Why put a cold, hard fork between me and my dinner, when the visceral experience of eating, the intimacy between me and my green beans is so enhanced by pinching the bean between thumb and forefinger and depositing it into my mouth?

Yes, I’ve had boyfriends who find this offputting and I understand that it looks out of the ordinary when I pick up a piece of lettuce between my fingers and lay it on my tongue.

I guess on a first date I should try to use a fork.

Using a fork instead of my hands feels so removed, like hearing about sex second-hand rather than having it myself, though I realize that’s an overstatement since, unlike with hearsay sex, I do get to finally make contact with the food when using a fork.

As for soup, I have neither the patience nor dexterity to balance a microliter of liquid in the bowl of a spoon and get it to my mouth without any drips. I prefer to drink soup out of a mug; in restaurants I order something like finger-friendly shrimp cocktail instead.

After a recent foursome dinner, I emailed one of my co-diners to acknowledge my fork was clean at the end of the meal.

She wrote back:

This used to be an issue for me.  I love and do the same thing. There were men (dates) who were really turned off (we’re talking 70s, 60s, not sure still true) when I ate with my hands. I always did and always will.  I am totally with you on this.   And everyone else either does it – or (more likely) is WRONG.  I am not tolerant of intolerance on this issue.

Jewish girl thing?

In a follow-up email she wrote:

we’re sensual women and free spirits  . . and everyone else is uptight.

Y’know, then I got thinking, wondering how I’d react if I were out with someone who picked up a lamb chop with his hands (which I don’t do until it gets to the bone) and getting all greasy in the face. Ick, that would be bad. I think if someone were picking delicately at a salad it wouldn’t bother me.

Come to think of it, whereas it’s commonplace to eat watermelon without utensils, I like to cut watermelon. As with lamb chops it’s less messy with a fork and knife.

A good middle ground for me is chopsticks; I like picking at my peanuts with wooden sticks.

I’d love to know your take on the finger-food universe. How can I enjoy eating without utensils without being offputting?

Do you ever eat with your hands either when you are out or home alone? What other eating habits are you willing to share (drinking milk out of the carton? licking your ice cream bowl? Etc.?)?


See my Easy Chicken Dinner With Green Beans Amandine and Corn.

TECH APOLOGIES: Two odd things occurred this week. I accidentally hit publish for this instead of draft a few days ago, before it was finished. I unpublished it right away, but the link went to subscribers, but it led to an error page.

Also to my subscribers, an old post (A Week in the Life of Me and My Imagined Live-Along) may have shown up today in your RSS feed or email, and I have no idea why. Sorry :(

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