WHY EAT WITH CHOPSTICKS? I am referring to wooden chopsticks and not the piano piece named casually chopsticks. I don’t know how many readers have used chopsticks but the very first time I attempted them was definitely an adventure. This was years ago, and on a business trip, a nice Chinese restaurant was the place of choice by everyone. Being from a small town whose big attraction was The I Like It Restaurant, I showed my adventurous spirit by going along with the crowd. When others asked for chopsticks, well of course I had to have my pair. I have seen the ones that are “trainers” later in my life; no trainers were given and the adventure began. I learned a long time ago, if you are not sure of the proper way to do anything, slow down, hesitate, and watch and learn from others.
For all of you that have used chopsticks and have mastered the art of using them instead of the fork; I applaud you and I can say too, “I can use chopsticks and eat a meal with ease.” I don’t say it with bragging rights. I say it because it was a challenge and I overcame the uncomfortableness of holding it correctly. I have taught many people how to use the chopsticks and even those who use the trainers first usually master it to a certain degree. I think back and I vividly remember traveling and stopped at a nice looking Chinese restaurant. I ordered lunch and I proudly used my chopsticks. While I was eating, I looked over to a table where this elderly Chinese lady was sitting and I watched her eating rice impressively with her chopsticks and she was not doing the “shoveling technique” and I was intrigued with her method and realized I was no master at all. She looked up and smiled a little smile at me and for some reason and for a brief second she seemed to approve of my attempts to use chopsticks and to blend into her culture. I still ask for chopsticks when we go to eat Chinese cuisine and that little lady seems to send me a smile across the universe.
An interesting article on the history of chopsticks in Hungry History:
We’ve discussed the story of the knife and fork, but there’s another set of utensils used by billions of people around the world—and it has a truly ancient past. The Chinese have been wielding chopsticks since at least 1200 B.C., and by A.D. 500 the slender batons had swept the Asian continent from Vietnam to Japan. From their humble beginnings as cooking utensils to paper-wrapped bamboo sets at the sushi counter, there’s more to chopsticks than meets the eye.The fabled ruins of Yin, in Henan province, provided not only the earliest examples of Chinese writing but also the first known chopsticks—bronze sets found in tombs at the site. Capable of reaching deep into boiling pots of water or oil, early chopsticks were used mainly for cooking. It wasn’t until A.D. 400 that people began eating with the utensils. This happened when a population boom across China sapped resources and forced cooks to develop cost-saving habits. They began chopping food into smaller pieces that required less cooking fuel—and happened to be perfect for the tweezers-like grip of chopsticks.As food became bite-sized, knives became more or less obsolete. Their decline—and chopsticks’ ascent—also came courtesy of Confucius. As a vegetarian, he believed that sharp utensils at the dinner table would remind eaters of the slaughterhouse. He also thought that knives’ sharp points evoked violence and warfare, killing the happy, contended mood that should reign during meals. Thanks in part to his teachings, chopstick use quickly became widespread throughout Asia.Different cultures adopted different chopstick styles. Perhaps in a nod to Confucius, Chinese chopsticks featured a blunt rather than pointed end. In Japan, chopsticks were 8 inches long for men and 7 inches long for women. In 1878 the Japanese became the first to create the now-ubiquitous disposable set, typically made of bamboo or wood. Wealthy diners could eat with ivory, jade, coral, brass or agate versions, while the most privileged used silver sets. It was believed that the silver would corrode and turn black if it came into contact with poisoned food.Throughout history, chopsticks have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with another staple of Asian cuisine: rice. Naturally, eating with chopsticks lends itself to some types of food more than others. At first glance, you’d think that rice wouldn’t make the cut, but in Asia most rice is of the short- or medium-grain variety. The starches in these rices create a cooked product that is gummy and clumpy, unlike the fluffy and distinct grains of Western long-grain rice. As chopsticks come together to lift steaming bundles of sticky rice, it’s a match made in heaven.
Article/Title Details: A Brief History of Chopsticks
Author: Stephanie Butler
Website Name: History.com
Year Published: 2013
Access Date: January 30, 2016
Now for the deeper thought…….In this life, we can choose an easy, familiar life and stay in a close environment. There are plenty of people who have never traveled outside their comfort zone. I also think some people live for adventure, excitement, and desire to go past the limits of the city. That being said, to become comfortable in our cuisine, it is helpful if we combine these two scenarios. First, we need to choose a healthy plan of eating, one we can live in it, thrive within the changes we have to make. Secondly, we have to be willing to “try the chopsticks” to share our nutritional testimony to others, step up to be charitable and giving by volunteering, speaking, writing, and sharing the changes our eating lifestyle have made for us. Familiar is good; going for the unfamiliar modes of always keeping healthy choices is a little disconcerting and we have to be willing to pick up the vessels of our eating and exercising like picking up the chopsticks and using them. Try the chopsticks of life next time and see if there is a little lady sitting at a table and smiling at your efforts to live a great life of healthy eating.