Burial finds, paintings on church walls, old drawings, wood engravings and written accounts have revealed how people used to eat, and their mealtime customs. Many traditions have survived for centuries, coming down through families for generation after generation.

In the context of human history, cutlery is a relatively new phenomenon. Not every culture uses a knife, fork and spoon for eating. In Eastern Asia, food is cut up during preparation, then eaten with chopsticks. In other cultures, the hand is still the tool used for eating.