In Chinese, chopsticks are called fai jee, which means "quick
little boys." The name may sound a little odd to you if you're someone
who typically uses a single chopstick to spear a few shrimp, the
quickly asked the waiter for a fork. But with a little practice,
you'll find that chopsticks are surprisingly easy to use, and they're
just right for plucking up the perfect mouthful of Chinese food.
Start by placing one chopstick through the crook formed by
your thumb and index finger; let the stick rest on the tip of your
ring finger. Now inset the second stuck above the first one, and
hold it the way you would hold a pencil. The idea is to hold the
first stick still while you move the second stick up and down, bringing
the tips of the two sticks together to pick up food.
Remember, practice makes perfect. If at first you don't succeed,
stick with it!
Chinese food is somehow more satisfying when you master the
art of eating with chopsticks -- maybe because they help you slow
down and really enjoy the food. Here's what not to do with them:
Pointing or playing with your chopsticks between mouthfuls is considered
rude in polite company. Setting them down in a crossed position
is said to bring bad luck. And sticking your sticks straight down
into your rice bowl evokes ancient funeral rites - a downer at dinner!.