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Do you tend to eat with your hands?

When given the opportunity I will forgo utensils.

I prefer not to use them.

It was brought to my attention that this is odd [in the western world].

Thoughts?

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  1. GUILTY....
    When eating bacon I'll pick it up and eat it with my fingers....it's hard to cut crisp bacon with a knife and stab it with a fork.

    Eating shoe string fries off a plate with my fingers is easier than stabbing them with a fork.

    6 Replies
    1. re: monku

      those are tame examples! what else?

      1. re: cookingasshole

        Good to know they aren't major faux pas'....I won't be so self conscious.

        1. re: monku

          I didn't know anyone ate bacon or fries with utensiles!

      2. re: monku

        Who in their right minds eats bacon with a fork and knife? (unless it's a monster thick slab that's more steak than bacon)

        1. re: joonjoon

          "Who in their right minds eats bacon with a fork and knife?"

          Uh, me? Personally, because I prefer bacon that hasn't been fried so crisp that it crumbles to the touch, I find using a knife and fork allows me to enjoy my bacon without getting grease all over my hands.

      3. Salad tastes WAY better when eaten with the fingers. I hate using a fork with salad.

        Basically, I eat with my finger whenever possible - and I lick my fingers rather than using a napkin. My proper friends shudder when they dine with me, but I don't care....

        Anne

        15 Replies
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            I am constantly eating salad with my fingers--good to see I am not the only one! I won't do it in a restaurant (unless I'm back in the corner and no one's looking) but at home I never use utensils for it. A fork and knife just don't work on salad. And I only like a tiny bit of dressing, so I like to dip the vegetables into a little cup of it, which is best accomplished with fingers.

              1. re: travelmad478

                me too! then you can pick out each individual thing! and you get less dressing that way too.

              2. re: AnneInMpls

                I usually start with my fork when eating salad, but almost always move on to the fingers at some point.

                1. re: debbiel

                  Ha, same here! That or I find myself randomly alternating between fork and fingers.

                  For some reason, I always eat broccoli with my fingers.

                  1. re: debbiel

                    If the salad has croutons, it almost demands fingers.

                  2. re: AnneInMpls

                    Wow! It's not just me! I'll have to point my wife to this thread to prove that I'm not really that weird.

                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      I ALWAYS liked eating salads with my fingers, to me it just seems like a finger food.

                      1. re: AnneInMpls

                        chopsticks might be a good compromise when you have some special reason to 'behave'

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          I like using chopsticks with salad. Often much easier than with a fork. I've never used my fingers with a proper salad, as I like them tossed with plenty of dressing. Even salads with minimal dressing - just can't imagine using my fingers...

                          Plates of raw celery sticks, broccoli florets, etc with a bowl of dip alongside, yes, I would use my fingers.

                          1. re: huiray

                            Me too...at least at home. Chopstix for eating salads. Its the best way. I would do the same in restaurants with bringing a pair.... but I would be laughed out of the place

                            I can pick out exactly what I want in each bite.
                            I will pick out and eat some salad pieces with my fingers but not ones that have dressing on them

                        2. re: AnneInMpls

                          I'm shuddering right now just thinking about it...I'm a bbq hound ..and imagining what you would do to some pulled pork.... WoW

                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            I totally agree! The taste is cleaner.

                          2. you mean like anything? for me it's food specific. i wouldn't eat spaghetti with my hands, if i was alone or not. i'll eat bacon and sausage with my fingers. not a fried egg, tho... definitely fries.

                            2 Replies
                            1. When I was in the Peace Corps in Nepal, I was horrified initially at the thought of eating dal bhaat (rice and lentils plus a vegetable, etc.) with my fingers, but I grew used to it over time. On the rare occasions when I eat it now, I have a strong urge to use my right hand. I would only do that if eating in the home of other RPCVs!

                              1. I usually do your standard bacon eggs toast sausage breakfast with my hands... I push all the scambled eggs onto the toast with my right hand... (I guess the toast becomes the utensil... am I disqualified?). Sausage anywhere is better eaten with the hands. I think alot of stuff that I dip into sauce. Smoked fish, fresh trout, .... steamed broccoli with oil and gralic.

