Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Etiquette Hell Classics => Topic started by: Asharah on September 21, 2008, 08:58:18 PM

Title: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Asharah on September 21, 2008, 08:58:18 PM
My husband, three kids and I live across the country from our relatives. A few months ago, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law visited my home. My mother-in-law is a good sort, but the sister-in-law, "Heather," is a completely different story. She complained constantly, treated my teenage son like her personal slave and generally made life miserable for everyone. She was forever breaking rules of common decency and etiquette...which makes this story all the more amusing.   

One day, we all went out-of-town to visit a museum, and had lunch at a rather nice Japanese restaurant. As I used to work at a Japanese restaurant years ago, I was very familiar with the food and helped my children and mother-in-law to order. The food arrived, we all began to chow down, and I actually thought that for once everyone---including Heather---was happy and having a good time.   Wrong.   After a few minutes, both my husband and I began to notice that Heather is glaring at us. I was taken aback; my kids were behaving and thus far, it had been an enjoyable meal. Whatever was the matter with her now? Not being able to figure out on my own what the problem was, I asked Heather if there was anything wrong.   She glared at me again for a few minutes, slammed her fork down on the table and announced in a very loud voice, "You are SO INCREDIBLY RUDE!" and indicated myself, my husband and my teenage son.   Why were we rude, you ask?   Because we were eating with chopsticks.   No, I am not making that up. According to Heather, everyone at the table should eat with the same utensils, or it is "rude." And as she does not know how to use chopsticks, that meant everyone at the table should use a fork, as she was doing.   I was dumbfounded. I tried to laugh it off, explaining my previous employ at a Japanese restaurant and how I pretty much had to learn to use chopsticks at that time or risk professional ridicule.   Heather's response? "If you worked in a Japanese place, then you of all people should know better."   I hope you think of me, the next time you have sushi.     

Relatives0807-07
Asharah's comment: Anyone who tried to interrupt me at my favorite Japanese restaurant to tell me I'm rude for eating with chopsticks would get the glare of death for interrupting my meal. And maybe throw in a comment about how they are being insensitive to the culture of the people running the restaurant for not learning to use chopsticks.
(http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/7/7_4_4.gif)(http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/7/7_4_1.gif)
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: 42_42_42 on September 21, 2008, 09:05:45 PM
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered! Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Asharah on September 21, 2008, 09:16:04 PM
I remember a joke I made once about out family's annual after Xmas restaurant dinner being like a MasterCard commercial.
Dinner for four generations at the favorite Japanese steakhouse $700+
Watching a toddler eating ice cream with chopsticks - PRICELESS!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Mopsy428 on September 21, 2008, 09:39:46 PM
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered! Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!
My parents never took my siblings and me to Chinese, Japanese, or Thai/Vietnamese restaurants for a night out because quite a few of us don't like the food, so it's not completely off the wall for someone to grow up not knowing how to use chopsticks. When my parents ordered Chinese out (which was rare), we'd just use the utensils at our house.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Bethczar on September 21, 2008, 09:44:40 PM
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered! Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!
My parents never took my siblings and me to Chinese, Japanese, or Thai/Vietnamese restaurants for a night out because quite a few of us don't like the food, so it's not completely off the wall for someone to grow up not knowing how to use chopsticks. When my parents ordered Chinese out (which was rare), we'd just use the utensils at our house.

I have to agree, it seems a bit harsh to say that everyone should know how to eat with chopsticks. My family loves Chinese food, but since my parents didn't know how to eat with chopsticks, none of us kids bothered to learn either. I'm always impressed with those people who can eat with them.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: MDefarge on September 21, 2008, 09:45:42 PM
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks? Wow she must be incredibly sheltered!  Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon!

On a side note, my DH's BIL and neice carry chopstickes with them everywhere (they unscrew in half and the 4 pieces store in a little leather pouch that fits nicely in the pocket) and they eat everything with them!

Nice - ever think she could be someone who just *can't* master chopsticks no matter how hard they try?  Believe me we do exist and thanks eversomuch for being so kind with your assumptions.

Not to say that Heather wasn't outrageously rude, but it's equally rude to assume someone is somehow lacking because they don't use chopsticks.

Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: 42_42_42 on September 21, 2008, 09:55:56 PM
I apologize. I've never met anyone before who didn't know how to use them. Everyone I know learned how to use them the first time they went to somewhere that had them when they were kids. Just kind of part of the experience of going to eat the food.

I still don't understand Heather's reaction in the OP.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Bethczar on September 21, 2008, 10:05:22 PM
I apologize. I've never met anyone before who didn't know how to use them. Everyone I know learned how to use them the first time they went to somewhere that had them when they were kids. Just kind of part of the experience of going to eat the food.

I still don't understand Heather's reaction in the OP.

I think it's safe to say nobody understands Heather's reaction.  :P
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Venus193 on September 21, 2008, 10:36:53 PM
Heather is an insecure twit who probably fears she lacks sophistication because of an inability to eat with chopsticks and didn't want to be shown up.  A more sensible person would have just asked someone else to demonstrate how to use chopsticks; it's not difficult for sushi.

She was insanely rude and her response to the author was incredibly stupid.  I dearly hope she never goes to Japan with an attitude like that.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Twik on September 21, 2008, 11:14:46 PM
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Alida on September 21, 2008, 11:22:41 PM
I'm like a PP, still trying to get my head around the idea that there are people who do not know how to use choptsticks as adults. Then again, DD has been using them since she was 4, since her father brought her first set home from Nagano, and I was the only American in a large Taiwanese/Japanese company for a few years.  For us, it is second nature.  It can be very hard to remember that there are others who have not grown up the same way. 

Even so, even if Heather can't use them or is unwilling to even try to learn, that is certainly no reason for her to demand everyone use the same utensils she is.

Somewhere I saw a pair of children's spring-loaded chopsticks.  Maybe Heather needs a pair for Christmas?
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: shadowfox79 on September 22, 2008, 06:09:32 AM
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.

I can use chopsticks, in the sense that I am able to eat things with them without throwing them all over the floor, but a Chinese waiter might well watch me and think I was a cack-handed moron. I've never yet been offered a spoon or fork, but I fully expect to be at some point.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: faithlessone on September 22, 2008, 07:45:53 AM
I've never been able to master the use of chopsticks. I can just about pick up large pieces of food, but that's it. However, I'm allergic to certain chemicals that are present in a lot of Chinese food, and I'm not a fan of other Eastern cuisines (possibly because of the associations in my head).

