It may have been frowned upon for decades but eating with your hands in many restaurants is now acceptable. Thank goodness, we can finally hold our head high while eating a slice of pizza with our hands.
Eating with your hands not only prevents your mouth from getting burnt, but also promotes mindful eating and improves digestion.
However none of this means that we should throw out the old ways entirely. As we practise mindful eating it is good to know what foods are appropriate for eating with your hands. Remember that you should always take your environment into account. If you are attending a braai with chisa nyama, most people will be eating with their hands however if you are attending a fine dining restaurant it is definitely not advised to pick up any food with your hands.
Below is a list of foods you may use your hands to eat:
2. Asparagus – asparagus spears may be eaten with your fingers.
3. Bread Rolls – break small pieces off one at a time and butter individually.
4. Celery, radishes and Olives – these may be picked up and eaten with your hands.
5. Oysters, Mussels and Clams – these are held in one hand and a fork is used to loosen the meat from the shell.
6. Pizza – this may be eaten with your hands or a knife and fork depending on the occasion and group.
7. Potato Chips – these can be eaten with your hands depending on your environment.
8. Sandwiches – smaller sandwiches such as tea and canapé sandwiches are eaten with your hands. However open sandwiches and bigger sandwiches are eaten with a knife and fork.
9. Shrimps – you may hold the tail with your fingers, dip the shrimp in sauce and eat in one mouthful.
10. Taco – this is eaten with your hands. If toppings fall out, you may eat these with a fork.
11. Tortilla – this is picked up and eaten with the hands
12. Apricots, Cherries, Kumquats, and Plums (raw) – are usually eaten with the fingers in one or two bites. The stones are discarded on the side of the plate.
13. Strawberries and other Berries served with stalks – the strawberries are held by the stalks and eaten in one or two bites.
14. Grapes – are eaten with one’s hands
15. Crispy Bacon – may be eaten with hands to avoid breaking it into small pieces.
16. Cookies – may be eaten with your hands.
17. Corn on the Cob – this usually will not be served at a formal event though.
18. Hamburgers – are not served at formal events however you may eat them with your hands at casual events.
19. Chicken, Duck or Turkey Served on the Bone – should be eaten with a knife and fork. You may only eat these with your hands if you are in a casual setting.
20. Pâté de Foie Gras – is placed on toast or crackers with a knife and eaten with the fingers.
As a final send off to the new freedom entitled to you in the wonderful culinary world. Please be mindful of the company you keep at the table, and should you decide to use your hands around the table, never lick your fingers afterward.