The latest dining trend is a messy one: Eating with your hands. Well, according to The New York Times, anyway. Apparently more and more people are getting down and dirty with their food. It's traditional in non-western countries like India to eat with your hands -- and it's slowly becoming more acceptable here, too. Allow me to wipe my hands here on this napkin so I can applaud.
Some foods really are better eaten with your hands -- I mean, she who eats chicken wings with a fork is totally missing the point. And every New Yorker except Donald Trump knows it's the ONLY way to eat pizza. But I was curious about how far I could push this utensil-free dining. So, without preparing any special for-hands meals, I decided to spend 24 hours eating all my meals utensil-free.
Lunch: White bean stew with cauliflower. This one was easy, especially since I'd forgotten to bring my spoon with me to work (the stew was left over from dinner). This being a stew, everything was bite-sized, including the cauliflower. I just tipped the bowl like a cup and slurp, slurp, slurp. No utensils, but no hands, either. This utensil-free eating is going to be a snap!
Dinner: Ravioli in olive oil and clementines (separately, not in the same dish). Forget what I said about a snap -- this pasta was a little tricky. I would eat clementines with my hands, anyway. But here's what I learned from the ravioli -- food can be cool enough to eat from a fork and yet still too hot to pick up with your fingers. HOTHOTHOT! After it cooled a little, I liked the feeling of the olive oil. I like to think I got a bit of a manicure from this dinner. Also, it seemed to make sense to eat the clementines first and then dig into the ravioli. Eating with my hands forced me to eat this very simple dinner in courses.
Breakfast: Granola with yogurt. This is what I eat every morning for breakfast. I have to say, cold yogurt with granola did not have the same sensuous comfort as last night's pasta in warm olive oil. It took a lot of concentration to eat just with my first two fingers and thumb, too, so my usual habit of reading while eating breakfast didn't quite work. Plus, it's so messy, it's easier just to chow it all down at once and wash my hands after.
So eating with your hands -- despite what your toddler will tell you -- is harder to pull off than you'd think. But I did like how it forced me to focus more on my food while I was eating. And the next time I eat out at a non-western restaurant, I'll definitely dare eating my food with my hands.
Would you eat with your hands in a restaurant -- even if you weren't eating fried chicken or pizza?
Image via Adriana Velez