                                  1. re: beevod

                                    Totally. When the cooked pasta is draining in the colander I steal a bunch and eat them. Perfect finger food.

                                  2. chicken cutlets, pork chops, cake...who doesn't like eating without utensils...and never trust anyone who doesn't lick the bowl after eating ice cream. Quite the unique username, by the way

                                    1. I wouldn't object to it, but it seems to me that it's more practical to use utensils with most foods. Even when the food is meant to be eaten with your hands (I've gotten many strange looks bringing out utensils in Ethiopian places), more often than not, the fork or spoon is a better tool for the job.

                                      The only times when I ignore the utensils are at upscale places that also happen to serve a pizza (and other foods like a sandwich that are just easier to eat with your hands). In those cases, the hands are the best tool for the job and if something falls off, it's up to the fingers to recover and deliver to the mouth.

                                      1. My parents grew up in Asia where eating with the hands was not uncommon so we grew up doing the same, although I always hated getting sauce, meat juices and the general smell of my dinner all over my hands. Nowadays unless I am using bread as a hand shield or what I'm eating is otherwise dry, I prefer to use any utensil other than my hands.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JungMann

                                          Same here, JungMann... I can't stand it when my fingers or hands get sticky or messy. When I'm cooking I'm constantly washing my hands, and that would be inconvenient while dining.

                                        2. Fruit. I hate precut or presliced fruit. Everytime I see someone eat grapes with a fork it reminds of George from Seinfeld eating a Snickers bar with fork and knife.

                                          Ends of pie crust edge. If I have a slice of pie, and I've dusted off the filling part and start working towards the end of the edge, I pick up with my digits. Same with pizza crust ends, but then no one eats pizza with knife and fork, right? (Chicago folks exempted, of course).

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            Actually it was Elaine's boss, Mr. Pitt, who started the knife-and-fork-Snickers trend. :-)

                                            As for pizza, I can tell you that most of the rest of the world ex-US eats it with a knife and fork. I was aghast when I learned this, starting when I lived overseas and dated a European for the first time. Being from NJ, where eating pizza is strictly done with one's hands using the triangle-fold method, I laugh every time I see people sawing away at their pizzas.

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              "everytime" you see someone eating grapes with a fork?? how often can that possibly be? where do you live, Buckingham Palace?? ( :

                                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                                Sterling grape shears at the ready...

                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                  In some countries when fruit is served as a dessert it is supposed to be eaten with a knife and fork (eg a fresh peach). Americans who insist on eating with their hands are shunned.

                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                    Funny . . .in America if you eat fruit with a knife and fork, it would be seen as odd (but not shunned) . . . Pick up the peach and eat!

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Of course . . .it would make TSE proud!

                                              2. I hate having food on my hands. At work when there are doughnuts, I'll eat them with a fork if I can. I'm not quite at the knife-and-fork candy bar level yet, but getting there.

                                                1. If I'm home and I can pick it up, I have no problem eating almost anything with my hands. I mean, I prepare the food with them, right?

                                                  1. Actually, no. I'm the girl at the picnic struggling to eat fried chicken with a fork and knife. The big exception here is anything where bread is served, I can suck down a whole loaf of bread scooping down food with it. BUT--I do tend break stuff apart rather than bite into it. For example, I'm eating a granola bar right now, but am breaking off pieces instead of just biting it.

                                                    I'm weird.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: italia84

                                                      I do the break food up thing too. There's nothing weird about it at all.

                                                      1. re: TheHuntress

                                                        Me too; generally prefer to use utensils, and break off pieces of snack bars or even bananas instead of taking a bite of the whole thing.

                                                        1. re: italia84

                                                          I'm just curious... for those of you who break stuff apart rather than biting into it, are you women or men? I've seen lots of women doing this in my life, but have never observed a man doing it.

                                                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                            Well, I like to think of myself as a lady, but there are those who might disagree. But I am female and tend to break my food apart - and I don't believe I have ever seen a man do it either.

                                                            1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                              interesting observation! i, too, am female and break apart my food before eating. and you're right, i can't recall ever seeing a man do it.

