Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chilling Chopsticks

Consecotaleophobia - Fear of Chopsticks.

Although phobias can be of anything, it's still surprising this is common enough to have an official name.  Generally Chinese and Vietnamese chopsticks are notably longer than Japanese and Korean chopsticks so may have a more frightening appearance.  On the other hand Japanese and Korean chopsticks taper to a much sharper point than the blunt ended Chinese and Vietnamese versions, so maybe this is scarier.
But to be fair to people with Consecotaleophobia, chopstick etiquette isn't a simple affair.  Some do's and don'ts:
  • Holding chopsticks incorrectly reflects badly on a child's parents.
  • Food should not be transferred between chopsticks. Food in need of transportation should be placed onto the recipient's plate or on a new plate for collection.
  • Using the reverse end of the chopsticks is acceptable if communal serving utensils are not provided, but it is bad form to eat with them in this fashion.
  • Don't tap chopsticks on the edge of one's bowl as beggars make this sort of noise to attract attention.
  • It is impolite to spear food with a chopstick. Anything too difficult to be handled with chopsticks should be eaten with a spoon.
  • One should not 'dig' or 'search' through one's food for something in particular. This is sometimes known as "digging one's grave" or "grave-digging".
  • Chopsticks should not be bitten on, or held in the mouth for any length of time.
  • Holding both a spoon and chopsticks simultaneously is frowned upon.
  • Resting chopsticks at the top of the bowl means "I've finished". Resting chopsticks on the side of one's bowl or on a chopstick stand signifies one is merely taking a break from eating.
  • Chopsticks should not be placed in a "V" shape when done eating, it is often interpreted as a bad omen
  • Chopsticks should not be crossed on a table, as this symbolizes death.
  • It is considered impolite to point rested chopsticks towards others seated at the table.
  • Chopsticks should not be left vertically stuck into a bowl of rice because it resembles the ritual of incense-burning that symbolizes "feeding" the dead and death in general.

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