Could anything in this material life better embody frugality than the mighty spork?
In seeking to remove possessions from a world of over-abundance, the spork should serve as the gold standard. It seamlessly replaces two items — the scooping spoon! The piercing fork! — meaning your lunch bag or cutlery drawer can house one less occupant, with no loss of functionality.
Gone spork shopping
As someone who packed his lunch most days, I’d gotten pretty sick of the sort of foods you could eat just using your hands, and keeping both forks and spoons around was a route I didn’t want to go down. A spork was the obvious answer.
In seeking a spork of my own, the main problem I ran into was one of limited options because, you see, spork-mongers operate in a world of dichotomy.
At one extreme, you’ll find the Cadillac versions of the spork. When I told friends I was in the market for a spork, they probably imagined the barely functional, flimsy plastic that was only good enough to shovel the chunks of mush you’d buy as side dishes at KFC. They might have never imagined I was cross-shopping models like this electric blue, anodized, titanium beauty made by Snow Peak:
The downside to buying the Cadillac of sporks is, of course, having to pay Cadillac prices. The Snow Peak spork costs $15 — which is close to what you might spend on an inexpensive 20-piece, stainless steel flatware set for four people.
Other than this small group of more expensive versions, the spork market was mostly flooded with disposables like this model:
The cheap plastic design was less than inspiring, and there were a number of bad reviews that should have given me pause. Plus, no one wants to add an unnecessary plastic spork a day to the landfills.
However, these were only a few pennies each. Not wanting to go all in on my first foray, I decided to opt for a 100-pack of the cheaper version. Mother Nature could take one for the team once again.
A spork too far
My first few weeks with the disposable sporks weren’t bad as I stuck to easily scoopable stews and a mushroom-chicken risotto — dishes where I could test out the bowl part of the spork.
It was when I packed a tofu-broccoli curry that I first ran into trouble. I could tell that the prongs were flimsy, but I never thought they might break…
I would go through dozens more of the plastic sporks, tailoring my meals around their weak poking ability, before I finally decided to make the switch.
Buying for life
This time, I did it right. I set my budget a bit higher when I stopped thinking of the spork as an expense, but rather as a good investment. Your spork is something you’ll use every workday, so getting a better one can really set the tone for a great day. I went with this:
At $9, it’s still on the pricier side, but every meal is more pleasurable with the transparent taste of titanium rather than the plasticky taste of plastic. Moreover, this thing is tough enough to last me years of daily use, meaning that — unlike the uninspired plastic alternative — the metal spork will pay for itself long before I have to throw it away.
In other words, every so often the more expensive item actually costs less in the long run.
What goods do you spend a little bit more on upfront that pay for themselves over time?