Looking at the big pile of dishes in my sink, you might wonder why there are so many chopsticks in there. Did I recently have a dinner party for eight and serve stir-fry? Nope. I was simply cooking for myself day-to-day, using one of my favorite go-to utensils for anything from stirring the French press to eating pasta.
It all started with a warning from my brother not to stir my French press with a metal spoon. He had broken the glass part that way or had heard of someone who had, the metal spoon clanking against the beaker and exploding coffee everywhere. Instead, he stirred with a plastic chopstick — one that was designated exclusively for the morning coffee stir.
After popping into an impossibly adorable shop selling chopsticks and only chopsticks in New York's Chinatown, I started using them for everything. Chopsticks are the perfect tool for flipping small, delicate items in a pan — like dumplings — or something a little bit unwieldy. Not sure if you should use a spatula or tongs? Try chopsticks. Need to stir the milk into your coffee in a very tall thermos? Chopstick. They're great for grilling, plucking a pickle or olive from a jar, or fishing out a sample from your boiling pasta when you've lost track of the cooking time.
Disclaimer: If you're good with chopsticks, they'll become a natural extension of your fingers. If you're still learning, it might be more frustrating. (Here's our best tip for becoming a master of your chopsticks.)
Be sure to keep in mind the different materials. Metal chopsticks, for example, could get hot when using on the stove, while plastic ones could melt dangerously. My preference in the kitchen is a pair of simple bamboo chopsticks.
Do you like to use chopsticks in the kitchen? Do you use them for anything unusual or surprising?