                                                              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                I do this and I am a woman...but I attribute it to the fact that I had braces for 4 years growing up. Nothing was worse than biting something with your front teeth, and getting it stuck everyone in your braces. Gross. So I cut up a lot of things - apples, granola bars, bagels, etc.

                                                                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                  Wouldn't it depend on the food item? For example, bread/rolls served at a proper sit-down meal (where there is a separate bread plate, full cutlery, etc) IS supposed to be broken apart a piece at a time - by hand - before buttering it and eating it. I daresay that applies to both men and women.

                                                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                    I tear my food apart. Into small pieces, I started doing this young, when i had an anorexic habit. I am definitely not anorexic now, grew out of it, but I still do this. I eat the parts that I perceive to be lower calorie I think. Less bread, more vegetable innards or whatever. I have to consciously avoid this if at a business meal. Otherwise it draws attention.

                                                                2. other than the usual - bacon, french fries... salad sometimes, depends on the dressing/topping and the size of the pieces.
                                                                  I eat the following with my fingers quite frequently:
                                                                  asparagus
                                                                  green beans
                                                                  broccoli
                                                                  waffles - with peanut butter, not syrup
                                                                  sausage
                                                                  pie crust

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                    I thought I was the only one who thought asparagus was a finger food (but only at home ;)

                                                                    1. re: gaffk

                                                                      have to admit, i've done it in public as well.

                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                        I believe that eating asparagus with one's fingers is actually the "proper" and accepted way of eating it. It is certainly the best way IMHO.

                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                          asparagus is actually proper finger food because it is never supposed to touch metal. so it is fingers ( or chopsticks!)

                                                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                                                            I didn't know that. Interesting.

                                                                            And, hanging my head in shame, like juju I found myself doing this in a restaurant last week. Thank God I was just dining with family.

                                                                        2. re: jujuthomas

                                                                          To your list, add lamb chops (the little ones sliced off a rack of lamb) . . . like having a lamb lollypop!

                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                            Yeah. Green beans are totally a finger food.

                                                                            1. Yes. Given a choice, I prefer to eat with my hands. Of course, with some foods it doesn't make sense (cereal, soup, foods with lots of sauce). My favorite, but ONLY if no one else is around and I am feeling gluttonous (usually once or twice a year right after my birthday) is cheesecake.

                                                                              I am Indian (U.S. born and raised) and my parents always say food tastes better when you eat it with your hands.

                                                                              1. Fried clams, who can dip them in tartar sauce using a fork? I do get looks when I'm in a restaurant though. Oh well.

                                                                                1. Wow. I feel a lot better now. I'm going to start a revolution and eat with my hands at restaurants. Together we can liberate ourselves from utensils and be free from social scorn!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: cookingasshole

                                                                                    Just found your old post. I was wondering if anyone else out there ate with their hands at meals as I do. I'm pretty much alone so it's no biggie, but I figured others would abhor it!! I think it slows me down and connects me to what I'm eating. I started somehow and can't stop. Even salads and mushy things I use fingers. I tried to use a fork for something a while back and it felt funny. :)

                                                                                  2. Yep - all the time. I've even found myself eating salad w/ my hands and picking up meat. Bad. I know. I now work in a clean room environment and will talk to myself while I'm going there "What am I eating and how can I eat it?"

                                                                                    1. I confess to eating with my hands often at home. Something primitive and comforting about it!

                                                                                      1. I LOVE eating with my hands! It is unfortunate in the western world it's sort of looked down upon, but I just like the sensual experience of eating with my fingers. I do use utensils when appropriate, usually when eating out and obviously food like soup really requires some utensils. But otherwise I really enjoy eating with my hands.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                          I like soup straight from a mug; no utensils required although I don't think it qualifies as true hands-on eating.

                                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                                            I do that too - and for my patients who have to lie flat for whatever purpose I get them a straw :) Though I did get told by one fellow that "you can't drink soup through a straw, that's stupid!" He didn't find it so stupid later when he got hungry. But I guess straws still count as a utensil.

                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                              How do you deal with the larger chunks of stuff in many, many hearty soups and the like in Western cuisine, or with typical East Asian/Chinese soups which typically have sizable chunks of stuff in them?

