I believe that every meal is a complete experience that must be enjoyed with all five senses. The anticipation that the sense of touch creates before the food enters the mouth makes it all the worthwhile. The texture of the rice between the fingertips – the beautiful pearly roundness, the softness of the potato- the mushiness of it all, the flakiness of the fish, the snap of the papadam between your fingers – sublime. The dhal curry is liquid and smooth between your fingers, the cooked carrot hard yet yielding and in the end, beautifully pulpy. The cabbage is flowery and not so giving while the brinjal is appropriately soft yet with seeds to make it not too yielding. The coating of the gravy upon the fingers – oh so sensual, so complete. Silky smooth and invitingly moist. Oh how your mouth longs for these sensations next! It is like the sweet anticipation of your lover’s touch, the nearness and yet the distance, but all the time enjoying the knowing pleasure that satiation will be yours. The reward is somewhat greater if you wait.
And when the food is being mixed, the aromas tend to come out better, thereby igniting your sense of smell. And I do not have to deliberate on the effect of smell on the overall enjoyment of food. It’s like the smell of perfume on the nape of your lover’s neck that you strain to get a better whiff of yet not touch, not just yet. Appetizer. Aphrodisiac.
I just cannot understand how one can bear to eat with strange clinical objects on every day basis. It is hard for me to imagine the utter blandness of this almost sterile eating, dismissing something as beautiful and exotic as food with a nonchalant shrug and a clinical clang of utensils. Does one not enjoy the feel of food between one’s fingers? Does one not enjoy the feel of the coarse linen of a lover’s trousers, the smooth satin of a lover’s garments, the crisp cotton of a lover’s shirt collar, the flimsy lace of a lover’s lingerie between one’s fingertips? Does one not enjoy the warmth of the skin underneath?
I believe I have made my point abundantly :D
It is your own fingers, warm from the blood flow of your own veins, pumped by your own heart, with which you ball up the food and put it in your own mouth. Your fingers know the right quantity that fits in to your mouth, your fingers know the right textures that your mouth will love. Simply, you know what is best for you, not some alien utensil that you plucked out of a drawer and ran under the tap.
Also, I must concede that there are certain food that cannot be had by hand, like porridge, soup, salad and other such things. But we live in a country where I’ve seen people eating pizza with fork and knife. Really, I don’t think even the British do that.
Bottom line, everything just tastes better when had with hand. There’s this sense of intense intimacy, of greater affinity to food. By eating with hand, one agrees to spend more time with one’s food, thereby understanding it better.
Do not appreciate, respect and admire the full beauty of your lover? Then you don’t deserve him or her. Afraid to get your fingers dirty? Then you don’t deserve your food.