It had a few links, a few days back and it is a neat gadget. (This link -- from an unexpected and much-appreciated source -- is to an article about it I hadn't seen). It's more of a "hobo knife;" at least, that's what we called a pocketknife that included a spoon and a fork when I was young. At least one commenter has suggested it might be a sailor's knife, in part because what "experts" are calling a toothpick looks more like a small marlinspike or fid. Whatever it was, whoever used it, the Romans went us more than one better, adding a little shellfish-winkling utensil and something Swiss Army and hobo knives ought to have but don't: a ketchup starter!
Okay, the report calls it "a [tiny!] spatula, which is believed to have been used for poking sauce out of narrow-necked bottles," and the sauce was most likely fermented fish sauce, garum, but considering that stuff is described as "the supreme condiment....a thick liquid..." and actually fairly mild, we can think of it as the Roman equivalent to our tomato-and-vinegar sauce and probably about as thixotropic. It was even put up in bottles of a surprisingly familiar shape!
"Dear Ron Leatherman: Such an idea I have got for your next product...."
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago