A variety of eating utensils have been used by people to aid eating when dining. Most societies traditionally use bowls or dishes to contain food to be eaten, but while some use their hands to deliver this food to their mouths, others have developed specific tools for the purpose. In Western cultures, cutlery items such as knives and forks are the traditional norm, while in much of the East, chopsticks are more common. Spoons are ubiquitous.
In some cultures, such as Ethiopian and Indian, hands alone are used or bread takes the place of non-edible utensils. In others, such as Japanese and Chinese, where bowls of food are more often raised to the mouth, little modification from the basic pair of chopsticks and a spoon has taken place. Western culture has taken the development and specialization of eating utensils further, with the result that multiple utensils may appear in a dining setting, each with a different name and purpose. With the evolution of people's eating habits, further modification continues to take place, mostly in the West.
Some utensils are designed for eating or preparing specific foods:
Over time, traditional utensils have been modified in various ways in attempts to make eating more convenient or to reduce the total number of utensils required.
Prepackaged products may come with a utensil intended to be consumed or discarded after using it to consume the product. For instance, some single-serve ice cream is sold with a flat wooden spade, often erroneously called a "spoon", to lift the product to one's mouth. Prepackaged tuna salad or cracker snacks may contain a flat plastic spade for similar purposes.