I think Heather's reaction was bizzare though.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Schmoopie3928 on September 22, 2008, 07:54:57 AM
wow! I agree with some of the pp about her probably feeling inferior, so she flipped it back at you. I can use chopsticks as well, even though I get rusty if I haven't used then in a while. when I go out for chinese, either with work, or with my family, I use them, and 2 members of my family and about 3 people from work use them. No one has ever yelled at me or called me rude for using them! lots of time I get envy from people that never could/never tried to figure them out.
Sounds like Heather needs a good whack with a clue-by-four!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Betsy on September 22, 2008, 08:01:04 AM
Its rude to use chopsticks?!?! ??? That's a new one to me. DH and I even use chopsticks at home. I bought him a nice set from a local international food store (Jungle Jim's for anyone familiar with Cincinnati)

My Dad tried to teach my sisters and I how to use chopsticks when we were very young but it didn't work very well. However when we went to California to visit his family, we visited one of Dad's oldest friend's widow, a very proper Chinese lady. She made lots of traditional dishes (Octopus was sort of good :) ) and taught my sisters and I how to use chopsticks, that stuck. I always figured that in a restraunt that offers chopsticks, if one knows how to use them, they should.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: TylerBelle on September 22, 2008, 09:56:15 AM
This can get aggravating. You're out with folks who like to have something to complain about. And if that's not enough, it seems like the majority of the constant complainers really like to point out what they believe as someone's flaw, or difference, and do so loud and clear for all to notice when out in public.

With eating with chopsticks, I've been out dining with folks who've used them when myself and others there have not and I didn't think it as rude at all. Like mentioned, I'm impressed with those who've mastered the skill. I'm quite the novice at using chopsticks, needing lots of practice, and I find it fun doing so at home, though. I don't yet have the courage to try them out someplace. Heather just needs to be shown how and encouraged to practice, if she would be willing.

Those are cute graphics, Asharah.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Bibliophile on September 22, 2008, 10:05:42 AM
Your choice of eating utencil is not rude.  Maybe if you were digging out rice from the shared bowl with your fingers, that'd be rude, but Heather is off her rocker in thinking that everyone has to use the same utencils. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: TychaBrahe on September 22, 2008, 12:11:16 PM
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks?

At my favorite Chinese restaurant in California, one of the waiters, who was native born Taiwanese, did not know how to use chopsticks, and was always amazed that our White family could.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: DottyG on September 22, 2008, 12:16:22 PM
Quote
Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks?

This statement really bothers me.

I can use chopsticks (it's not beautiful - and I'm sure Asian people know I'm not doing it 100% correctly), but I have a family member who has tried multiple times to use them and just cannot get the hang of it.

It's not something that's inate.  Nor is it really easy for everyone - some people truly cannot get the motions of how to use them down.  Even if they practice.

The comment above is not nice. :(  It makes an assumption about people and belittles those who are not efficient at doing what, apparently, comes easy to this poster.  I'm sure there are many things my family member can do that you think are difficult.  But, I'd think that she's nice enough not to make fun of you for not knowing how to do something "so simple."

(I'm not ragging on you, but you do need to realize how your post comes across. :( )



Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: look in the tunk on September 22, 2008, 12:37:01 PM
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.

I can use chopsticks, in the sense that I am able to eat things with them without throwing them all over the floor, but a Chinese waiter might well watch me and think I was a cack-handed moron. I've never yet been offered a spoon or fork, but I fully expect to be at some point.

That's me - I can get the food in my mouth just fine, but I know I am not doing it correctly. We have plenty of Japanese restaurants here, but they've always also had forks available, so I never really had to learn to use them.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: MDefarge on September 22, 2008, 01:02:07 PM
Quote
Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks?

This statement really bothers me.

I can use chopsticks (it's not beautiful - and I'm sure Asian people know I'm not doing it 100% correctly), but I have a family member who has tried multiple times to use them and just cannot get the hang of it.

It's not something that's inate.  Nor is it really easy for everyone - some people truly cannot get the motions of how to use them down.  Even if they practice.

The comment above is not nice. :(  It makes an assumption about people and belittles those who are not efficient at doing what, apparently, comes easy to this poster.  I'm sure there are many things my family member can do that you think are difficult.  But, I'd think that she's nice enough not to make fun of you for not knowing how to do something "so simple."

(I'm not ragging on you, but you do need to realize how your post comes across. :( )





Thank you Dotty - I have tried many, many times to master using chopsticks and I just can't do it.  I don't like to think that makes me less of a person, or "sheltered" or "a loon" - just someone who can't use chopsticks.  :-X
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: 42_42_42 on September 22, 2008, 01:11:09 PM
Quote
Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks?

This statement really bothers me.

I can use chopsticks (it's not beautiful - and I'm sure Asian people know I'm not doing it 100% correctly), but I have a family member who has tried multiple times to use them and just cannot get the hang of it.

It's not something that's inate.  Nor is it really easy for everyone - some people truly cannot get the motions of how to use them down.  Even if they practice.

The comment above is not nice. :(  It makes an assumption about people and belittles those who are not efficient at doing what, apparently, comes easy to this poster.  I'm sure there are many things my family member can do that you think are difficult.  But, I'd think that she's nice enough not to make fun of you for not knowing how to do something "so simple."

(I'm not ragging on you, but you do need to realize how your post comes across. :( )





Thank you Dotty - I have tried many, many times to master using chopsticks and I just can't do it.  I don't like to think that makes me less of a person, or "sheltered" or "a loon" - just someone who can't use chopsticks.  :-X

Um, I already apologized once and I do regret hurting any feelings. I would reword my original post, but it has been quoted so many times, that it would be moot to do so. I think Alida conveyed what I was trying to in much more diplomatic terms. Additionally, the sheltered and loon referred to her attitude about everyone needing to use the same utensil. I'm sorry if that was not clear.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: emeraldsage85 on September 22, 2008, 07:39:59 PM
I have no idea how to use chopsticks but I wouldn't think anyone else at the table was rude for using them. I think Heather was just looking for a reason to be offended.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: wordgirl on September 22, 2008, 08:01:51 PM
I was just going to start a thread about this!

I was at a Thai restaurant and was reminded that not all Asian cuisines use chopsticks - the owner at the Thai place we all love will politely supply them on demand, but Thai people traditionally use Western-style utensils, and I've always wondered if it were rude to ask for chopsticks at those types of restaurants.