                                                                                          2. Yup. though i draw the line at soup

                                                                                            1. My husband the comedian saw this thread and said, "No, I tend to eat with my mouth."

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: cookingasshole

                                                                                                  pretty much. but we have to give it to him. he puts up with me.

                                                                                              1. I am a utensil person for most foods, with the exception of fries, pizza, sandwiches, "finger foods". However, my daugher (10) is a finger person - she eats EVERYTHING with her fingers - really drives me crazy!!! Hoping she'll grow out of it!

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: jillian68

                                                                                                  I promise, jillian68, right about the time she discovers boys, that stuff will taper off. : )

                                                                                                2. yes! in the privacy of my home i eat almost everything with my hands, except for foods that do require a spoon (yogurt, soup, etc). it just tastes and feels better, and some forks are really metallic tasting.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: jamieeats

                                                                                                    I can't stop laughing. I just have this mental picture of a CH convention, banquet and all, where we all insist on eating with our hands and the waitstaff is friggin horrified. We should just tell them in advance, No cutlery necessary.

                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                      I would completely fly halfway around the world for that convention :D

                                                                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                        i'm in! who wants to compile the Evite list? ;)

                                                                                                    2. of course fingers should be everyone's first choice but unfortunately only when no one is looking - unless the food is too hot or too slippery. You are merely in touch with your natural instinct. The advantage in efficiency is indisputable!

                                                                                                      1. There are foods that are meant to be eaten with fingers: sandwiches, bread, asparagus. There are foods that are meant to be eaten with utensils: steaks, fried eggs, oatmeal. There are some foods that fall into the middle: fries, sushi, lechon.

                                                                                                        But I think the question as to "where" is equally important as to "what". Actions which I might find acceptable at home or a fast food joint I would find appalling at a high end resto. If I get steak frites, I'll use a knife and fork for everything, but if I get a burger and fries at McD's, it's all hands on deck. If I were at a business dinner, and a companion started eating his salad with his fingers, I would find it distasteful. As has been covered in other threads, I'll gleefully chew on a steak bone at home, but not while dining out (I'll take it home and do it there). Context is everything.

                                                                                                        1. I don't think anyone has mentioned lobster, langostinos, shrimp which I always eat with my fingers when they are cooked in their shell.

                                                                                                          1. Tacos and tostadas are certainly best eaten with the hands.
                                                                                                            Burritos as well.

                                                                                                            1. I've rarely had a sandwich that needed to be eaten with utensils but I use them for pretty much everything else.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                My husband doesn't like sandwiches precisely because they're eaten with the hands. He doesn't like to touch his food. I on the other hand am in there hammer and tongs, especially with bacon, french fries, things of that nature. I still always get a raised eyebrow when I touch my bacon. Opposites attract.

                                                                                                              2. i once had a friend who ate toast with a knife and fork. he didn't like getting butter and jelly or honey on his fingers. i found it amusing, he found my more direct approach equally amusing. Nothing worth fighting over thats for sure.

                                                                                                                1. I don't eat anything weird with the hands. I will pick up shrimp from a dish with my hands if it still has the shell/tail on though.

                                                                                                                  But this thread reminded me of one of the first threads I read on Chowhound -- something about what to do with olive pits. There was a long and detailed discussion of how to remove them from the mouth. I was amazed. I kinda felt like I'd walked into the wrong wedding reception. :)

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. I go with the anything fried will be eaten with my fingers. Or ribs, and other messy foods. Hell, we're out to have a good time anyway.

                                                                                                                    1. Almost nothing with my hands! No really... fruit (apples, peaches, bananas), some sandwiches--if they are small. Generally that's it. I don't like the greasy, or saucy feeling on my fingers. Even pizza or burritos or hamburgers I prefer with a knife and fork--but I know a lot of other people who do too.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                        Me too - fruit and sandwiches and that's just about all.

