Pierce/spear the food with fork

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Super Saiyan

Senior Member
Cantonese
Hi, when you teach a kid to use to a fork, I am trying to describe the way more, other than pierce and spear, what other way do Native use?

“You hold the fork firmly and pierce/spear the food with it, then bring the fork to your mouth.”

Can I use poke the food? Thanks
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    For food to stay on the fork, the fork must penetrate the piece of food. Usually "poke" means to touch firmly but not penetrate. You can poke food with a fork, spoon, knife, fingers, or chopsticks. American children are told "don't poke your food".

    Often a fork is used to pick up food in the same way that a spoon is used, just by moving the fork under it. It depends on the size and shape of each piece of food. You eat chunks of meat by penetrating them and lifting the fork. You don't eat rice by penetrating each grain. You lift a bunch of grains off the plate with your fork, and put them in your mouth.

    What words does a native use with a kid? None! We show them. I honestly can't imagine what words I would say to a kid, or even to an adult. It's the same whether you are describing how to use chopsticks or a fork (to eat a variety of different kinds of food). There are too many things to explain. How do you hold it? How do you change how you hold it, while using it? How do you position the food on the plate or bowl? What do you do with different kinds of food (rice grains, peas, big chunks of meat, little chunks, long skinny vegetables)?
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    For food to stay on the fork, the fork must penetrate the piece of food. Usually "poke" means to touch firmly but not penetrate. You can poke food with a fork, spoon, knife, fingers, or chopsticks. American children are told "don't poke your food".

    Often a fork is used to pick up food in the same way that a spoon is used, just by moving the fork under it. It depends on the size and shape of each piece of food. You eat chunks of meat by penetrating them and lifting the fork. You don't eat rice by penetrating each grain. You lift a bunch of grains off the plate with your fork, and put them in your mouth.

    What words does a native use with a kid? None! We show them. I honestly can't imagine what words I would say to a kid, or even to an adult. It's the same whether you are describing how to use chopsticks or a fork (to eat a variety of different kinds of food). There are too many things to explain. How do you hold it? How do you change how you hold it, while using it? How do you position the food on the plate or bowl? What do you do with different kinds of food (rice grains, peas, big chunks of meat, little chunks, long skinny vegetables)?
    Thanks. If it’s a piece of meat, you want him to ‘penetrate’ that piece of meat, would you say

    ‘“You hold the fork firmly and penetrate the meat with it, then bring the fork to your mouth.”

    I want to know the verbs that I can use. I just learned from you that penetrate the meat. Can spear and pierce use in my sentence? Or it’s odd to use? Thanks
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Yes, both "spear" and "pierce" mean "penetrate". And a kid will probably understand those words better than "penetrate".
     

    Eric Chengdu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I agree with Dojibear. I'd say something like "use your fork to pick it up and then put it in your mouth". I still want to use "stick your fork in it", but I'm afraid it'd be a bit confusing because it has another meaning.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I still want to use "stick your fork in it", but I'm afraid it'd be a bit confusing because it has another meaning.
    That would work for me: in Super Saiyan's sentence it would be You hold the fork firmly and stick it in the food.

    What other meaning does it have?
     

    Eric Chengdu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That would work for me: in Super Saiyan's sentence it would be You hold the fork firmly and stick it in the food.

    What other meaning does it have?
    On second thought, I think i might read too much into it. As we know "stick a fork in it" is used to indicate that one or something is finished, complete, or no longer able to continue. For example,
    Barbara: "Johnny, would you like any more of this cake?" Johnny: "No thank you, Barb. You can stick a fork in me, I'm done!"
    I'd say we just need one more week on the project, and then you'll be able to stick a fork in it!

    After all, "stick your fork in it" is different from "stick a fork in it", so that's why it works in this situation like you said. I just got it wrong. haha.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I don't think those expressions are common. It is a metaphor, comparing oneself to a barbequed steak. Apparently you test whether a steak is "done" (fiinished cooking; ready to eat) by sticking a fork in it. How often does someone need that metaphor? I'm sure I've never used it.

    I feel comfortable that our imaginary child won't be confused. If you are explaning how to eat food with a fork, the listener won't imagine that you are creating a metaphor about barbecuing. And very likely the child doesn't know that metaphor.
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    For me too. I find the idea of spearing or piercing you food with a fork very odd, personally.

    I might say spear/pierce food with knife, but it's unlikely.
    Hi, london calling, what would you say if you need to ask a kid to do it, ‘spear/pierce the meat/food with a fork.’ Because you cut the meat with a knife, but do we use spear/pierce the meat/food with a knife? Thanks
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Let me tell you a story.:) My son (born and brought up in Italy) was taught to use cutlery but when it came to eating spaghetti he always used his hands, because he hadn't perfected the use of a fork when eating spaghetti. My reaction was invariably "Use a fork! Not your hands!" and then (obviously) taught him how to wrap spaghetti round a fork.

    One might spear a piece of meat if it was on a barbecue and was cooked and put it on a plate, although I don't: I use meat pincers, because meat shouldn't be pierced at all:
    1569753636023.png
     

    Eric Chengdu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    To be honest, I never use a fork or pincers when I eat meat. I use chopsticks. ;) pricking the meat with a fork to allow the flavor sink in for a better taste might be the only situation when I can picture myself using a fork for meat.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    I expect that I taught my daughter to eat with a fork by saying 'Do it like this' and then guiding her hand. If she was having trouble with a piece of vegetable or meat, I'd say 'stick your fork in it' and demonstrate.
    I've seen 'stick a fork in it' as a metaphor in proofreading and editing. My friend who uses it means 'This draft is as close to finished as I can get it. Check it to see if you think it's done, and fix the typos that you see.' In her kitchen she might say 'This potato seems done to me. Stick a fork in it and see if the texture feels right.'
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Can I use poke the food?
    Definitely not. :D

    I've often had cause to rebuke my offspring: Stop poking at your food; eat properly. If you aren't hungry you can just go without, but don't think you're getting any dessert.

    Small kids poke or prod at their food when they don't trust what's in it, or when they are just pretending to eat.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'Stick the fork in the piece' if the movement really has to be verbalised. Actually, there is a good advanced vocabulary game where one person has to explain an action to others/another whose back is turned. Miming an action can also elicit thesaurus type vocabulary of bad 'synonyms'. If you are out in the woods hunting your dinner with a spear or javelin the vocabulary will be different. Out of this context, who knows what 'stick it in' might mean. I dread to think.
    Edited to add substance.
     
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