I eat almost everything with my hands. The few exceptions include soup and chocolate mousse, but generally, all foods are finger food to me.
It may just be because I'm Indian and it's culturally normal to eat with my hands. Also, I've never been taught by my parents to use a knife and fork, and any foray into cutlery-use was either experimental or necessitated by circumstances. Like that time I attended an etiquette course and was flabbergasted that while the instructors thought to teach me about cutlery, they failed to mention that not all cultures fit within this "norm."
It doesn’t sit well with me when eating without a knife and fork, going cutlery-free and diving in with your fingers, is seen as inappropriate, uncultured or akin to something a cave-person would do. In fact there are a lot of cultural traditions (mine included) where eating with your hands is the norm and totally acceptable.
We all have our preferred way of enjoying our favorite foods. Sometimes I eat all of the lasagne on my plate except for the cheese crust, which I save for last and savor at the end. A friend of mine was once fascinated with Chinese culture, so she proceeded to try to eat everything with chop sticks (even yogurt!)
Some of the older members of my family do use forks to eat rice, but this is due mainly to age and difficulty grasping certain foods because of issues like osteoporosis or arthritis.
If you can, going cutlery-free is fun, albeit sometimes a little messy until you get the hang of it. Eating with your hands does involve more hand washing (before and after eating), but washing your hands a few times a day is good for health and hygiene reasons anyway.
Here are three reasons why eating with my hands is so satisfying:
- I am more mindful of what I am eating when I get to feel every mouthful on my fingertips before eating it. The whole food experience changes when I use my fingers instead of a metal implement. In my personal opinion, food tastes better this way, too.
- I feed my baby with my hands as well (porridge is an awkward exception). This helps me to connect with my little one while I suffer a few playful bites with his new teeth! It also allows me to check the temperature of my baby's food. Using a spoon, I'd often test the heat on my lip, but using my fingers makes this easier.
- I've heard that eating with your hands aids digestion, although I've yet to find scientific proof for this. Whether this is true or not, it really does enhance the eating experience; eliminating the need to have metal on my tongue or clattering against my teeth, the experience is more tactile and natural.
Give it a try - wash up, and eat up!
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