I have to say I love using them. My dad tried to teach me - the wrong way - but my best friend was far more successful in tutoring me, and she gave me a good grounding in the etiquette of chopsticks (don't lay them down crossed, don't leave them sticking up in your rice, don't gesture with them, etc.)

To me, Japanese and Chinese food just don't taste right if you don't eat them with chopsticks. Heather in the OP was completely off-base.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: kansha on September 22, 2008, 08:19:05 PM
another nono when using chopsticks/hashi: do not pass food from one set to another.  place the food on the other person's plate, instead.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: wordgirl on September 22, 2008, 08:26:10 PM
another nono when using chopsticks/hashi: do not pass food from one set to another.  place the food on the other person's plate, instead.

Yep. Also, don't rub them against each other (implies they are cheap and inferior) don't play with them (just as you wouldn't play with utensils) and don't spear food with them. Most of the rules are common-sense, except the ones with religious backgrounds.

I know how to make a couple different types of chopstick rest from the paper they come in. :D it's one of my few skills, lol.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: magicdomino on September 22, 2008, 08:43:49 PM
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.

I can use chopsticks, in the sense that I am able to eat things with them without throwing them all over the floor, but a Chinese waiter might well watch me and think I was a cack-handed moron. I've never yet been offered a spoon or fork, but I fully expect to be at some point.

I learned how to use chopsticks for a vacation in China, and managed to never have to ask for a fork.  But my technique is, shall we say, rather less than graceful.    :)  I seldom bother now.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: loomadoom on September 23, 2008, 01:13:55 AM
Incredibly rude and definitely a loon!

My mother is still somewhat amazed that at least four of her brood of five can use chopsticks (our globetrotting uncle taught the three oldest when we were children). She can't use them to this day. I guess we're all being rude to her when we eat takeout teriyaki!

I carry a pair with me in case I'm confronted with a mass of lettuce. Green salads are much easier for me to eat with chopsticks rather than a fork for some odd reason. The ones that break down sound really cool, and a bit more adult than the orange polka dot bento set I'm taking on vacation!

My youngest sister taught English to Chinese high schoolers for a year. One of the concerns she heard from people she met was the increasing number of Chinese children who aren't learning to use chopsticks. Their grandmothers complain that they are forgetting their heritage.

I still can't believe Heather said this was rude.  Couldn't find anything better to complain about?
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: TopsyTurvy on September 23, 2008, 07:54:19 AM
I believe that during a VERY formal dinner (you know the kind with several different forks, spoons, etc.) that it is proper ettiquette to eat with the same utensil only because every course has a designated utensil.  I have even heard of using your salad fork for your salad versus your dinner fork for your salad at a more casual type restaurant.  However, I have NEVER heard of a rule for eating with the same utensils during an informal dinner, and whenever we go out to a Japanese steakhouse, there are always mixed utensils.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: snowflake on September 23, 2008, 11:01:50 AM
My Dad has been married to my mom for nearly 50 years.  My mom comes from a mix of Asian cultures but is more Chinese than anything else.  He STILL cannot use chopsticks.  He doesn't think it rude for the rest of us to use them though.  He only thinks it rude when we forget to set him a fork.

My husband can use chopsticks, but he likes to use a fork to finish because he isn't skilled enough to pick up little things with them. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Scritzy on September 23, 2008, 09:07:05 PM
I had Japanese friends when I was in grade school, and they taught me to use chopsticks. However, I won't "chopstick" my salad at Kan Pai (or my soup or my sherbet, LOL!). Just my sushi and entrée. (And I keep my fork in order to facilitate putting the rest of my enormous meal into the go-box.)

When we celebrated my birthday at Kan Pai, I was given a little bamboo box that held a pair of imperial-red chopsticks. Now if I could only remember to take them with me when we go, so I don't have to ask for chopsticks every time. ;D

As for the story, I loved it.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Twik on September 24, 2008, 11:34:20 AM
I was just going to start a thread about this!

I was at a Thai restaurant and was reminded that not all Asian cuisines use chopsticks - the owner at the Thai place we all love will politely supply them on demand, but Thai people traditionally use Western-style utensils, and I've always wondered if it were rude to ask for chopsticks at those types of restaurants.


A friend told me that in Thailand only "street food" from stalls is eaten with chopsticks, so that in a sit-down restaurant it's sort of odd-bordering-on-rude to ask for them. Kind of like going into a steakhouse and asking for plastic forks, "like we get at McDonalds".
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Rockie on September 26, 2008, 01:11:25 AM
Gee, never realized I commit a faux pas every time I use chopsticks. :D

My boyfriend never ate Chinese food before he met me and never used chopsticks before. One time he asked for a pair of chopsticks to take home and practice with in case he ever had to eat with my family (he's gotten good with them ;D). There have been times when waiters have asked him whether he needs a fork, but not extend the same offer to me (he's white, I'm Asian). They'd make the offer either when they were taking our order or when our food arrives, so it's not like they saw him struggling with the chopsticks.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Starchasm on September 27, 2008, 02:29:39 PM
AAAhahahaha!  Funny.  My family constantly rags on me for using chopsticks for eating Chinese and Japanese food, but they've never suggested that I am RUDE for doing it!  What a loon.

And for those of you who have trouble using chopsticks, have you tried different materials or sizes?  I can use lighter chopsticks, particularly wood, like a pro, but the heavier ones made out of ivory or metal are VERY hard for me to wrangle.  It's a balance thing.  Plus, the longer they are (while supposedly proportionate to your status and wealth) the clumsier I am with them.  I have very small hands.

So don't give up!  It may just be a matter of finding the right ones.  ;D
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: nutraxfornerves on September 27, 2008, 02:41:02 PM
Veering slightly off topic, but...

I took a couple of trips to China in 1983 & 83. The trips included some internal flights on the national airline (the only one allowed to fly in China at the time) where a meal was served. Invariably, for some unknown reason, the only utensils available would be those cheap plastic airline knives & forks. Nary a chopstick in sight. It was interesting to watch the Chinese passengers attempting to cope as best as they could with unfamiliar utensils. (The food was generally of such a quality that an inability to eat it was no hardship, however.)

I have run into man people who cannot use chopsticks, even if they have eaten a lot of Asian meals. Some found it so intiidating the first time they tried that they never tried again. Others just never felt the need to learn the skill.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Scritzy on September 27, 2008, 06:45:37 PM
Chip doesn't use chopsticks because he says he doesn't like to fight with his food. He wants to eat it instead. ;D
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: KCee on September 27, 2008, 06:53:07 PM
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.

