minutes it takes us to down a combo platter, and then consign that set of plastic utensils to an immortal afterlife in a landfill. Meanwhile, I imagine that I’ll request that my spork be buried with me, along with the rest of my grave goods.

 Addendum: I just found a cool titanium spork, the Apocalyspork, which is more expensive than mine, but is handcrafted in the US out of aerospace scrap. In addition, the handle is tricked up with a bottle opener, a hex key and who knows what else.

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15 Comments

  1. This is great! My boyfriend and I laugh about sporks all the time. He convinced me to start carrying around a grapefruit spoon for the same overall purpose. Here’s a photo of how I carry it when traveling with a more minimalist set of eating and drinking utensils (and of the caribiner mug I mentioned a couple of weeks back):

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16160923158/

    I have found that, for trips and camping, I really like bringing along a lunchbox with a sandwich-size tupperware container, a cloth napkin, and a swiss-army knife. A half-pint size jar can also be extremely useful. I tend to cart along at least one meal in this arrangement, then wash out and reuse as appropriate. Bulky but convenient.

  2. You know you could totally put a necklace ribbon or chain thru the end and wear it like a pendant… #idtotallydoit

  3. It is true that public eating establishments did not provide flatware until fairly recently. Everyone carried around a knife and a spoon for their own use. Forks were not common in Northern Europe until the 18th Century and the common opinion was that they were unnecessary because God had provided fingers for this purpose.

    When forks were first introduced into England, they were seen as an effete Italian invention and much merriment resulted when their inexpert use led to people impaling their lips or noses. Forks were sharper in those days!

    In an earlier period, even dinner plates were not provided. Food was served on a large round of flatbread, which soaked up any juices and was finally eaten. This eliminated the problem of de-cluttering unwanted chinaware.

  4. oh, brilliant, the spork!!! I love that! and I completely agree that it would be great if food establishments did not provide plastic ware, but instead we could all be organized enough to bring our own. and refuse straws at restaurants too!!!

  5. I believe it was in Scandinavian countries where everyone wore a little pouch with their spoon in it. They took it everywhere because no one furnished a utensil anytime people ate.

    we have a certain banquet where we get hunks of meat, chicken, pork, or roast, and only plastic utensils, not even heavy duty plastic. After the first year, I carried fork, spoon, and knife. Many people asked to borrow it. The guys cut all their meat at once and passed it on.

    I often carry utensils when I go somewhere. First, plastic if fragile. Second, I really hate throwing out plastic.

  6. The spork from REI is no longer available however they do offer alternatives. Amazon does offer several. I’m thinking maybe a good birthday/Christmas gift for my grandkids – I really hate the almost obligatory current must-have toy.

  7. I work in the film industry where lunch is provided and usually with plastic utensils, etc. This is the Aluminum Spoon and Fork I currently use: http://m.rei.com/product/782238/sea-to-summit-alpha-utensil-set I leave the butter knife at home and use my pocket knife. I’m not a big fan of Sporks. Tried the plastic light my fire spork but they kept breaking in my bag. I don’t like things I have to baby. The reviews of their titanium version were bad and unless you make the titanium super thin Aluminum is going to be lighter.

    I also carry a cotton bandana as a napkin and a snow peak double wall titanium mug with lid http://m.rei.com/product/876106/snow-peak-titanium-double-wall-450-mug
    It is a bit of overkill but is the only insulated lidded container I have found that I actually like to drink coffee out of.

  8. Mrs. Homegrown, how do you carry your Spork around once it’s been soiled? In a plastic hard container or bag?

    • I just lick it clean/wipe it clean and stick it back in my bag. I guess if it were super sticky or greasy or something I’d wrap it in my hankie/napkin/bandana. It gets washed when I come home. I realize we all have different cleanliness standards, and I’ll admit that mine is permanently at the “camping” setting.

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