30 September: Malaysian Culture: Eating With Your Hands! | Putra International Centre (i-PUTRA)
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30 September: Malaysian Culture: Eating with your hands!

In many cultures, especially in Asia, most food is eaten by hand. While country like Japan and Korea alike uses special utensils like chopstick and spoon, in many countries like India, Africa and the Middle East, their bare hand is the only thing they needed.

To pick up the food, mainly rice, thumb and fingertips is used to push a small amount of the rice to one side of the plate and shape it into a lump.  The fingertips are then shaped into a rough scoop shape and once again the thumb is used to push the lump onto the fingers scoop.  To put the food into the mouth, raise the scoop to the lips and use the back of the thumb to push the lump off of the fingers and into the mouth.  It’s okay to let the lips touch your fingers but don’t shove your hand into it as if you are eating your hand as well.

 Some tips that you can practice when eating with hand is to always have to be to wash your hands thoroughly. Lack of sanitary would probably causes stomach-ache, food poisoning and even the spreading of cholera. Put your drink within the reach of your left hand.  Use your left hand to drink from your cup as your right hand will be busy with the food and anything on the plate. Only use right hand when eating, using your left hand is considered unsanitary, inappropriate and in some culture, rude.

There are many known advantages to eating with hand. According to the Vedas, hands are the most precious organs of action. The scriptures reveal how every finger is an extension of the five elements. Eating with one’s fingers stimulates these five elements and helps in bringing forth digestive juices in the stomach. The nerve endings on our fingertips are known to stimulate digestion. Feeling your food becomes a way of signalling the stomach that you are about to eat. You become more conscious of the taste, textures and aromas.

An article in The Tribune talks about how we have bacteria, known as normal flora found on the palm and fingers of the hand. It is not harmful to humans, it, in fact, protects us from many damaging microbes in the environment. When you eat with your hands, the flora in the fingers is swallowed. It is beneficial for health and for various body parts such as the mouth, throat, and intestine, and it promotes healthy digestion in the gut. Handling food with your fingers releases digestive juices and enzymes. Also, millions of nerve endings in your fingers relay the message that you’re about to eat, including the temperature of the food, level of spiciness and texture of food, thereby prepping the stomach for digestion.

Date of Input: 08/10/2018 | Updated: 08/10/2018 | azlida_jamil

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