Henry VIII's Favorite Way To Eat Fruit Jam Was Notably Uncommon

When King Henry VIII ruled England, he definitely enjoyed all the good food that went along with the title. Per British Love History, he is said to have dined on of fatty fish, eels, and roasted birds. But those weren't the only luxury foods King Henry and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, ate. They also liked jam, but not bacon jam or a classic mint jelly. Their Royal Highnesses loved those of the fruit variety, including those made with strawberries, pears, plums, and damsons. But they were particularly keen on quince marmalade. That's really only a footnote in this historical tale though, because it is the way King Henry ate it that is of note. When the King consumed his jammy fruit, it was always with a fork. 

A weird eating quirk? Maybe. It is interesting to note that not everyone got one of these special utensils to eat with, only King Henry. The rest of his court either had to use their hands or a spoon. It might sound a little savage in retrospect, but believe it or not, England was not at the forefront of fine dining and did not embrace this eating utensil on a broad scale until around the 1600s. 

The fork's tale

King Henry VIII's use of this silverware was rather limited. He had no idea back then that a fork is the perfect tool to remove shrimp shells or that it is the secret to chopping equal cheese slices. In fact, the fork this member of the royal family used looked nothing like the fork in your kitchen drawer. It had only two prongs and was more similar to the type of fork used for carving meat. 

In the early 1600s when King Charles I's French wife, Queen Henrietta Marie, brought this tableware with her, and it finally started to catch on. And once forks became in vogue, guests were expected to bring their own — an expectation Joey from "Friends" would appreciate, especially if cheesecake was involved. The fork continued to evolve over the course of several centuries. In fact, the multi-pronged fork that is used today didn't come into existence until the 1700s, and it didn't gain popularity and widespread use until the 1800s.