Friday, December 9, 2011

69. Different people, and their totally different eating styles -Observations

The same kind of food; the same kind of mouth; the same kind of hands -but gosh! there are a hundred and one different ways of making the food reach the mouth!
This is one of the observations that I have made during the past few months in S'pore. Many gadgets have been discovered over the centuries to aid people in this 'laborious task' of making the food reach its destination. With varying latitudes and longitudes, the  permutation&combinations of different tools used varies -fork&spoon, knife&fork, fork,knife&spoon, chop-sticks&spoon and so on. However, from what I have observed, whatever be the kind of food they are dealing with, people generally prefer to eat it the way they have been taught at home by their mom, during their 'table manners' course. So that means, be it rice, noodles, yong tau foo, the Chinese can tackle anything that comes across their way with the help of two puny sticks. Likewise, the Europeans equip themselves with fork&knife. Singaporeans -fork and spoon and occasionally a pair of chopsticks too. And we Indians...well we don't usually require any eating aids. Why bother when God has given us awesome hands!! (But still most of the people, all over the world are taught that eating with bare hands is ill-mannered!! [sigh])

Rice and curry, I can eat with a pair of spoon and fork; noodles and the like, I can manage with a pair of chopsticks(my latest achievement :D ) but when it comes to chicken and other such dead animals which have bones, I need my hands desperately.

I realized this truth when I was lunching with some of my European and  Singaporean friends.
It was the Dutch guy's birthday, and the birthday co-ordinator selected this fancy Indonesian restaurant to celebrate his b'day. Browsing throug the menu card made me 'gulp'. The starting price for the main-course was10S$. I ordered roasted chicken rice for myself since it was the only comprehensible item in the menu that suited my budget. (My brain was calculating: 10S$ = Rs 400. I recollected those days in my UG college when one month's canteen fee was around Rs. 1200 = 30S$ . I gulped again.)

Our food arrived in no time,and all of us geared ourselves with fork and spoon to attack the food. 
'Uh Oh'... The chicken had bones, unlike the usual chicken rice. I so totally don't know how to tear the flesh out from the bones using fork and spoon. The Dutch guy was complaining too -he wanted a knife instead of the fork. I sat there wondering what in the world to do with the two metal pieces in my hand. My hands longed to reach out to the morsel.

Nevertheless, I dug in. With all my might and skill, I managed to finish off the first piece fairly decently. Hmmm...Unlike most of the other times when the chicken was half cooked that made me gag, this one was especially tasty. Yumm...I was into my second piece trying to do the flesh-bone-separating act, when, the spoon slipped and the chicken and the fork went flying away in opposite directions. I sat there stupefied, while the others burst into laughter. Needless to say, I was embarassed to the core:| And I was sad, and guilty too -sad for the chicken who sacrificed its life for nothing, and guilty for wasting money...that chicken piece would have cost atleast 2 S$. Sigh!

My so polite friends(Europeans are always nice) bent down to take the spoon for me, and I deftly used the time to grab the next chicken piece and have a bite ;)

Weeks later, I was lunching again with my international friends. This time, I played safe by sticking to  vegetarian food.

Our random conversations reached the Indian boundaries, and the Singaporean friend suddenly remarked: "The way Indians eat their food is so cool. They have special skills to eat their food. They not only eat rice with hands but can even tear dosa and pratas with one hand easily. The way they maneuver their fingers dexterously to take food and push it inside the mouth is amazing."

Well what can I say? I beamed at my 'awesome dexterous skillful hands' and ever since I have a special regard for my hand whenever they 'maneuver their way to get food into my mouth'. ;)


Leela said...

I will believe the chopsticks skills when I see it in your hands. :P

Plato Manchi said...

i always wonder how chinnes eat rice with chop sticks :-|
i mean do they pick each grain of rice and put it in their mouth :-o
that is a wonderful counting exercise but i prefer to fill my entire mouth with food when i'm eating and hands are best way to do it :-D
no!! i dont use hand to eat ice creams and deserts

Neethu said...


The chinese/japanese rice is usually sticky rice, so they get clumped together and can be managed with chop sticks

..i know that was very late reply :D