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Jun 10, 2022 | Samuel Albert
Cuisines of all sorts have migrated to ends of the earth along with their cutlery. As a result, indulging has become a common word in our dictionary. So, we don't think twice before venturing into a Chinese restaurant and dining to relinquish the Far Eastern food and dunk our senses into the flavors, taste, aroma, and feel. And the perk is you get to try eating with a pair of chopsticks.
Chopsticks are not better than forks, and forks are not better than chopsticks. Period. Both have their own places in their respective parts of the world. However, while chopsticks belong to Asian cuisine, forks belong to Western fare. Chopsticks are designed to pick and eat smaller portions of Asian food, and the food and the way people eat in the West are way different, requiring the aid of forks, spoons, and knives at the table.
Chopsticks have become the new fad in the world of tableware. Imagine picking up and eating a large piece of steak or a whole sausage with a pair of chopsticks! Not possible, right? It is rather funny! There is much ado around chopsticks as people have framed lots of theories to prove that chopsticks are better than forks. Truth hurts, but it is now time to shine some light on it and bring it out.
Let's go unmask and unveil the truth behind the mad craze of chopsticks.
Chopsticks are no better than forks and vice versa. Instead, they are two incomparable, completely different sets of tableware crafted to eat two totally distinct kinds of food fare.
Coming straight to the point, if you are a newbie who is not deft with the use of chopsticks, you will find eating with chopsticks a tough nut to crack. As a result, your complete focus will be on the pair of sticks in your hand; you don't want to mess up, right? Since eating with it is not your second nature, you will pay utmost attention to your eating endeavor.
You will feel you have achieved something great when you've successfully finished eating your meal solely with a pair of chopsticks.
i) Myth: Slow eating with chopsticks helps in lowering your glycemic index.
Truth: Attaboy! You can also practice conscious slow eating with your fork and knife. No big deal! You definitely don't have to punish yourself with a chopsticks game to slow down your meal.
ii) Myth: Chopsticks are gentle on food, while forks impale them.
Truth: Your mouth is designed to crush, chew and masticate every bit that goes through it; only the forks and knives help them better. The Western world cooks large chunks of meat, serves bread and cereal, and seldom cuts their food into tiny pieces before cooking. They have their cutlery to do that part of the job, so why bother! Cutting is often done after the food is cooked.
Chopsticks are used for well-cooked foods that belong to the Far Eastern world - a cup of noodles, a bowl of rice, perfectly cooked shrimp, chicken, and meat cut into bite pieces that don't require much help with a chopping chore at the plate. Here, cutting is done before the food is cooked. Note the difference!
iii) Myth: You can't pile food on a pair of chopsticks, leading to smaller mouthfuls and helping you keep your weight under check.
Truth: Yes, this is true for a person who has not mastered the art of eating with chopsticks. A proficient person using the chopsticks can pile food on chopsticks, just as anyone can do with a fork.
How many times have we watched Asians hogging their favorite noodles and other food into their mouths with these humble pair of sticks?
People adept in chopsticks usage can overeat their meals just as much as anyone can stuff their tummies with the help of a fork.
Eastern cuisine is piping hot when served, and metal chopsticks that conduct heat quickly transfer the heat to the handle of the chopsticks, making it difficult to touch them.
That is why metal chopsticks are designed to be hollow on the inside, so there is controlled heat transfer.
Another bonus of using hollow metal chopsticks is that they require less metal and are lightweight.
Heck, no! Food doesn't taste better with chopsticks. It is just the experience one is concentrating on and not the food. The novel experience of using chopsticks just lightens up the whole environment and betters the taste of the food.
The first-hand experience of anything new is exotic, cherished, and indulged. But with time, the fun element vanishes, and we are back to normalcy and boredom. So, the true culprit is our brain which plays games on us as we tend to relinquish anything out of the box.
Also, slow eating definitely enhances the taste of the food. So, now my question is, "Who is eating with chopsticks?" An expert or a novice.
If you own a pair of bamboo chopsticks, they tend to twist and warp within a short time, about 3 months utmost, and must be discarded. There is also a significant chance of them harboring microorganisms and turning moldy. So, it is safe to discard them.
Wooden chopsticks, on the other hand, if you handwash them immediately, dry them properly, and maintain them adequately, can be used for 2-3 years.
I wouldn't personally suggest you not use plastic chopsticks, so I am skipping them here.
Metal chopsticks can be used for a lifetime, just like spoons, forks, and knives.
Asian cuisine uses chopsticks, and Western cooking is great with the appropriate cutlery meant for them. But, when one wants to mix and match things that don't go along, there is unnecessary confusion. But, on the other hand, there is no harm in trying out using different cutlery and learning the nuances of a different culture. Let our experiences remain adventurous and enjoyable, not mar the truth.