Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Finger Lickin' Good

Photo by Audrey Farber.

We have all been reprimanded by our mothers on countless occasions to not eat with our fingers. Whether they believed it was dirty or rude, they always came up with some argument. “But why,” we would say in response, “did God give us fingers if he didn’t want us to eat with them?”

Well, hand eaters rejoice – there ARE places in the world where not only is it acceptable but encouraged. I spent the last semester in Jordan where I got used to eating with my fingers, and not just finger food. Whether it was dipping bread into olive oil or hummus, pulling chicken or lamb meat off the bone, or rolling rice balls while eating the traditional dish mansaf (rice and lamb served with a yogurt sauce that is used as the glue to create the rice ball, which incorporates all the components of the dish).

I don’t know what it is but there’s something about pulling a steaming hot chicken breast apart with your fingers that makes eating so much more satisfying. Maybe it’s because you’re closer to the food by actually putting the effort into making it edible, or because you like the taste of your fingers, or simply because it’s always fun to get your hands dirty…and make your mother angry.

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