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Author Topic: Is Everything More Delicious When You Eat With Your Hands?  (Read 96 times)
jannah
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« on: Apr 11, 2014 08:57 PM »


A long lost sunnah perhaps... I love to eat biryani with my hands it tastes sooooooo infinitely better because you have a little bit of everything in each mouthful.

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Is Everything More Delicious When You Eat With Your Hands?
NPR

My wife Meera and I often have non-Indian guests over for dinner – typically a sumptuous Indian meal that she makes.

Everyone digs into their rice and daal, hariyali chicken and prawn curry with silverware. Then my daughter clears her throat and quietly asks if she can please just eat with her hands.

And why wouldn't she? She's now 12 and has mostly grown up in Queens, the most diverse patch of land in the known universe. She's as comfortable taking a ham sandwich to school as steamed idlis with coconut chutney.

To her, a fork isn't a sign of Western cultural superiority; it's a nuisance and serves no useful function in an Indian meal. Hand-eating is what we do.
Arun Venugopal hand-ate in public for the first time in March.

Arun Venugopal hand-ate in public for the first time in March.
WYNC

So invariably my wife and I exchange a quick glance and give her the A-OK. Eventually I started following my kid's lead, thinking, "Well, if she can eat with her hands, why the hell can't I?"

And then, a couple weeks ago, I decided it was time for me, finally, to hand-eat in public.

Many Indians today eat breads — chapatis, parathas, naans — with their hands, but stick to utensils for rice. But hand-eating is the real deal: A set of fingers, after all, is infinitely more nimble than a set of metal tines, far better equipped to pry the spines out of a fish molee.

Indian mothers like to feed their babies by hand. And there is really nothing in the world as tasty as a ball of food fed to you at any age by your mother. Its composition is perfectly and instinctively calibrated by her fingers — a precise combination of rice and sambar, or stir-fried plantain and a couple flecks of papadom. And, of course, lots of ghee.

My mom once explained to my teenage self that the secret was biochemical: The subtle oils of her fingers imparted some sort of alchemy to the little sphere — a pheromonal cocktail, I suppose — that would only fully blossom in the mouth of her offspring. Others would just call it maternal love.

But as we got older, we mostly kept our hand-eating ways to ourselves. I grew up in Texas in the 70s and 80s and didn't want to be thought of as some kind of culinary barbarian, the Indian kid who ate like a third-world savage. Classmates who tried to get invited over to my place represented a potential threat.

It's only in recent years that I noticed how outdated this attitude was.

As an Indian friend of mine says, forks make you look colonized. So I decided, finally, to hand-eat in public, and found a public atrium on Wall Street for my big debut. (I made a video about it, too, for my WNYC series .)

I chose a fish thaali from Anjappar, a great restaurant in the Murray Hill neighborhood, featuring food from the Chettinaad region of South India. As I plunged my hand into the pile of rice and fish curry and some thin, tangy rasam, I expected a couple stares at the least.

Instead a couple old men approached me and asked for Indian restaurant recommendations — deeply anticlimactic. But I actually enjoyed my meal and figure it's now worth an encore, perhaps at a fine-dining establishment near you.

Hand-eaters of America, meet me there.
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 12, 2014 04:15 AM »

I love this article!  So beautiful!  I confess, I am not of Indian ancestry, but I am a hand-eater too.  I do it without even thinking about it.  I once was sharing a salad with a friend, and it sat between us on the table, and the whole time I picked at it with my fingers.   Embarrassed  It never even crossed my mind what my friend might think!
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 12, 2014 03:09 PM »

I reckon eating with ones hands tastes nicer because you don't getthe cold metallic taste of cutlery, I quite like eating with chopsticks too.

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 12, 2014 07:29 PM »

Chopsticks-- me too!  And plastic cutlery if necessary.  I am in agreement with the not liking metallic tastes.  I dislike glass also-- plastic cups preferred.
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 13, 2014 03:19 PM »

I use earthenware mugs to drink out of, if never considered that I don't like water from glasses! On the other hand I am notoriously clumsy and have managed to break most of the fine china I own!

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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