Q I’m a complete chopsticks klutz. What’s the trick? MD
Move to fork-free rural China and amuse the locals. Two years, max – you’ll be great. Or you can practise with these instructions: rest the bottom chopstick in the crease of your thumb and atop your ring finger. Hold the top stick between your thumb and index finger like a pencil, but two-thirds of the way up from the point. (Higher is the sign of a master; lower down is the sign of a beginner.) Pinch your food by moving only the top stick. A few etiquette tips: don’t drop food, spear meat or gesture with chopsticks. And sticking them point-down into your rice bowl symbolises death, says Edward Wang, author of Chopsticks: A Cultural and Culinary History. Do feel free to hold a bowl to your lower lip and push rice into your mouth. To get really good, try this training game from chopsticks maker John Economaki: spread uncooked rice on the table. Whoever puts the most grains in a bowl in 15 seconds wins. “It’s hilarious,” he promises.