How to Use Chopsticks

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The Chinese use chopsticks as easily and as naturally as Europeans use forks. They are like an extension of a man's fingers, practical adaptations that evolved from the days when man indeed ate with his fingers. There are different styles of chopsticks. The Chinese variety is blunt on the "eating end,", while the Japanese prefer those with pointed tips. There are even short lengths for children for use. Chopsticks are made of many materials - ivory, plastic, silver, and even jade - but the most common ones are of wood or bamboo. For everyday use, wood, bamboo, or ivory is best. Plastic chopsticks are not satisfactory, since they tend to warp after repeated immersion in hot washing water. All Chinese food is prepared so that it may be easily handled with chopsticks. In fact, many older-generation Chinese households have no forks at all. Fingers really have to work in order to use these implements adeptly, however, and our fingers have become lazy from eating with forks. Practice is the key to success with these centuries-old tools. Chopsticks are used for cooking as well as eating. They are good for serving noodles, retrieving deep-fried foods, beating eggs, and stir-frying. One can even buy extra-long "cooking chopsticks," which make these kitchen tasks even easier. 1. Place the first chopstick in the hollow between thumb and index finger and rest its lower end below the first joint of the third finger. This chopstick remains stationary.

2. Hold the other chopstick between the tips of the index and middle fingers, steady its upper half against the base of the index finger, and use the tips of the thumb to keep it in place.

3. To pick up things, move the upper chopstick with index and middle fingers.

4. After a little practice, you will be able to use chopsticks like an expert.

"Chopstick" is the pidgin-English and English name for the tools. "Chop" is pidgin-English for "quick", which remains in the English word "chop-chop". The...
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