OPINION: No appetite for fiddly chopsticks

COMMENT BY ANN RICKARD: IS IT just me or do you have trouble with chopsticks?

It's highly likely that's a question never put to you before - and I'm only putting it to you rhetorically, I don't expect an answer - but it's an interesting one to ponder in the scheme of things.

I've visited Asia dozens of times over the years and have eaten hundreds of meals in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia (delicious they were too). I have also ploughed my way through a tonne of sweet and sour pork and lemon chicken in Chinese restaurants here in Australia - yet I have never mastered the wretched chopstick.

You might consider this a topic wholly unworthy of discussion but when you are the only person at a table of 20 people who must ask (with sheepish look on face) for a fork because you can't pick up a spring roll with two bits of thin wood, then it is a scenario worth examination.

It's not that I haven't tried.

Every time I'm presented with chopsticks I pick them up (reluctantly, I think they feel my hatred) and have a good go with them.

If I'm dining with annoying chopstick aficionados I fake it for a while, poke the rotten sticks around the plate pretending it's a breeze to pick up a slippery, satay-coated noodle with something that resembles a knitting needle, but it can't be faked for long.

The only choice is to fess up and call for a fork or pretend I'm not hungry and couldn't possibly eat another bite of those delicious seafood dumplings I am actually gagging for.

I've gone on to YouTube and watched presentations on "how to learn to use chopsticks in one minute".

A minute? I've been trying for a lifetime.

My patient husband - himself a whiz with chopsticks - has tried to teach me in the secrecy of our kitchen.

"Get your two bottom fingers to hold the bottom chop stick firm and control the movement with the top stick by using your index finger," he's said many times as we drool impatiently down at a bowl of fried rice.

Two minutes later, the air is thick with sticky grains of rice and blue with curse words and we're reaching for the phone to call a divorce lawyer.

I do know my table etiquette. I'm a dab hand with knowing a fish knife from a butter knife and no one can beat me in holding a fork the correct way ... but the chopstick? My enemy.


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