I promise you that you too can eat using chopsticks, no matter how hopelessly un-Asian you think you are, no matter how klutzy you are. You probably won’t lose an eye or any extremities during the course of this procedure, but if you want to be safe, you might want to go put on that pair of safety goggles in the garage.
Step 1: Take your first chopstick and hold it like you were going to write your name with it. The chopstick should wind up in your thumb and there should be approximately an inch between the tip of your thumb and the end of your chopstick. The second chopstick needs to be a bit shorter than the first one and there should be a greater distance between them. Both should be held in the same way as you would hold a pencil for writing. The tip should be heavy, yet not weighty.
Step 2: Introduce your other hand and push the chopstick out another couple of inches. The second chopstick should now be in your index finger’s space. Use your thumb to pull the two chopsticks apart. You will hear a hollow sound. Your chopsticks are ready to be eaten.
When you are ready to pick up vegetables or perhaps some fruit, just write the name of the item using chopsticks. The chopsticks will act as your guide. You can have perfectly sliced raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and some fruits such as melons and bananas with just using your hands. It is a wonderful way to get your children to eat some of the more sensitive fruits and vegetables.
Using chopsticks to eat is a little different from the way you might use a fork or a knife. With the chopsticks, you only move the item that you are going to cut, never the entire plate. This keeps the entire affair stress free.
There are many different types of chopsticks. The thin chopsticks are called phi. Phi is thinner than nicks. This makes chopsticks much easier to use for ladles, and eating phi is much easier. To cut using phyllo, you just stick chopsticks into a slice of phyllo pastry. Then, you just push down firmly to top the pastry slice that you have just cut into a bowl of phyllo pastry. You can even cut with chopsticks. This way there is no mess. To cut a phyllo tart, you can cut it half and then proceed to slice the top portion in the middle. Then you need to bring the two halves together, a rice bowl and a phyllo pastry. You need to push the pastry into the bowl and take the top portion of the phyllo pastry and arrange it on the bottom half of the rice bowl to make a tart.
The decorations on the inside of the phyllo are another story. Well, they can be made in a number of ways. Certainly, you can adorn the inside of your phyllo with the stars of rice or, if you really like, with little stars. You can also slice the top of the pastry and then put decoration there. One tradition I can tell you when we were in Paris was that when you went to a restaurant to eat, instead of the host or hostess bringing the food to you, she would bring the desserts. That way, you and your dinner mate would be satisfied even before the food arrived.
The colors and decorations of Chinese cultures are based on the contrasting and complementary nature of the two primary colors. As a result, people from one culture are not limited to one color, and that’s why they really look great together. You should pay attention, however, because many of the decorations used in China are made in a formal way, they are carefully arranged, and they are designed to emphasize the contrast in color and structure. You should also consider the hemispheres, because these are considered the key to good table decoration. Why? Because it’s considered that the hemispheres should be as different as possible.
Now that you know that, don’t ever think of going to China without having at least a bit of Chinese food in your stomach.