Monday, August 1, 2022

Rant: Eating Salad With Your Hands

Over the weekend, I watched a movie with a scene of a man eating a salad with his hands. Someone asked him if he needed a fork and he responded, "No. I prefer to use my hands. I believe people have lost their relationship with food. They do not think 'this is something that died for me so that I would not go hungry.' I like that connection with something you die for. I appreciate it more."

There is truth in his words. 

It's probably not a coincidence that some of our favorite foods, from pizza to burgers, tacos to cupcakes, are eaten with our hands and not utensils. This creates a greater connection between us and our food. There isn't an intermediary of metal, wood or plastic utensils which might interfere with our enjoyment of these foods. 

Yes, it's a psychological issue, and one which most people don't even think about except on an unconscious level. They understand they enjoy these foods and can detail the reasons for their enjoyment, but they will rarely mention that part of the reason is that they can touch the food.

Eating with your hands can even lead to you licking your fingers, savoring the sauce, condiments, cheese, frosting, and other items that might accumulate on your skin. There is a certain intimacy involved in eating food with your hands, one which we appreciate though usually on a deeper level. Yes, you can enjoy food which you eat with a knife and fork, but there is something more satisfyingly primal with being able to use your hands.

What may make us think more closely about this issue is when we are confronted with a situation outside of the norm, when we are unable to eat a certain item with our hands that usually we should be able to do so. For example, sometimes burgers contain so many ingredients, especially messier ingredients, that you can't just pick it up and eat it. You need a knife and fork to eat it, thus losing part of the essential aspect of the dish, the direct connection of flesh to food.

I'm not sure all restaurants understand how certain foods should not require utensils to enjoy, that part of the allure is being able to hold them in your hands as you eat them. Do your own test at home. Try eating some of the foods with your hands and try some with utensils. And I bet, if you're being honest, you will notice a difference.

Enjoy touching your food!

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