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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Miss Manners: Surprising what one can eat with fork

Judith Martin Universal Uclick

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I must have been born about a hundred years too late, because I have always delighted in the specialized flatware that was so loved in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I have recently secured a long-elusive prize in the form of eight ice-cream forks. Beyond a basic plate of ice cream (I assume that sorbet, gelato and sundaes are included), with what dishes can I properly use them? I rarely serve just ice cream, and when I serve pie or cake with ice cream, I have always set a dessert fork and dessert spoon at each place. But that was before I had these nifty little sporky things, which I am eager to use.

I realize that my question does not offer much in the way of great general interest or mass appeal, but it is a matter of intense concern for me, and I trust no one else to provide me with the correct answer.

GENTLE READER: If you insist upon a correct answer, Miss Manners is forced to say that ice-cream forks should be used only to eat ice cream. That is what specialized flatware is all about.

However, you surely know that she shares your fondness for it and wants to do better for you. Just please be good enough not to betray her to even sterner purists.

Ice cream forks are not the only table implements that combine a bowl with prongs. You could pass these off as terrapin forks.

What’s that? Your guests don’t want to eat a gelatinous mass embedded with turtle parts? Miss Manners will try again.

They could be used as ramekin forks. And you don’t even have to catch a ramekin. That can consist of anything baked into an individual dish, such as eggs with breadcrumbs, cheese, bits of meat, whatever you choose. A souffle, if you wish.

Or you could enjoy your ice cream, and set out in pursuit of specialized terrapin and ramekin forks. Miss Manners would understand.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email, dearmissmanners@