You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

Handy Tools  The Chinese started using chopsticks at least as far back as 1200 B.C., mostly for cooking. By A.D. 400, people began eating with them as well. – 

You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

Have you ever tried using chopsticks to eat your food? Unless you really have the knack, depending on what you are eating, it can be very fun and very messy! Here in America, some people use them, but for most it is a novelty. Some of us would be hungry a lot longer if we had to use them all the time.

Did you know chopsticks have been around for a few thousand years or so? Some of the countries that use them the most are China, Japan and Korea, to name a few. These utensils can also vary in size, weight and style from country to country. Chopsticks from Japan are often more pointed at the end, while those from China or Korea have more of a blunt end to more easily grip the food.

Chopsticks can be made of many different materials, such as wood, bamboo, different metals, to today’s plastic. The more fancy ones are made from porcelain, ivory and even silver and gold. Using the metal ones would be more tricky since metal can hold in heat, so you would want to be careful not to burn your mouth with them if the food was really hot. Metal ones would also be heavier, but they would be easier to clean and sterilize. Wooden ones are much lighter and would clean easier as well. Very long chopsticks are actually cooking sticks for reaching into large pots to stir food or dish it out.

It used to be believed by the royal Asian families of long ago that using silver chopsticks could help you tell if your food had been poisoned with arsenic. Back then the arsenic had sulfide qualities which if put in contact with real silver would turn the silver black. As time passed, it was also said that if you ate with an uneven pair it could mean you were going to miss a boat or a plane. Whether these legends are true, we don’t really know for sure. But one is definitely talented if they can master eating with chopsticks!

Well, whether you use them for fun or use them all the time, there are actually rules for best use. The chopstick etiquette is similar to American rules with our eating utensils.  For instance, just like anything sharp or pointed, it is not polite to point them at people. Also, most of the time, stabbing anything with them is not the most polite. Also, it is offensive to leave them standing up straight in food as well.

Chopsticks may be the oldest form of eating and cooking utensils we know about, but they are still quite handy and fairly inexpensive. So, whatever you eat during this holiday season, try a little fun using chopsticks. It might inspire you to learn even more!

So, give it a try the next time you are at an Asian restaurant. To practice ahead of time, fill a bowl with some cereal, raisins or berries and try to see how many you can pick up with your chopsticks in a certain amount of time! Have fun!

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