                                                                                                                      2. The first time I served fried chicken to the then-future Mrs. O, we sat down and I began to eat. "WHAT are you DOING??" she asked, aghast. Drumstick in hand, and startled, I looked up. "Eating chicken," I said. "With your HANDS? At the TABLE?" She was outraged. I was genuinely puzzled: "How else?" And thus began a running quarrel that lasted well over 25 years, off and on. That we lived in Nashville and knew hardly anyone who ate fried chicken with knife and fork didn't help a thing, nor (on her side) did the fact that she can pick off any chicken part cleaner and faster with utensils than I can without. After almost 30 years we've settled into a resigned and moderated armistice: I eat chicken with utensils when we're dining out, usually, and she picks up the wing-tips to gnaw on, but only at home.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                          I'm wondering where Mrs. O is from. My first husband was from Shaker Heights, OH and a VERY different social class than this rural West Tennessee working class gal.

                                                                                                                          But even HE and his fancy parents didn't eat fried chicken with a knife and fork!

                                                                                                                          And yes I do love eating with my fingers and I break apart my food but I try not to do it in public!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Bliss149

                                                                                                                            I had to laugh when I saw this. Years ago, I had a boyfriend from Shaker Heights. Imagine my mortification when I went to visit over holiday break, taking only jeans and "nice" sweaters to wear. Doh!! What can I say... I lived in Arizona at the time and didn't have a bunch of velvet pants and matching silk blouses :)-

                                                                                                                            On topic, I eat with my hands when appropriate, fork and knife when called for. No unusual habits on that one!

                                                                                                                          2. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                            I'm sorry to hear, Will, of non-dextered fried chicken.
                                                                                                                            How else does one gnaw down 'dem bones?

                                                                                                                            Only access to chew down the cartilage
                                                                                                                            is to roll that drumstick with your fingers.

                                                                                                                            These are unspoken rules on the Gallatin.

                                                                                                                          3. As I advance in age, and as my equator does likewise, and my joints become less supple and my back less flexible, I do eat more with my hands because

                                                                                                                            eating with my feet is not as much fun as it used to be. Especially with chopsticks.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                              Agreed... it is sad when the toes goes
                                                                                                                              and force a retreat
                                                                                                                              to mundanity of fingers.

                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                                                ...and this is why I love Chowhound.

                                                                                                                                1. re: guilty

                                                                                                                                  second that. We can always count on FoodFuser for a wonderful haiku about food. And great limericks as well

                                                                                                                            2. As to ingesting with digitization
                                                                                                                              just scrub up your hands
                                                                                                                              and stack down some napkins.

                                                                                                                              1. I, on the other hand, eat with my eyes first to see the beauty of the food on my plate and to anticipate the tasting experience, then with my nose to smell the aroma from the composition on the plate in front of me, followed by ears to hear the sizzle and snap - crackle and pop. I then pick up the knife and fork and choose the morsel I am about to eat, finally tasting the delicacy and savoring each moment it's in my mouth... Ahhh.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  gio, i was waiting for the punch line…."and by then, my food is cold."

                                                                                                                                  LOL

                                                                                                                                2. Depends on where you are:

                                                                                                                                  In the US - when consuming pizzas, hot dogs, burgers, donuts, amongst others.

                                                                                                                                  In Japan - ONLY at high-end sushi bars.

                                                                                                                                  In Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka - EVERYWHERE when you have local food, e.g. rice or naan/breads with curries.

                                                                                                                                  In Australia (where I grew up) - at the barbecues: lamb chops, chicken drumsticks, shrimps (which you'd need to de-shell)

                                                                                                                                  In Malaysia (where I live now) - Malay-style rice meals, Indian banana leaf rice. DON'T try that at a Chinese meal!

                                                                                                                                  In the Philippines - traditional Filipino restaurants which espouse "kamayan", i.e. eating with hands.

                                                                                                                                  In Korea, when having a live baby octopus ("nakchae") - you pick the octopus which would be swimming around in a basin of water in front of you - hold the head of the octopus in one hand, use your other hand to squeeze out the excess water from the tentacles (like you're ringing a handtowel). Dip the octopus head into the little bowl of "kochujang" (spicy-bean sauce dip), then bite into it. I ate a live octopus in Seoul once in 2001 - that was my first, and definitely LAST time!