Haha!  ;D I can use chopsticks, meaning that I can get the food from the plate into my mouth somehow, but I KNOW I don't do it correctly. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: JocelynCS on September 27, 2008, 09:29:50 PM
Alas, I've always tried to use chopsticks when they're available at Asian restaurants, but I'm incredibly clumsy with my hands and don't seem to be improving much at all.  (A waitress once told me it's because my fingers are too small.  Heh!)
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Alida on September 28, 2008, 12:15:49 AM
I thought I knew how to eat with chopsticks - until the nice waiter in the Chinese restaurant quietly approached my table and laid something down on it. "Spoon," he said, and discreetly vanished.

LOL!  Could it be that that particular dish was not meant to be eaten with chopsticks or even a fork?

Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: KenveeB on September 28, 2008, 10:41:35 AM
Count me in as a chopsticker.  I always use chopsticks for Chinese food, whether I go out or have delivery.  I have a couple of sets of chopsticks at home -- I found a really cool "roll" that holds four pairs of chopsticks, perfect for stuffing in the back of the utensils drawer.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Sophia on September 28, 2008, 10:59:42 AM
I am in the camp that can use chopsticks, but not really well.  How some people can cut things with chopsticks is beyond me. 
When I was in Taiwan using chopsticks was treated like most places treat speaking the native language.  Perfection was not required.  Any serious attempt was highly praised. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Sneezy on September 28, 2008, 10:59:15 PM
I carry a pair with me in case I'm confronted with a mass of lettuce. Green salads are much easier for me to eat with chopsticks rather than a fork for some odd reason. The ones that break down sound really cool, and a bit more adult than the orange polka dot bento set I'm taking on vacation!

Makes perfect sense to me.  With chopsticks, you can kind of fold the lettuce when you pick it up.  With a fork, it's a lot harder for me to fit the lettuce in my mouth somehow and I end up getting dressing splattered on either side of my face.

Regarding the OP, if I am eating sushi, I can not eat it with a fork.  If I try, things go flying in a most embarrassing fashion.  If I recall correctly, some things it is acceptable to eat with your fingers, which is pretty useful when I have a craving for sushi on a clutzy day.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Samantha on September 29, 2008, 12:03:12 AM
I learned to use chopsticks when I was 21. I was visiting a friend that is part Chinese, and he had cooked dinner. He set the table with chopsticks, and told me that if I wanted to eat, I either needed to use the chopsticks, or figure out where in the kitchen they kept the traditional silverware (everyone that lived in the house used chopsticks, as that is what they were raised with as all were part-Asian). I provided the entertainment with dinner that night, trying to master the chopsticks... but I did it! Well, I at least did it well enough to eat. :) He showed me where the traditional silverware was kept when we cleaned up, so that I could have cereal in the morning for breakfast.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Karmelita on October 05, 2008, 11:39:17 PM
I thought this one was positively bizarre when I read it too!  I always use chopsticks when I eat at a place that offers them but I couldn't care less if someone at the table doesn't want to.  Although...we did have some fun with my boss when he tried (and failed miserably) to use them at a birthday lunch, but nothing mean-spirited - he laughed along with us. 

My maternal grandfather spent many, many years living and traveling in Asia, and he taught my sister and I how to use them when we were quite young.  I can't imagine my technique is perfect, but I've never had an issue using them.  We did get a nice compliment in a teppanyaki restaurant when a girl who worked us approached our table and politely asked if we had ever lived in Asia.  We were a little confused and said that we had not.  She said that she was from Japan and was ashamed that we ate rice with chopsticks better than she did.  It was really cute.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Cami on October 10, 2008, 03:38:22 PM
It's certainly possible to grow up without learning how to use chopsticks. I did and I grew up outside NYC and had my share of Asian food. But I never learned in large part bec no one ever showed me and in part bec there were always forks and knives were on the tables --why would I want to fight with my food if I don't have to.  As an adult I've tried to learn and although I'm quite adept with my hands (I was a bridal seamstress/fitter, for one example), I simply cannot do it. DD learned when she was 6 and at nearly 50 I still cannot do it. It's not one of my big life worries, to be honest.

And where I live now? Let's put it this way, when we moved here 18 years ago (and keep in mind this is a big university town), our race was questioned because we both have brunette hair. Why? Because "white people have blonde hair." So I can pretty much assure you that if the natives think brown hair is so exotic that we cannot be caucasian, I can assure you that there are few natives here who know how to use chopsticks.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: wordgirl on October 10, 2008, 04:07:39 PM
Camicar, are you in a city known for a large ... tabernacle? With an, um, choir?
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: LadyPekoe on October 10, 2008, 09:02:48 PM
I'm usually fine with chopsticks.  That being said, in the last year I've been to Japan twice (one week and then two months), China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  I'm fine with chopsticks--except when people stare at me.  And everyone always seems to watch intently to see if I can use them, which makes me nervous, and I look like an idiot when I keep dropping my food.  Esp. in countries like China or Taiwan where most everything is served communially and you have to reach with the chopsticks...


My mom was in Japan visiting me for a week--and does not know how to use chopsticks (and refuses to learn).  It really wasn't a problem--of course, she never ate Japanese food :)
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Sophia on October 10, 2008, 11:27:46 PM
I'm usually fine with chopsticks.  That being said, in the last year I've been to Japan twice (one week and then two months), China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  I'm fine with chopsticks--except when people stare at me.  ...

Maybe you could explain how to cut with chopsticks.  For example, I ate in the TSMC cafeteria, in Taiwan, and the main entree was breaded chicken patties in an oblong shape about the same size as "salisbury steak" in the High School cafeteria.  No could explain to me how they got it to bite-sized pieces.  They "just did it".  They thought I was a real hoot when my chicken flew onto the floor and I made an unhappy noise.  It was really good chicken. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: LadyPekoe on October 11, 2008, 10:56:38 AM
I'm usually fine with chopsticks.  That being said, in the last year I've been to Japan twice (one week and then two months), China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  I'm fine with chopsticks--except when people stare at me.  ...

Maybe you could explain how to cut with chopsticks.  For example, I ate in the TSMC cafeteria, in Taiwan, and the main entree was breaded chicken patties in an oblong shape about the same size as "salisbury steak" in the High School cafeteria.  No could explain to me how they got it to bite-sized pieces.  They "just did it".  They thought I was a real hoot when my chicken flew onto the floor and I made an unhappy noise.  It was really good chicken. 

