Around 1000 A.D., while touring the Middle East, a wealthy nobleman from Venice met a beautiful Turkish princess. They fell in love, married and decided to set up housekeeping in Venice. Along with her clothes and jewels, the princess brought to her new home a case of forks. Forks had been in common use in royal courts of the Middle East since at least the seventh century, and the princess had used them all her life. However the princess’s forks created quite a stir when she set them out for her first dinner party. One observer explained “Instead of eating with her fingers like other people, the princess cuts up her food into small pieces and eats them by means of little golden forks with two prongs.” Another declared her behaviour “Luxurious beyond belief.” The conservative Venetian church fathers were outraged. “God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks-- his fingers.” said one. “Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating.” Soon after the fork debut, the princess came down with a dreadful illness and died. The will of God, some proclaimed; others believed it was due to the filthy habit of eating with a fork. Either way, it would be another three hundred years before fork use became common in Italy.