Taking a Break

An ancient proverb advises us that “a wound from a knife heals, but from a tongue never.”

black handled kitchen knife on beige wooden pallet

An ancient proverb advises us that “a wound from a knife heals, but from a tongue never.” If only that adage could be inscribed on a plaque and placed in Trump’s office, not that it would have an effect on his insulting, offensive, racist tongue.

As I read that proverb, I decided to take a brief break and ignore Trump and trumpians for a while. In my book on food superstitions from around the world, I included a bunch of fantasies about knives and a lot of other things about cutlery and foods. So here’s the scoop (or slice?) on knives that can bring good or bad luck.

First: if you make your own bread, be advised not to cut it with a knife when it’s hot out of the oven. That’s bad luck. But it’s okay to break off pieces of the loaf. Or perhaps you buy sliced bread. There is a caution about those slices. If, like most people you take a knife and butter the slice, it could accidentally slip from you hand and land on the floor. If so, let’s hope it is buttered side up. Otherwise, if it smacks buttered side down, it is no joke. Not only do you have to clean up the mess, but you also have to worry—if you are superstitious—that adversity awaits you in the future.

To avoid adversity with knives, don’t go looking for a paring knife or carving knife in a field or on the road. Who knows why ANYONE would do that? But to find one is supposedly a potent for bad luck. You’ll also suffer adversity, superstition says, if you use a knife to spear a piece of bread and pass it to someone else. And don’t give a knife as a present to someone or you could lose a friendship or love. (An aside: about the only bad luck from my gifts of kitchen knives are cut fingers.)

Bad luck also comes when you play “spin the knife.” Lot of us have played “spin the bottle” but spinning the knife? Well if that’s your game, be careful. If the knife stops and the blade is directed at you, it signals doom or death. Oh my!

stainless steel spoon and meat slicer on table
Like polite partners, the knife and fork are placed side by side

Another way to avoid bad luck has to do with placement of a knife and fork on your plate. Don’t cross the utensils because that will bring sorrow and misfortune or spark an argument. But you can prevent any ill effects if you pick up the knife, and while holding it vertically, tap the handle end on the table three times. Well, now that should catch the attention of others at the table. Y’all listen up!

To simplify matters, just place the knife and fork side by side on your plate. In restaurants that is a signal to most servers that you are finished with your meal and he or she can remove the plate. Dessert anyone?


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