Y'all are a bunch of wankers!

Does form follow function?


It is interesting to see how the technology of eating has emerged. Petroski points out that because of the way chopsticks work, meat is cut before cooking in Eastern cuisine. In Western cuisine, where you often have access to a sharp knife (if the table knife doesn’t suffice), the meat is cut after it reaches the table. Similarly, the initial knife on the table has a blunt edge and no point…a much different tool than the steak, or chef’s knife which in finer restaurants is brought out when you order a meat dish. Eastern chefs, however, still have that pointed sharp knife…but it never leaves the kitchen. In addition, in many parts of Asia (such as India) many people don’t use utensils at all.

I've always thought form follows fancy. Whatever the creators fancy will determine the form. If they fancy practicality the design will be practical. If they fancy whimsy then the design will follow. It's in the eye of the creator and their relationship with the creation.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 5th, 2007 11:16pm
Like almost everything, it's not a waterfall process. Everything follows everything, because things happen iteratively when design is done by the community. It's a chaotic, unordered process. And yes, the starting condition often has a hufe affect on where you end up.
Permalink $-- 
April 6th, 2007 4:20am
I always thought it was fascinating that in Eastern cultures only the chef got the sharp knife while in Western cultures either everyone got the sharp knife (steak), or there was no sharp knife (chicken).

For a really interesting perspective on form & function check out Ross Lovegrove's Ted Talks presentation.

Permalink Send private email Сергей РахманиноB 
April 6th, 2007 5:26am
The major impact of technology is to release form from function
Permalink Billx 
April 6th, 2007 7:44am
The problem with the pre-cut meat is that there's a much smaller tender juicy center.  If any at all.

Which is probably a good thing for chicken & pork, but not so desirable for a steak.

Hmmm. Maybe that's a factor -- the societies that used chopsticks didn't have access to large quantities of red meat.  Cause, or effect?
Permalink Send private email xampl 
April 6th, 2007 9:52am
If you look at an upper class Victorian table setting, one had more than 10 utensils. Several forks, several knives, several spoons. The rule of thumb would be that one would start with the utensils at the outside, and using the wrong eatin' iron was a social gafe. Nah, us yanks are lazy bastards. One knife, one fork, maybe a spoon. Or, if we're lazier still, that demon spawn from hell: a spork.

>GEORG JENSEN STERLING "ACORN" DINNER SERVICE FOR 8: 11 piece place settings for a total of 88 pieces, to include 8 each of the following- Dinner fork, salad fork, fruit fork, cocktail fork, butter spreader, fruit knife, dinner knife (9"), dessert/place spoon, fruit spoon, teaspoon and coffee spoon.

In older Japan and China, one could own a single knife for the household, for cooking, unless one was a member of a higher social class. Things that could be used as weapons were forbidden under penalty of death. And in the Japanese case of the gonin gumi (a group of 5 households), all members of the households would also be executed.
Permalink Peter 
April 6th, 2007 2:35pm
> If you look at an upper class Victorian table setting, one had more than 10 utensils.

Amazing, isn't it? A culture that couuld only be sustained by a very poor lower class or slavery.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 7th, 2007 4:51pm

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