February 6th is ‘National Chopsticks Day’. It may seem odd that we have a ‘National Chopsticks Day’ but if you take into account all of the Asian people living here and who have lived here for more than a hundred years, it doesn’t seem odd at all. And take into account all the Western People who have adapted to Chopsticks, at least when eating in Asian Restaurants.
Chopsticks have been in use in certain Asian for thousands of years. The Asian Countries that traditionally use Chopsticks are China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Of course, in addition to chopsticks, all these countries do use spoons to drink soup with. Much to my surprise, Chopsticks were used to replace forks in China.
Chopsticks which were originally devised as cooking implements go back to the Chang Dynasty which was more than a millennium before our modern day calendar came into use. The Cooking Chopsticks shown below are fastened at the top with a tie which makes it easier to use as a cooking implement. The Chopsticks are made from a hardwood that will not splinter into the food.
During the Han Dynasty, Chopsticks began to be used as eating utensils and during the Ming Dynasty they were used both for cooking and eating.
The Green Chopsticks below are fashioned after the ‘Hello Kittie’ Craze in Japan and if you look closely you will a ‘Hello Cookie’ face at the top of each one. These two are made from a hardwood; it seems like the color has been incorporated into the wooden material rather than having been painted on.
In Thailand, even though the fork and spoon are traditionally used for eating (the fork to push the food onto the spoon) chopsticks are also frequently used, especially by the numerous Chinese Thai. According to Wikipedia, almost all Thai citizens do know how to use chopsticks, even though they don’t use them on an everyday basis. Having been to Thailand, I don’t know if I agree with them as all I have ever seen Thai people eat with is the fork and spoon. The Chinese restaurants in Thailand do set the table with Chopsticks but also with fork and spoon as a rule.
Chopsticks can be made from wood (usually less expensive Chinese Restaurants will provide a somewhat inferior chopstick. The more exclusive the restaurant, the better the quality of the chopsticks provided.
Chopsticks have also been made from ivory (that practice has probably been stopped as the use of ivory in most countries has been prohibited), gold, bamboo and more recently plastic.
Chopsticks make it easier to eat Asian food as most, especially Chinese food, is cut up into small pieces.
If you have ever eaten rice and tried to pick the grains up with your chopsticks and find yourself failing at it, that is because chopsticks are not meant to pick up grains of rice. If you pay attention to how rice is indivually served, in small bowls, you are supposed to pick up the bowl and sort of push the rice into your mouth from the bowl.
If you don’t know how to eat with chopsticks, you can find directions on many websites. Just type into your browser, ‘How to eat with Chopsticks’/
Happy ‘National Chopsticks Day’. Go out or go home and enjoy an Asian meal; my favorite type of cuisines is Asian. Asian food is tasty and you don’t get stuffy full when you eat it, therefore you can have a variety of dishes at one meal and not be stuffed. And your taste buds will be totally satisfied!