Wednesday, 13 March 2013


Saw an interesting article in the Telegraph, a British national broadsheet, today. The chairman of a Chinese provincial forestry group commented that in order to conserve wood stocks, wooden chopsticks in public places ought to be ditched, and diners encouraged to bring their own tableware. Either that, or, shock horror, the last resort would be the provision of metal knives and forks in public.

It wasn't just the article that was interesting, but the comments section, where some commentators expressed curiosity as to why the Chinese use chopsticks instead of knives and forks at mealtimes. Here're some pearls of wisdom from my grandma about this topic.

My grandma's experience was that after all that sawing with a knife and fork, the energy you get from the food you've eaten just dissipates, just like that. Not only that, but you need to observe so many quirks, like whether you've used your fork like a spoon to shovel your peas into your mouth versus whether you've rammed your peas against the back of your fork which, that you get distracted from enjoying and tasting the food.

When she used chopsticks, all she focussed on was savouring the food, and whether the people around her had eaten more than enough (the tradition in my family is that before everyone eats, both the older and younger attendees of a meal must make sure that every plate or bowl of rice on the table has a bit of meat or veggie on before starting to eat).

Personally, I don't mind what I use to eat my food, because by the time my meals are served I'm so hungry that all I want to do is eat. And anyway, at the end of the day, everyone, no matter where they come from, eats with their mouth.

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