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Feb 21, 2012 12:04 AM

Eat with your hands dinner party

Most people around here think of me as that nutty American anyway, so I figured I might take it a bit farther and plan an eat with your hands dinner party for some neighbors. Danes tend to be somewhat rigid about eating with utensils and I've witnessed not only burgers and pizza but also boiled shrimp and BBQ ribs being daintily cut with a knife and fork.

So, who would like to help me plan a totally (or close to) hands only meal? I'm thinking maybe an African theme or maybe Malaysian using banana leaves, but I'm not locked on anything.

Not sure if I'll go so far as to remove the table and chairs and have everyone sit on pillows on the floor, but would love to also hear some serving suggestions.

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  1. You can go several routes :)

    Indian - traditionally eaten with roti/chapati/naan and hands. Also other South Indian places.
    Mexican - would be better eaten with hands, imo
    North & middle African, Arabic - eaten with hands, sometimes communal (eat from same dish) - I like the idea of Moroccan or Ethiopian

    Or you can go medieval style with a Ritteressen.

    I'll help you plan if you pick your theme or decide to go all over the world ;)

    5 Replies
    1. re: haiku.

      Thanks so much for the offer for planning help, haiku. To me the planning, preparing, and cooking are the fun parts!

      I fix Mexican a lot, and have for these guests so would like to do something different. Very different! Love Indian food, but also the idea of Moroccan, Ethiopian, or African/Arabic. Will have to google some to see what kinds of dishes characterize each.

      I'm intrigued by the idea of a Ritteressen is definitely intriguing, as long as it wouldn't end up being something like the fare served at the Medieval festivals that pop up here from time to time.

      I'll come back when I have more ideas!

      1. re: Transplant_DK

        I've had Indian meals that not only were eaten by hand (the right one only), or with bits of Indian bread, but also all served on banana leaves. No dishes to clean up! And sooooo delicious.

        1. re: pine time

          "...(the right one only)..."

          I was watching an episode of a famous chef eating with a Moroccan family and was so interested in watching his left hand dangling over the table, when others kept it between themselves and the table, that I forgot to watch the food they were serving.

          1. re: Rella

            First trip to India, I literally had to sit on my left hand to remind myself not to use it to scarf down more food.

    2. There are so many directions you could go and honestly with a hearty bread (tortilla, naan, etc) you could turn any dish into a hands only meal.

      I'll try to stop back when you have more ideas and see if I can add anything fun.

      Sounds like a fun dinner.

      1. I unintentionally did an eat with your hands type dinner party last night. It started with Thai curried coconut mussels. Actually any mussels in broth recipe is by definition eat with your hands unless you physically remove the mussels from the shells and serve as a soup variation. Lots of dunking of bread into the broth, eating the mussels one at a time and plenty of broth slurping (mostly that involved spoons).

        Second course was David Chang's Pork Bo Ssam. I cooked the pork per instructions then shredded it and placed in a large bowl. On a table I placed platters of lettuce and mu shu type pancakes to use as the base for making stuffed packets. Followed by the pork, some shucked kumamoto oysters, some kim chi, the scallion ginger condiment, the ssam sauce and some cooked white rice. Sharks on a feeding frenzy is the most polite way to describe my guests. Lots of dirty hands but with big smiles on their faces. I was ultimately glad I offered the more familiar option of the oriental pancakes to wrap everything in (I bought them from a local Chinese restaurant and nuked under a damp towel just before service) because I knew some in my group just wouldn't take to eating this wrapped in lettuce.

        Since this wasn't planned as an eat with your hands event my dessert, while a resounding hit, doesn't fit with your theme as it used spoons. But I could see chocolate dipped fruit, grapes, strawberries or bananas as a fun conclusion.


        2 Replies
        1. re: KateBChi

          Damn, KateBChi! Why aren't you my best friend and close neighbor? I'd not only bring my own offerings if you wish, but come armed with wine, beer and SoJu.

          1. re: KateBChi

            Bo ssam is a very popular finger food in my home. You can find the article in the New York Times describing how to make it, or you can modify it and do it in a smoker (that's how we do it). But everyone is happy after a bo ssam meal.

          2. Southern Fried Chicken, sweet potato fries, biscuits and fresh fruit. All can be eaten with one's hands. Set the table without eating utensils except those needed for serving the victuals.

            8 Replies
            1. re: ChiliDude

              I'm with CD that as an American you should do an American themed dinner. In addition to his suggestions, carrot & celery sticks as veggies, served with Ranch Dressing or some other dip; apps of deviled eggs. Dessert should include watermelon slices and ice cream novelties, if available in Denmark.

              1. re: masha

                Barbecue a bunch of ribs and dare them to resist. Can you get fresh corn on the cob there at this time of year? I would LOVE to attend this party, it sounds like it will end up being a blast no matter what you serve. Gotta love shakin' up the a good way.

                1. re: tonifi

                  that was going to be my suggestion ~~ ribs, corn on the cob, wings or drumsticks, stuffed cherry tomatoes (think seafood salad), endive leaves w/ fruit & nuts, ice cream cones, and chocolate chip cookies.

                2. re: masha

                  +1 with Chili Dude and masha--love the deviled eggs idea and watermelon slices, could also be strawberries or any other kind of melon. And I say chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cookies for dessert--I dare them to use a fork on them! Have fun, will be interested in how it turns out.

                  1. re: masha

                    i was thinking pie. it's not watermelon season in denmark for sure, lol.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Pie to me is not finger food. But I do like BerleyBabe's cookie suggestion. What about making over-sized choc chip cookies, and filling them in pairs with ice cream, for home-made ice cream sandwhiches?

                        1. re: masha

                          turnovers, mini-pies (made in a mini muffin tin), definitely finger food!

                  2. You don't need to limit yourself to one cuisine. There are plenty of finger foods worldwide that would allow you to express your culinary abilities, while limiting silverware:
                    spring rolls
                    deviled eggs
                    sausage rolls
                    chicken wings
                    Using toast points to create miniature smørrebrød would be an easy starter for Danes unused to utensil-free cuisine