A weekly food series that takes an irreverent but informative look at crimes against food. This week Ganesh Raj discusses the most controversial way to eat rice...
Bringing food to one's mouth is one of the most basic fundamental actions of human existence.
And I get that different cultures have different ways to get said morsel into one's gob. In fact I have no problem with almost every other way except for one.
And that is... why the hell do people eat rice with a fork?!
Is it because they want to lose weight and they enjoy the surety that the rice is going to fall through the slots and therefore no carbs will enter their body? Or is it because they think, like my mum, that people with class eat with a fork.
Spoons are for scooping. Forks are for picking. You don't pick rice you scoop it. The fork is useless for trying to eat anything that can't be stabbed, such as soupy stewed things and dry rice which most of Asia eats.
Plus chasing peas around a plate with a fork is so frustrating that it might make you want to stab yourself with the fork instead.
So where did this lunacy of eating rice with a fork come from? History tells us that rice originated in Asia. The Himalayas to be precise. And the fork came into its own in 14th century Europe. So we are looking for a colonial consolidation of the two cultures.
The theory is that fork on rice behaviour is probably a remnant of British classism.
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India and Indonesia use their hands and the fork with the spoon. So that leaves a handful of nations, none of whom I would dare to publicly implicate in this tableware conspiracy.
But if we followed this investigative trail, we are looking for an Asian colony, where rice was the staple and the need to maintain colonial synergy enticed locals to ditch their traditions and create this pariah eating technique.
This would be a nation where eating rice in any other way than its native method would have been privately considered heresy. Yet this nation was publicly willing to virally fuse the formalities of its colonial occupier into the very fibre of its culture.
Are these the classy people my mum was talking about? I don't know and I would never ask her because she would look at me like I had lost my senses.
But I do know this. The sensible thing is to eat rice with a spoon, your hands or chopsticks. (Gasp)
There. I said it.