No, I avoided cooking difficult things because I had this fear of flinging it across the table, so I'm not the one to ask.  What really impressed me was when people could cut soft tofu and get it onto their plate without it dissolving into a huge mess...I never mastered that.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: LoveZombie on October 12, 2008, 06:32:14 PM
I learned how to use chopsticks at a fairly young age-- my mom and I would go to Mitsuwa (a japanese marketplace) every other month or so, and it had a great food court with some really delicious ramen and udon. They gave you chopsticks and little plastic spoons to eat your noodles with. I loved udon and taught myself my own little way of using chopsticks.
I personally prefer using chopsticks, but I understand the difficulties of learning to use them.

Along the branch of funny chopstick moments;; my friends and I were doing some back-to-school shopping and got hungry, so we ducked into an Asian place and ordered there. My friend's order of teriyaki came with a bowl of miso soup. My friend picked up her chopsticks, looked at her soup, looked back up at me, and in a panicky voice asked, "How do I eat my soup??" Apparently, she thought she had to use the chopsticks to eat her soup. I about died.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Asharah on October 12, 2008, 06:38:51 PM
Along the branch of funny chopstick moments;; my friends and I were doing some back-to-school shopping and got hungry, so we ducked into an Asian place and ordered there. My friend's order of teriyaki came with a bowl of miso soup. My friend picked up her chopsticks, looked at her soup, looked back up at me, and in a panicky voice asked, "How do I eat my soup??" Apparently, she thought she had to use the chopsticks to eat her soup. I about died.
Wasn't there a spoon? The Japanese restaurants I went to have a plastic scoop/spoon in the bowl of soup.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: LadyPekoe on October 12, 2008, 07:14:17 PM
I learned how to use chopsticks at a fairly young age-- my mom and I would go to Mitsuwa (a japanese marketplace) every other month or so, and it had a great food court with some really delicious ramen and udon. They gave you chopsticks and little plastic spoons to eat your noodles with. I loved udon and taught myself my own little way of using chopsticks.
I personally prefer using chopsticks, but I understand the difficulties of learning to use them.

Along the branch of funny chopstick moments;; my friends and I were doing some back-to-school shopping and got hungry, so we ducked into an Asian place and ordered there. My friend's order of teriyaki came with a bowl of miso soup. My friend picked up her chopsticks, looked at her soup, looked back up at me, and in a panicky voice asked, "How do I eat my soup??" Apparently, she thought she had to use the chopsticks to eat her soup. I about died.


I'm not authority on Japanese food but...

You do eat soup with chopsticks.  Kinda.  You pick out the big pieces or noodles (in miso soup, you can eat the seaweed or tofu with chopsticks), and then you lift the bowl up and drink the broth.  Yum!  No spoon.  I was never once once given a spoon in Japan although I have been given spoons in US/Japanese restaurants (because people don't like drinking out of the bowl).
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: LoveZombie on October 12, 2008, 07:21:32 PM
Along the branch of funny chopstick moments;; my friends and I were doing some back-to-school shopping and got hungry, so we ducked into an Asian place and ordered there. My friend's order of teriyaki came with a bowl of miso soup. My friend picked up her chopsticks, looked at her soup, looked back up at me, and in a panicky voice asked, "How do I eat my soup??" Apparently, she thought she had to use the chopsticks to eat her soup. I about died.
Wasn't there a spoon? The Japanese restaurants I went to have a plastic scoop/spoon in the bowl of soup.
I'm not sure how to explain this, but I'll try. It was more of Asian fast food, as opposed to a nice sit-down-and-be-served restaraunt (wow, that was a terrible description). So we ordered, and then they would make it and call out our number, and we would run to get it. I was in charge of getting the food, and brought it over. The spoons were in little packages with napkins, and she didn't realize her spoon was in there, thought it was just a napkin.
Hopefully that made sense  :-\

I learned how to use chopsticks at a fairly young age-- my mom and I would go to Mitsuwa (a japanese marketplace) every other month or so, and it had a great food court with some really delicious ramen and udon. They gave you chopsticks and little plastic spoons to eat your noodles with. I loved udon and taught myself my own little way of using chopsticks.
I personally prefer using chopsticks, but I understand the difficulties of learning to use them.

Along the branch of funny chopstick moments;; my friends and I were doing some back-to-school shopping and got hungry, so we ducked into an Asian place and ordered there. My friend's order of teriyaki came with a bowl of miso soup. My friend picked up her chopsticks, looked at her soup, looked back up at me, and in a panicky voice asked, "How do I eat my soup??" Apparently, she thought she had to use the chopsticks to eat her soup. I about died.


I'm not authority on Japanese food but...

You do eat soup with chopsticks.  Kinda.  You pick out the big pieces or noodles (in miso soup, you can eat the seaweed or tofu with chopsticks), and then you lift the bowl up and drink the broth.  Yum!  No spoon.  I was never once once given a spoon in Japan although I have been given spoons in US/Japanese restaurants (because people don't like drinking out of the bowl).
I think she assumed you were also supposed to magically eat the broth with chopsticks, though. Which would explain her panic. :)
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Doll Fiend on May 26, 2011, 11:11:40 PM
Had to drag this one up from the depths. Was searching for Chopstick Etiquette. I have always been told I use chopsticks like I crochet. Or do I crochet like I use chopsticks? Who knows. But I do know that the one SIL is Nuts! I mean does her idea of rood mean that some one who is eating their soup can't use a spoon because some one else is using a fork on their mashed potatoes?
Oh. here.
easy to use chopsticks (http://www.amazon.com/Holdstix-Easy-to-Use-Chopsticks/dp/B000BHL5GK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1306468496&sr=8-2)
Travel Chopsticks (http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Portable-Travel-Chopsticks/dp/B002MBINHM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306468864&sr=8-1)
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: HonorH on May 27, 2011, 12:24:41 AM
I'm usually fine with chopsticks.  That being said, in the last year I've been to Japan twice (one week and then two months), China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  I'm fine with chopsticks--except when people stare at me.  ...

Maybe you could explain how to cut with chopsticks.  For example, I ate in the TSMC cafeteria, in Taiwan, and the main entree was breaded chicken patties in an oblong shape about the same size as "salisbury steak" in the High School cafeteria.  No could explain to me how they got it to bite-sized pieces.  They "just did it".  They thought I was a real hoot when my chicken flew onto the floor and I made an unhappy noise.  It was really good chicken. 

