Like many neurotic people, I cannot stand when an object has only one use. Except for lamps and pants and, ok, maybe a dozen other everyday things, I want the items I own to be capable of more than one task: I both work and eat at tables; my dog is equal parts entertainment and protection; books are decor, dust collectors, and reference material. So naturally I love sporks. The clever marriage of the spoon and fork has existed since at least 1874, but somehow no one has managed to popularize another multi-use utensil into the stratospheric pop culture phenomenon of the spork.
Until now. Today, word in from wok masters Panda Express that they are maybe probably adopting the chork as a regular, plastic-sheathed to-go utensil at locations nationwide. A chork, of course, is what happens when you combine a fork with chopsticks. A tiny spring holds the contraption together so there's no awkward dropping of half of one's chork.
What I love about this is threefold: 1) It is a chopstick and a fork in one fun package; 2) The chork has existed for some time, but now Panda Express is flinging it into the mainstream; and 3) This proves that many, many Americans — try as they might to seem cultured and worldly — still don't know how to use chopsticks.
Panda Express, a chain best known for its vibrant orange chicken and near-traditional use of wok cookery, buried this brilliant bit of news in a press release about a new menu item, General Tso's Chicken. Inspired by a public more aware of the historical complexities and regional variations of this dish, Panda is jumping in on the Search for General Tso bandwagon. That's great, but it's not as great as the chork.
Confusingly, Panda's press release does not say when chorks will be available to the public at Panda Express, but we hope it happens soon. For efficiency's sake.
Furthermore, Chorks were introduced to the public during the launch of the dish. The tool is a perfect way to illustrate the mashup of American and Chinese cultures — just like Panda Express. Chorks, like the new dish, are a unique utensil that elevate the way people experience their food. While Chorks are not currently available at Panda Express locations, there is a possibility that they will make their way into stores in the future.
Until then, the world is going mad for chorks:
• One Day at Panda Express [E]