I'm writing about Korean food right now, which begs the question of why Koreans use silver chopsticks, which got me thinking about how globalised Asian food has become and wondering how common it is for anyone --- not just Asians --- to know how to use chopsticks these days.
So here's my readers' poll: How old were you when you learned to use chopsticks? Feel free to embellish your answer with tragic tales of food dropped on the floor or being rapped on the knuckles by your elders, if any.
Also, I'm interested to see if anyone says, no, in fact they have not learned to use chopsticks.
My story: I don't remember exactly when I was taught to use chopsticks, but I grew up first using the fork and spoon --- to eat Asian meals, yes. Even today, at home I reach for a fork-and-spoon combination before I think about chopsticks, unless sushi is involved. I suspect I must have been six? seven? years old when I could use chopsticks competently in public (i.e. my parents didn't have to request for a fork and spoon if we were at a Chinese restaurant).
But my parents always lamented that my brother and I learned the wrong technique. To this day I can't control my chopsticks in the traditional fashion, where the chopstick closer to the body stays static while the thumb, index and middle finger lever the other one and keep it moving. I can still pick up most food and I did okay with those darn slippery silver Korean chopsticks for almost two months, but the occasional quail's egg or soft tofu still eludes me.
Oh, but the tearful tale of how I had to sit at the dinner table and learn to cut steak properly ... That's a story for another day.
So, do tell: when did you learn to use chopsticks and do you have a story to tell about it?
Labels: Food for thought