Old question, but if anyone's still interested--basically, you stab the meat with your chopsticks and then force them apart, or you stab one into the middle and then force the other in from the edge. Works really well on softer things, but it's very difficult with chicken or steak. Which is why I always cut chicken up into reasonable pieces when I put it into my bento box. That said, sometimes you can force the meat apart along the grain. It's something every Japanese schoolkid could do and I had to learn through trial and error.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Erich L-ster on May 27, 2011, 12:43:40 AM
this is bizarre. the only way it would be rude is if a fork wasn't provided for those who can't use chopsticks.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Moray on May 27, 2011, 03:03:05 PM
How absolutely weird. "Heather" must have some serious insecurities.

My little sister cannot use chopsticks. She's 20 and has been exposed to them her whole life. She really wants to, each time she gives it the old college try, and each time she ends up with a fork. She just. can't. do. it. Does she turn into a petulant brat? No. She says "oh well" and enjoys her meal with a fork.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: HonorH on May 27, 2011, 06:33:13 PM
How absolutely weird. "Heather" must have some serious insecurities.

My little sister cannot use chopsticks. She's 20 and has been exposed to them her whole life. She really wants to, each time she gives it the old college try, and each time she ends up with a fork. She just. can't. do. it. Does she turn into a petulant brat? No. She says "oh well" and enjoys her meal with a fork.

That used to be me. Then I moved to Japan. It's amazing how quickly a bunch of giggling middle-schoolers can re-train you.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Schmoopie3928 on May 27, 2011, 09:35:06 PM
Wow! This one is so  old I don't remember the response I posted before! I love Chopsticks! My DH is horrible. He always tries and he does the cheating thing where he stabs the piece in the middle and uses the other one to hold the side. Pretty slick if you are not looking to close. He bought me these http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/kitchen/d659/ (http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/kitchen/d659/) for my bday. I love them. So cute!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: KenveeB on May 27, 2011, 10:10:52 PM
Wow! This one is so  old I don't remember the response I posted before! I love Chopsticks! My DH is horrible. He always tries and he does the cheating thing where he stabs the piece in the middle and uses the other one to hold the side. Pretty slick if you are not looking to close. He bought me these http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/kitchen/d659/ (http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/kitchen/d659/) for my bday. I love them. So cute!

I have the lightsaber ones. :)  (They're actually harder to use than my regular chopsticks, because they're thicker.)
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Sophia on May 28, 2011, 12:29:55 PM
I'm usually fine with chopsticks.  That being said, in the last year I've been to Japan twice (one week and then two months), China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  I'm fine with chopsticks--except when people stare at me.  ...

Maybe you could explain how to cut with chopsticks.  For example, I ate in the TSMC cafeteria, in Taiwan, and the main entree was breaded chicken patties in an oblong shape about the same size as "salisbury steak" in the High School cafeteria.  No could explain to me how they got it to bite-sized pieces.  They "just did it".  They thought I was a real hoot when my chicken flew onto the floor and I made an unhappy noise.  It was really good chicken. 

Old question, but if anyone's still interested--basically, you stab the meat with your chopsticks and then force them apart, or you stab one into the middle and then force the other in from the edge. Works really well on softer things, but it's very difficult with chicken or steak. Which is why I always cut chicken up into reasonable pieces when I put it into my bento box. That said, sometimes you can force the meat apart along the grain. It's something every Japanese schoolkid could do and I had to learn through trial and error.

thank you, I will try that out. 
I still remember my disappointment when that chicken flew on the floor. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: JillyJ on June 21, 2011, 03:29:52 PM
hI live in a small-medium sized town and we have 3 Hibachi restaurants and about 6 Chinese restaurants plus a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, so I know larger towns must have even more. Given the wide availability of cuisine designed to be eaten with chopsticks, jow does someone become an adult without learning how to use chopsticks?

I'm pretty good with chopsticks now (though it took some time for me to "master" it).  But, thinking back to my childhood, the only places I was ever taken that would require chopsticks were chinese restaurants, and I can't remember ever being given any, so I definitely never learned as a kid.  As an adult, I think that many places give you what they THINK you'll want.  So, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of places just give people forks, assuming they wouldn't want chopsticks anyway.  My husband is Indian and we joke that I need to hide in the bathroom when we go to the Indian restaurants in our city because we swear if they see me sitting there, they somehow do the "White girl at table 5" flavor/heat conversion when they make our food no matter what level of heat we tell them we want. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Quack on June 22, 2011, 08:16:42 AM
I can imagine how it can be rude. If you were sort-of stabbing your rice trying to pick it up, its like an offering for the dead. So technically it can be kinda rude to use chopsticks incorrectly, though no one should be insulted by that (if you really didn't know about it)

Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: dqduck on June 25, 2011, 07:09:27 AM
I'm Chinese and when I was little, my parents always figured it was easier to give me a spoon than to have me struggling with chopsticks. At family reunion dinners, my relatives were always very nice about it and made sure I had a utensil I could use. However, being surrounded by people who could use chopsticks embarrassed me enough that I taught myself.  :P
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: kitty-cat on June 25, 2011, 08:12:15 AM
Oh, I love the souvenir that my mom brought me back from her last trip. They visited a Japanese garden while they were there.

I now have my own pair of chopsticks with a cherry blossom print on them. I love em!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on June 25, 2011, 09:04:04 AM
I don't remember how old I was when I learned how to use chopsticks, just that it was sometime when I was a kid since my family really enjoyed Chinese and Japanese food and we got takeout often and went out to eat often as well.

But I still sometimes have trouble with them, so I wouldn't expect everyone to use them or even have an easy time with them.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: kitty_ev on June 25, 2011, 06:22:44 PM
I taught myself how to use chopsticks when I was a teenager. I love Chinese and Japanese food and had a real hankering to learn how to use chopsticks. It was a trial-and-error process but I won. My parents and my brother, at the time, didn't bother learning how to use them and just used a fork instead. My brother has, I think, since learnt how to use them but my parents never have. Chopsticks are probably my favourite eating utensil. I was once complemented on my chopstick prowess while eating out in a local Chinese restaurant (by the owner who was from China)- I felt very flattered!

My husband has a different chopstick technique to me. He learned when he was a little boy living in Japan (his family had moved there with his father's job). His preferred utensil for Chinese and Japanese food is the chopstick. We both think the food tastes better that way.

