Eating With Your Fingers - Morgane F

How do you eat with your fingers?

As a French person, I had to learn good table-manners. You should put your forearms on the table but certainly not the elbows! You should use your cutlery according to the food you are eating – yes, we even have a different knife, fork or even spoon if we eat fish or meat. You do not eat with your fingers! I think that is the sentence that every French child has heard.

So, imagine my fear when I came to South India, and I had to eat with my fingers. For the first time in my life it was allowed… and even more, I was encouraged to do so! The journey of learning how to use my fingers was a long one. I had to understand how I could take enough food in my hand, how to make it stay in my hand from my plate to my mouth, and how to deposit it in my mouth without spilling it everywhere.

I have to admit, at the beginning, I was very slow at eating in this way. There was more food on my cheek or the table than in my mouth! People started to teach me how to use my fingers properly. So, it was not supposed to be done like that:

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Nor that:

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Nor even that:

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My first real lesson of finger-feeding was with my boyfriend on our first date. We ordered some rice and it was served without a fork, or even a spoon. I felt self-conscious of how I was eating. He understood and tried to teach me the proper way: we started with a little finger gymnastics to prepare them for the challenge. Then, the first step was to mix my rice with my curry, in order to grab it more easily. Then I had to use every finger to close the trap on my food, turn my hand, target the mouth and push it in with my thumb.

Here is how you are supposed to do it, brilliantly demonstrated by one of the girls at Baale Mane!

Now, I know how to eat properly – (kind of). My friends are still impressed when I’m not struggling to put food in my mouth. I also discovered that I liked eating with my fingers. Not only because it spares washing cutlery… But also, the taste and the food experience is stronger – so you can definitely feel the chili burning in your mouth. Our senses are much more alert in the finger food process: first you have to feel it with your hand, secondly you can smell it and finally you can taste it.

Contributed by Morgane F