The topic of methods of using the chopsticks has always crept into conversations with friends. How do you use the chopsticks "correctly", if there is indeed a correct method. I would say whichever method suits you, and you think you are happy with it, then it's good enough. But, I also believe there's a traditional method, and that method is the most efficient way of using chopsticks.
From what I observed, there are 4 ways of using the chopsticks to pick items. Three's a 5th method for eating rice from a bowl, which I will not cover here. Basically, that method is to hold the chopsticks together, bring the bowl to your mouth, and push the rice into your mouth using the chopsticks.
I present to you, my comparison of the different methods. I do not profess to be an expert in using chopsticks, nor am I an evangelist for my preferred way of using chopsticks. Whichever method you prefer, or you think is better is entirely up to you.
|The first method, and likely the most common method, I call it the cross method. you hold the chopsticks using your thumb, index finger and middle finger. The chopsticks will form a cross at about the place where you are holding it. This is the easiest method, and likely to be the method you'll use if you have never use chopsticks before. It was the method I used long long time ago.|
|This method is mostly used to complement the cross method. At times when the object to be picked is too slippery, and if it is soft enough, you can grab the chopsticks together and poke it through the object, just like you would use a toothpick. An example is the fish ball.|
There are limited objects where u can poke your chopsticks through, but I've also seen people who managed to use the grab method like a cross method to pick up objects. This way, you do not have to switch methods, but it looks quite difficult and requires a lot of practice.
|This method is the traditional method. In my opinion, this is the most efficient way of using the chopsticks. It allows you to hold heavy objects firmly, and yet at the same time be able to handle delicate objects.|
This is the method I am using now. It is the most difficult method. It requires a lot of practice and cramped thumbs. At least for me, it is.
|I would say this is a variation of the traditional method, but in actual fact, I am not exactly sure which is the original traditional method. Maybe they both are.|
They both look very similar, with 1 difference, the role of the middle finger. In the 1st traditional method, the middle finger is used to control the chop chopstick, while the 2nd method is used to support the bottom chopstick.
This method uses 1 less finger to control the top chopsticks, which is the main player here. And therein lies it's weakness, it's more difficult to control the chopstick.
After looking at the 4 methods, you may realize that although there are 4 methods, there's only 2 main principle of picking up objects. The 1st 2 methods uses the cross principle, while the next 2 methods uses the point principle. I will attempt to explain what exactly is these 2 principles.Cross principle
I think another name for this principle can be the fulcrum principle. The chopsticks intersected each other somewhere near the top part of the chopstick. Using the intersect point as the pivot to pick the items using the bottom part of the chopstick. Looking at the diagram above, you'll see that if the object is slippery, it is likely to slip down. This is where the grab/poke method will complement. If it still fails, there's always the spoon.Point principle
This principle uses the bottom tip of the chopsticks to pick up the object, much like how you would do using your fingers. I thought this method is more stable and items held in the chopsticks are less likely to slip/fall out.So how do you execute the traditional method way of using chopsticks?
|First, you hold 1 chopstick somewhere near the top in the valley between your thumb and index finger.|
|Next twist ur hand abit such tat each side of the valley form a 2 point contact with the chopstick. Then, bring your third finger, the one beside the pinky finger, to the chopstick somewhere further down. Note that there is now a 3 point contact between hour hand and the chopstick. The side of the bottom below the index finger, the bottom of the thumb and the forth finger.|
|You can use the middle finger instead if you wanted to use the variation.|
Which ever variation you use, this first chopstick is fixed firmly in the 3 point contact and it should not move. Only the other chopstick is moving when you are trying to pick something.
|Hold the other chopstick using the tip of your thumb and the 1st joint of your index finger at about the same spot where the 1st chopstick is resting in the valley between your thumb and index finer. Bring the tip of both your index finger and your middle finger to the chopstick.|
The tip of the chopsticks must be touching each other when in rest position, forming a V. This will enable you to pick up light objects using much strength, and light objects are what you will be picking with your chopsticks most of the time.
To pick something up, move the tips away from each other by moving your middle finger up, this will swing the chopstick up, pivoting at the point where your thumb is holding it at the 1st joint of the index finger. Bring your chopsticks to the object, such that the chopsticks are on each side of the object, with the fixed chopstick lightly touching the object. Close it by moving your index finger down, which will swing the chopstick back down. With the fixed chopsick remaining still, and the moving chopstick pushing the object against it, you should be able to form a grip on the object.
You'll need lots of practice on this.
|If you are using the variation method, your middle finger is already supporting 1st chopstick, thus only the index finger and the thumb is used to control the top chopstick.|
I hope the above information is useful to you. As with most things, practice makes perfect, so don't forget to try using it at every opportunity.
More information about chopsticks:Kitchenware.orgWikipedia