I still remember the first time i used chopsticks. Oh boy, what a disaster it was. Well, I’ve come a long way since then but the surprising thing is, and it is surprising considering that i own a website called I’m A Useless Info Junkie, that i’ve never really wondered why do Asian people use chopsticks.
Up until now that is. Because today, we are looking at just that. Why do Asian nations won’t present you with a fork and knife but rather with a nice, lovely set of chopsticks?
Well, the answer is quite interesting. (the article continues after the ad)
According to the Rietz Collection of Food Technology, the invention of chopsticks dates back to 2,000 BC but at that time, they were mainly used to retrieve food from cooking pots. However, around 400 BC, people started using as eating utensils mainly because of two reasons:
- During that time, resources became scarce and therefore, chefs started cutting food into small pieces in order for the food to cook more quickly and thus conserve fuel. This new method of cooking made knives obsolete so people started using chopsticks to eat their food
- In addition, this “no-knife” way of eating was also in line with the peaceful and non-violent teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucius who preached against the use of knives on the table. As expressed in one of his quotable quotations: “The honorable and upright man keeps well away from both the slaughterhouse and the kitchen. And he allows no knives on his table.”
As a result, the Chinese custom of dicing up food into small pieces and then using chopsticks to eat it became an established tradition. By 500 AD, the use of chopsticks was spread to Japan, Korea and Vietnam – contrary to a common Western misconception, Thais do not use chopsticks.
And now you know!