Hand-Selected Chopsticks From Around the World

How to use Chopsticks

Think of the chopstick as a pair of prongs, the only difference being that there are two separate parts or sticks. One stick is held in stationary position and the other is moved.

Take one stick first and hold it in your right hand in the way you would normally hold a pencil. If the stick has a thick and a thin end, hold it so that the thick end is on top.

Keeping the fingers in this position, turn your hand inward until the stick is horizontal to the table and parallel to your body.

Relax your fingers slightly and slide the stick to the left until your thumb and forefinger are clamping the stick at about its mid-point. The thumb should not be bent nor rigidly straight. All your fingers should be curved slightly inwards with the middle finger in contact with the underside of the stick and the nail of the middle finger protruding towards your body. The third (ring) finger should be in line with the middle finger but its nail should protrude beyond the middle finger towards your body.

Now, take the other stick with your left hand and let the thick end rest on the protuding part of the ring finger of your right hand. Slide the stick towards the right, touching the tip of the middle finger and passing under the thumb until the thick end rests at the base joint of your forefinger. This is the stationary position of this stick, and it should be roughly parallel to the first stick.

Alternately bend and extend your forefinger and middle finger, letting the first stick PIVOT at the thumb. The thin tip of the moving stick will touch that of the stationary stick when you bend the two fingers. Don't hold the sticks rigidly. Hardly any pressure or strength is needed to grasp things at the tip of the chopsticks.

The chopstick is multipurpose; it serves the Japanese as fork, knife and spoon. They eat soup with it, they cut food into small morsels with it, and they use it to pick up food and carry it from the plate to the mouth. You can do it, too.