                                                                                                                                  1. almost everything I can ( - :

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                                      I agree, for some reason the food just seems to taste better.

                                                                                                                                    2. I think this thread (and many responses) and another thread: http://www.chow.com/topics/809728 have mutual relevance.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                        I do agree. Reading the OP my first thought was eating Chicken.....:-) :-)

                                                                                                                                        But to come back to the question - some years ago/ in the middle nineties, we spend a few days in Guyana with an Indian family. Rice was prepared in a large metal bowl and was scooped up and eaten daintily using 2 or 3 fingers. As special guests we were given spoons, but it seemed nobody else really used them.
                                                                                                                                        (edited to add - and for special occasions and large crowds Lotus leaves were used as plates.)

                                                                                                                                      2. Us germaphobes have a hard time eating in a restaurant without utensils. After all, I just touched the doorknob at the entrance, or the menu, etc. Oh my..

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: debinjtown

                                                                                                                                          I'm sure the utensils are perfectly sterile.

                                                                                                                                        2. Fellow Philistines rejoice, we are not alone in our ways. Now, we even have restaurants willing to encourage our uncouth practices:

                                                                                                                                          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/din...

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                            I've always wanted to see a high-end restaurant with food from a Western/European tradition that is intended to be eaten with hands.

                                                                                                                                            I've always thought a frenched rack of lamb was meant to give you some nice meat "lollipops" with natural handles.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                              There is little less torturous than being in a setting where one feels hesitant to pick up a chop and gnaw the remaining meat from the bone. I think I'd rather be waterboarded than have to sacrifice those most tasty morsels.

                                                                                                                                          2. My family is West Indian. I remember eating with my hands a lot when I was a kid. My parents did it too. They taught me to use my thumb to shovel rice into my mouth after I made it into a little ball on my plate. And they used to say, "we don't eat with our hands, we eat with our fingers." Lol.

                                                                                                                                            When we go to big family parties in Trinidad, my Uncle cuts huge banana leaves from his yard, washes them, and we use them as plates. You definitely need to use fingers while eating off of a leaf.

                                                                                                                                            If I am eating a meal that requires a combination of eating with fingers and eating with utensils, whenever my fingers get dirty, I drop the fork and continue eating the meal with my fingers, no matter how much of a cavewoman I look like. :)

                                                                                                                                            Of course, I'd never do such a thing in a 5-star restaurant but at home it's just fine.

                                                                                                                                            I am also guilty of eating over the sink when there is nobody around to sit and eat with. Oh and licking fingers too. Can't skip that!

                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ladooShoppe

                                                                                                                                              Sounds like South India!
                                                                                                                                              "my Uncle cuts huge banana leaves from his yard, washes them, and we use them as plates. You definitely need to use fingers while eating off of a leaf."
                                                                                                                                              Though there they really eat with their Hands. Hard to mix Sambar and Rice and not get your whole Hand involved!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ladooShoppe

                                                                                                                                                my husband is tamil from sri lanka and i venture that he almost never uses his hands to eat food.

                                                                                                                                                pizza, sandwiches, you name it….knife and fork. chocolate candy is an exception.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                  Not what I saw in South India except at Western style Restaurants in Mumbai.Never when eating off of Banana Leaves in Kerala.
                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps your Husband is dainty?
                                                                                                                                                  Here is a Quote From Rough Guides on Eating in Sri Lanka, it is typical of almost all that I have read and the same goes for South India
                                                                                                                                                  "Sri Lankans say that you can’t properly enjoy the flavours and textures of food unless you eat with your fingers"

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chefj

                                                                                                                                                    my husband did not grow up eating with his hands (past age seven), and also spent his teenage and young adult years in england. he says he hated eating with his hands with the food getting into his fingernails -- it was hard to clean.

                                                                                                                                                    i am not saying others don't. my comment was simply about him, and not about all tamils or sri lankans. his father was head of price waterhouse in asia, and his mother and father traveled extensively, and quite frequently in europe. i'm sure that had some bearing on how he was reared, and how his family's household was run.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                      Cool.
                                                                                                                                                      It seemed like you were saying that most people in those places do not eat with their Hands. Since I have spent time there I knew that was not the case.