(WYTV) – How did chopsticks become the utensil of Asia?
The Chinese have been using them since 1200 B.C.
Today, more than 20% of the world’s population relies on chopsticks for eating. China uses 45 billion disposable pairs per year.
They started out as cooking tools. You could safely dip them into pots of boiling water.
When China’s population began to grow, cooks were forced to conserve and that meant chopping food into tiny bites because you used less fuel to cook them. You conserved fuel, you conserved food.
The great philosopher and vegetarian Confucius never liked knives at the table. Chopsticks were perfect for tiny bites, no cutting needed.
Chinese chopsticks are long and thick. Japanese chopsticks are short and sharp to make it easier to pick up sushi and fish.
The upper class in China and Japan used ivory, jade, coral and silver chopsticks.
South Korean chopsticks are flat and typically made of metal because South Koreans love barbecue. The metal chopsticks won’t burn when diners are grilling their meat at the table.
In China, you have the old legend that if you hold chopsticks toward the bottom, closer to your food, you will marry someone nearby. If you hold them at the top, far away from the food, you will marry someone far away.
Never point chopsticks at fellow diners — even if they’re resting on top of your bowl — and never stick your chopsticks into your food and let them rest there. You should always place them on top of the bowl or plate.