Thursday, July 23, 2009

Having lived for a few years in "Land of the Chopsticks", I've found out they are very useful little tools. It is pretty impressive watching the Chinese eat spaghetti or hamburgers with them. We used to have challenges to see who could pick up the most peanuts in one pinch. But besides eating, these little sticks can have other interesting uses:

1. Stirring - Two chopsticks make a great whisk (and much easier to clean). Whether it is scrambling eggs, mixing wet ingredients or stir-frying, they can get the job done. A single chopstick works well for stirring hot drinks.

2. Flipping - For most of us, tongs would be the easiest way to turn meat in the frying pan or vegetables on the grill, but those adept at using chopsticks will probably get the job done quicker.

3. Retrieving - After dropping vegetables down inside the fore-mentioned grill, chopsticks are a great way to solve the problem by picking up things just out of reach or in hot places.

4. Serving - There are as many serving uses for chopsticks as there are meals to eat (almost), but one particularly helpful tip I learned in China is to use chopsticks to serve the shredded lettuce in taco meals. (But if you are just at home with your family and not squeamish, then go with the fingers... They're even easier.)

5. Styling - A nice pair of chopsticks look very pretty holding up long hair.

6. Disciplining - A single chopstick makes a good "rod of correction" - especially in the very early stages when you're mostly dealing with little swats to the hand or bottom. I had a friend who kept one in her back pocket all day as she trained a particularly willful child.

So, if it is not a part of your kitchen yet, go buy yourself a pair of chopsticks and get creative with using them.

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