My housemate has never learned to use chopsticks. Every time I cook Chinese food we attempt afresh to teach him (he asks us to!) but we've still not managed. It's good fun in the attempt though!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: JoyinVirginia on June 26, 2011, 01:10:59 PM
I just gotta say, Ashara, I love love love the sushi chef animations in first post!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: PaintingPastelPrincess on June 26, 2011, 04:15:28 PM
I think it would be rude for chopstick users to laugh at fork users, but I don't think it's rude to use (or attempt) either utensil, no matter what anyone else is using. 

I am not very good with chopsticks.  I can usually eat sushi with them, although I have problems if the pieces break sometimes.  At a few restaurants, I've been given a fork (for "just in case"), but usually not.  None of the Asians I've eaten with have really commented on my chopstick etiquette, although they have tried offering me pointers to make it easier.

I haven't yet attempted other things, like my favorite honey chicken on rice.  I think I might drop it all over the place.  I really should get some connected chopsticks so I can practice at home where I won't embarass myself.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Mom2PBJ on July 04, 2011, 09:48:16 AM
[ Wow she must be incredibly sheltered!  Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon![/b]
[/quote]

Then I guess I was a loon, too, until a year ago, because I, at the age of 47 then, never knew how to use chopsticks.  And even then the super nice and helpful hostess noticed that I didn't know how and gave me a pair of training wheel chopsticks (the kind that were banded together).  But since then I've mastered it as my husband and I have been going to sushi places at least once a month since then.  But when we were having dinner with others and they did use chopsticks I never thought they were rude, or that anybody was a loon. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: PaintingPastelPrincess on July 04, 2011, 12:09:50 PM
[ Wow she must be incredibly sheltered!  Why didn't Heather just ask someone to show her how to use the chopsticks? What a loon![/b]

Then I guess I was a loon, too, until a year ago, because I, at the age of 47 then, never knew how to use chopsticks.  And even then the super nice and helpful hostess noticed that I didn't know how and gave me a pair of training wheel chopsticks (the kind that were banded together).  But since then I've mastered it as my husband and I have been going to sushi places at least once a month since then.  But when we were having dinner with others and they did use chopsticks I never thought they were rude, or that anybody was a loon.
[/quote]

I thought the loon part referred to Heather not asking for help or just enjoying her meal with a fork, not to her not being able to use the chopsticks.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Sirius on July 04, 2011, 03:45:17 PM
I lived in Japan as a very young child, and I learned how to eat with chopsticks, although I never got the hang of eating rice with chopsticks.  I think Heather was the rude one, not the OP, and I'd have been rude and said so. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: purplemuse on July 22, 2011, 02:31:49 AM
I wouldn't say I've mastered chopsticks by any stretch of the imagination, but I can manage with them.

I actually like eating with them at restaurants-- I have to eat more slowly, which means I end up feeling full sooner. This has the double benefit of portion control, and ensuring I have yummy, yummy leftovers for the next day.

And using really pretty ones makes me feel like eating is an art form, which I think helps me enjoy my food more.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: glacio on August 20, 2011, 04:09:59 PM
I went to a "Chinese" buffet in a small Texas town that did not have chopsticks readily available. As someone who has lived in China and eaten just about everything with chopsticks (including cake), I was at a bit of a loss. I had the hardest time eating sushi with a fork and felt so rude with the mess I was making. Next time, I'm bring my own!
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: snowfire on August 21, 2011, 12:04:25 AM
I have a pair similar to these http://www.rei.com/product/749401/snow-peak-compact-chopsticks

Mine were not as expensive but they work just fine.  I keep them in my purse...right next to the swiss army knife and my streamlight flashlight.  I'm prepared for most anything.  ;D
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: cabbageweevil on September 11, 2011, 11:03:19 AM
Just discovered this thread.  First -- the notion that mixing of different cultures' eating implements at the same meal, is rude; is IMO beyond crazy. "Whatever works for whoever", for goodness' sake...
 
Count me in as another Westerner who just cannot learn how to use chopsticks. On my only visit to China (a three-week holiday with a friend), I found it beyond me -- I am basically the reverse of deft or dexterous with anything. Fortunately, at every place where we ate (public "eateries" only), spoons at least, were available for "severely challenged" me.  My friend, overall cleverer than I with any kind of tasks-with-the-hands, mastered the art rapidly, and duly used chopsticks thenceforth.  He did express the opinion that they seemed to be eating-implements of a less efficient kind, than had been worked out over time, in the West. On this, the mileage of the people of the Eastern nations would no doubt vary...
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Lisbeth on September 11, 2011, 12:03:07 PM
I had to struggle to learn to use chopsticks, but I consider it an achievement.  My dad always prefers to eat Asian foods with chopsticks when they're made available.  He once got a fancy pair of ornamental chopsticks as a birthday gift (not to be used, but they're beautiful!). 

Last year I had a birthday party at a Chinese restaurant and they gave me a pair of chopsticks as a gift of appreciation.  I still have them-and still love them.

Heather needs to grow up.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Ida on September 14, 2011, 10:53:40 PM
My 95-year-old MIL, arthritic though she was, tried gamely to use hashi when we took her to a little downhome family-run Japanese restaurant for tonnkatsu, figuring that would be close enough to chicken-fried steak that she'd enjoy it. (She did. She was from Arkansas.) The staff put a fork at her place, but she wanted to try anyway. We were one of maybe three sets of customers that night, and got a lot of benign attention—that traditional respect for elders was definitely in play, and the grandma of the family was present and helping out. She came over to chat, and IIRC we got free desserts just because. Great experience!

Echoing at least one PP here: Chopsticks/hashi are the best possible utensils for eating salad! I keep forgetting to grab mine out of the car; I keep a coupe of pairs on the sunshade flaps. It's definitely easier to use unfinished-wood hashi than metal (including grooved) or enameled or plastic ones. I learned to use them, well, after I was 23 and moved to Berkeley. I ain't sayin it was easy; I'm a klutz of the first water. 

Just over a year ago, we were dining at a so-so Chinese restaurant where a couple of musicians we like a lot were playing a regular free gig. (Hawai'ian slack-key and song.) I was having a bad day; my fingers were stiff and so was the rest of me; I kept dropping my chopsticks and finally had to resort to a fork, and I know I was limping a bit on my sore knee when we left. One of the pair is also a massage therapist. He emailed me the next day, offering a free massage, and then extended that gift to a month's worth for free.

It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. I've been a devoted client ever since.

That stuff, that's what etiquette is for. Kindness.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: plsander on October 06, 2011, 03:49:55 PM
When I was a youngster in scouts and my father was one of the leaders he would always carry a set of chopsticks on campouts. 

