Eating with your hands is the norm in many countries in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and America. While in the West the cutlery has taken the place of the hands, in other cultures like that of India it has remained alive there. ancient practice of Greeks and Egyptians to taste food with hands.
Eating with your hands enhances the flavors of food and aids digestion
“Don’t eat with your hands” is the precept we grew up with in the West. Generally considered a synonym for rudeness, only in some cases is it socially acceptable to consume food with your hands. For example, no one would eat a hamburger or chicken wings with a fork and a knife. So why do we sulk if someone does the same thing with rice, for example? If you find it strange that some cultures choose to eat with their hands, you might be asked the opposite question: why choose to use cutlery?
Touch and taste make food tastier
Eating with your hands makes food tastier. Indeed, taste is only one of the five senses activated in the act of eating. Eating food with our hands allows us to using the sense of touch to directly capture the consistency and temperature of food, which only enhances flavors.
According to the results of a study conducted by researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Tork, consuming food with the hands increases sensory perceptions, and in this way the taste appears more pleasant and satisfying. In addition, the perception of the secondary qualities of food translates into signals sent to the brain which prepare our stomach for digestion. Thus, eating with hands is a healthy and good practice for our body.
How do you eat with your hands?
In India, especially in the South, it is usually eaten with the hands using a very specific technique. Usually we only eat with the right hand, because the left is naturally considered “dirty”. On the left, in fact, the cleansing of the body is reserved.
The technique involves placing the hand in a hollow to collect the food and using the thumb to push it into the mouth. The fingers should not be placed in the mouth, but simply used as a tool. You may fall into the belief that eating with your hands is unhygienic, but the truth is that it would cause us to wash them more often..
Our parents were therefore mistaken in inviting us to use the cutlery as children? A study from the University of Nottingham could give value to this hypothesis. The researchers claim that Accustoming children to eating with their hands from an early age would affect food preferences in adulthood. Replacing homogenized classics with pieces of food would indeed increase food awareness in children.
After all, food is above all an experience, conviviality, emotions. Eating with your hands only makes the dining experience even more unique.
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