Monday, August 01, 2011

Chopsticks: an object lesson

I started making myself use chopsticks. Like, MADE myself. I watched YouTube videos to help me suck at it less. When they were an option at a restaurant, I put my fork as far away from me as possible.

The thought process began, "I don't know how to use chopsticks. I would like to. I like to always learn new things."

The experience has been so much more than that.

I know, I know: chopsticks. Really? Christine is such a freak that she will talk about two wooden sticks as though they are some universal life lesson?

Maybe. It's nothing earth shattering, but has been significant enough that I bought my own set of chopsticks for home. Here goes ...

Chopsticks make you slow down.

When learning to use chopsticks, I was able to get approximately two grains of rice in my mouth for every fifth attempt at a mouthful. It was comical. I have always been a shoveler when I eat. I overstuff my fork/spoon/mouth. I inhale only, because actual breathing can wait til after your plate is clean. It's a mere inconvenience.

Chopsticks create more portion control (unless your sushi roll bite is monstrous, but for the sake of this object lesson, let's not go there). They force you to be a bit more meticulous. Even when your ability improves, it will never match the ease and quantitative properties inherent to regular silverware. With chopsticks, food tastes better and the experience lasts longer.

I need a set of parenting chopsticks for those days when I want to wish my kids away to an older age or newer stage of development.

I need a set of weekday chopsticks for the times I'm wanting to skip past Wednesday and Thursday because something special and fun is happening on Friday.

I need a set of relational chopsticks for moments when I'm not stopping and making a slow connection with a person.

Just like when you slow down in life ... when you slow down with chopsticks, you break down the bigger picture into smaller, more meaningful portions. The experiences taste better because you take time to actually taste them.

You're also a lot less gassy.


Mijk said...

Ok, As the worlds fastest eater I need chopsticks. Of to you tube (I actually have great chopsticks butt I do not use them!

Jessica Rudder said...

I've been trying (off and on) with chopsticks and haven't had much luck (with the exception of one randomly successful attempt where I was able to eat like a pro - never to be repeated).

I have learned one thing through the process, apparently, I do not hold a pencil in a normal fashion.

Most of the videos I've watched talk about holding the top stick like you would a pencil - they then proceed to hold the stick very differently than I hold my pencils (and pens!). I started watching how other people hold their pencils and discovered that I've got mine in a three finger death grip while others are holding them gently. At least now I know why I suffered years of achy fingers through all those essay exams in school!

Becky said...

You need a "like" button. :-)

the wrath of khandrea said...

can i point out that my fingers hurt when i use them? i grip the hell outta them, and leave practically calloused.

i suppose one could twist that point to make it positive or negative...

Lindsay Mama to Nine said...

Are we still allowed to tell you to "shut up"? This post made me cry, it shouldn't have but it did, cause I have 3 kids with the flu, one that just informed me that he is poopy (and I swear he poops at will)....and I was wishing the 8 under 10 to be older, or somthin' that isn't this HARD...and you are right, and I am desperate and tired...and I will go watch all 3 of the "Toy Story's" today and cuddle, and use some freaking hypothetical chop sticks...happy now?
Love you to pieces.

Annie said...

Ah, I've done the same thing. Decided to use chopsticks to slow down. Except, I did it the "Annie" way - as in, only via intuition; instruction only as a last-ditch effort. Maybe I'm even slower my way.

Well, I AM! I was surprised to see our exchange students at school; they think chopsticks are faster and easier than silverware - they just put the bowls up to their chins and use the chopsticks to shovel in the food. Or is that just teens? I was sort-of disappointed, in any case.

Tova said...

Totally possible to shovel food in with chopsticks. Also, wrap an elastic band around the tops to learn if you are really a newbie.

But yes, I do find eating with chopsticks more satisfying. Might go and move my chopsticks to the front of the drawer now and shove the forks to the back.