Eating Food With Your Hands

There are some foods that create very little controversy when eaten with your hands: Onion rings, sandwiches, toast come to mind. And other foods, like steak or pasta salad, are frowned upon. Some of this divide is practical (such as oatmeal) and sometimes it seems rather random: we eat French fries with our hands and roasted potatoes with a fork, for example. Do you have any food you like to eat with your hands that polite society says you shouldn't?

I do. I like to eat salads with my (clean) hands. I'm not sure why exactly, except that somehow for me picking up a leaf here or a tomato there seems to be more in tune with a salad than stabbing at it with a fork. With a salad, I meaner through my plate like I would through a garden, picking up little bits of this and that. I really find it quite pleasurable. So far this activity is usually reserved for home dining only, as I'm sure it would be frowned upon in a more public setting.

Some people I know eat pizza with a knife and fork, and Miss Manners says that eating asparagus with your hands is perfectly acceptable even in formal situations. And of course there are huge cultural issues at play here, including some cuisines in which all the food is eaten with your hands.

What's your secret or not so secret out of hand dining? And wouldn't it be fun to throw a dinner party where all the food was eaten with your (again, very clean) hands?

Related: Slurping Ramen: Unexpected Table Manners Around the World

(Image: Dana Velden)">

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Gatherings, Etiquette, Salad

Dana Velden has just finished writing her first book: Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Meditations and Recipes from a Mindful Cook which is based on her Weekend Meditation posts from The Kitchn. (Rodale Press, Fall, 2015) She lives in Oakland, CA.