One of the requirements for tenderfoot (or was it 2nd class..) was to cook a meal on your own.  The Troop's tradition was that this meal was to be sampled by one of the adult leaders.  Dad's skill with his chopsticks varied depending on how appetizing the resulting meal looked.  ;D

Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: RegionMom on October 27, 2011, 08:34:19 PM
I will have to pass that on to my DH--also a scout leader! 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Eisa on October 28, 2011, 12:42:45 AM
I cannot seem to manage chopsticks, either. The last time I used them was at my friend's brother's house because his wife is Japanese and made some sort of Japanese dish that you are technically supposed to eat with chopsticks. I tried, but... :-[ I honestly think their elderly, arthritic dog could have used those chopsticks better than I did. :P

Heather, on the other hand, was ruder than can be believed. Although I think that perhaps she was embarrassed that she didn't know how/couldn't use chopsticks and wanted to take it out on everybody else.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: White Lotus on September 18, 2012, 09:32:35 PM
I personally don't carry them around with me, but I do not like using metal utensils with any food made with soy sauce -- at least, I think it is the soy sauce.  Thai cuisine uses fish sauce, rather than soy sauce (though soy sauce is sometime substituted in vegetarian iterations) and it tastes just fine with the usual Thai metal forks and spoons.  Maybe it is some other seasoning, because I only eat the vegetarian versions, or they just leave the fish sauce out without adding soy, which also works, but there is a difference in taste when soy and metal utensils get involved.  I have some lovely Korean metal chopsticks and they also give the off taste, and so are reserved for Korean food.  A person who really cannot learn chopsticks might want to try a wooden fork or spoon.  They are available, and might make Chinese and Japanese food taste better.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: katycoo on September 18, 2012, 11:21:11 PM
I encourage non-chopstick users to give them a try when we're out at as Asian resturant simply because you'll never get the hang of it if you never try!  But if there's no quick success (or if there's resistance to encouragement) we move on quickly.  I don't care what others use as long as i get chopsticks.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: iridaceae on October 04, 2012, 06:14:37 AM
I encourage non-chopstick users to give them a try when we're out at as Asian resturant simply because you'll never get the hang of it if you never try!  But if there's no quick success (or if there's resistance to encouragement) we move on quickly. 

 Because we've never tried before. Many times.  ::)   

Seriously I've never had more than "lucky to nab a piece" luck with chopsticks as much as I've tried. I don't need another cheerleader telling me Yes I Can!

Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: sourwolf on October 04, 2012, 06:40:51 AM
I encourage non-chopstick users to give them a try when we're out at as Asian resturant simply because you'll never get the hang of it if you never try!  But if there's no quick success (or if there's resistance to encouragement) we move on quickly. 

 Because we've never tried before. Many times.  ::)   

Seriously I've never had more than "lucky to nab a piece" luck with chopsticks as much as I've tried. I don't need another cheerleader telling me Yes I Can!

I tend to agree, at this point it's easier to spare myself the embarrassment and just ask for silverware.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Venus193 on October 04, 2012, 06:57:12 AM
I wonder whether Heather ever grew up.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Mental Magpie on October 08, 2012, 08:47:13 PM
I have seen this argument before...where numerous people had tried to teach Dark Boyfriend how to drive a stick shift and had all failed miserably.  I asked him to let me try, and lo and behold, he can drive a stick shift now....so just because you've tried before doesn't mean you had the right person teaching you.

I also think that means the snark isn't necessary; plenty of people won't try because they're afraid.  Encouraging them to try or keep trying isn't wrong.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 08, 2012, 10:52:31 PM
If someone refuses, pushing them is rude. It puts them on the spot and can make them defensive.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: jedikaiti on October 08, 2012, 11:58:14 PM
For those who've had trouble but would like to try again, you can get training chopsticks online or at your local Asian food market.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Mental Magpie on October 09, 2012, 08:41:24 AM
If someone refuses, pushing them is rude. It puts them on the spot and can make them defensive.

I don't disagree with that.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Sophia on October 09, 2012, 10:43:39 AM
I've tried the training chopsticks (I own some).  I haven't found them helpful. 

One thing I never understood is the concept of cutting stuff with chopsticks.  I remember watching a Food show that explained the development of chopsticks.  Chopping the food up meant it cooked faster which saved on scarce fuel.  Also, that having a knife at the dinner time was gauche.  Which is great.  But, I get annoyed when the pieces are larger than bite-sized. 
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: SpikeMichigan on October 24, 2012, 02:19:55 PM


 I've never been able to work them. That said, I don't go out for Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese that often.

 The woman sounds pretty self centred. I HATE when people make up etiquette rules on the spot like that - I don't do it, therefore its rude.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Otterpop on November 12, 2012, 04:17:49 PM
I think Heather's issue is that anyone with any skill she doesn't possess is threatening her "superiority."  I would just pause, mid-tidbit, raise one eyebrow and chuckle.  Then eat the rest of your meal as though she'd just told a joke.  Her comments about how you eat your food are beyond ridiculous and don't deserve the attention.  If she persists, look incredulous and say "I thought you were joking.  I am going to eat my meal as I please." (Don't justify, argue, defend or excuse yourself whether you use a fork, chopsticks, etc.)
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Venus193 on November 12, 2012, 05:36:05 PM
I think Heather's issue is that anyone with any skill she doesn't possess is threatening her "superiority."  I would just pause, mid-tidbit, raise one eyebrow and chuckle.  Then eat the rest of your meal as though she'd just told a joke.  Her comments about how you eat your food are beyond ridiculous and don't deserve the attention.  If she persists, look incredulous and say "I thought you were joking.  I am going to eat my meal as I please." (Don't justify, argue, defend or excuse yourself whether you use a fork, chopsticks, etc.)

That sounds familiar.  Like people who get their knickers in a twist over my foreign pronunciation ability.
Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Pippen on November 13, 2012, 09:01:46 PM
Using chopsticks does seem to make the food taste different in my opinion. It is designed to be eaten in small pieces so shoving it into you mouth with a fork would go against the general ethos of how and why the food is prepared in this way. Kind of like how wines taste different from the type of glass they are drunk from.



Title: Re: Relatives: Chopsticks Are Rude???????????
Post by: Golden Phoenix on November 18, 2012, 10:04:44 AM
By heather's logic, if Person A is having steak and person B has chosen soup for their main course then either the person with the soup will be trying to eat it off a fork or the person with the steak is going to wonder how to cut it up with their spoon.