You’re a forward thinking, urbanite, 21st century hero. Of course you are, you’re reading Techly. You’ve got fairly well informed opinions about jazz and you know what fennel tastes like, right?
So you know as well as we do that nothing’s going to trip you up in quite the same way as being unexpectedly called on to use chopsticks.
From thoroughly modern sophisticate to soup-flecked, frustrated adult-sized toddler in the time it takes for one of your friends to say “Hey! Let’s check out that new Chinese place.”
And don’t go around thinking you can just avoid Oriental cuisine forever either, because ausfoodnews tells us that Australians have voted Chinese as their favourite for the last four years in a row.
Oh, what’s that, Business Insider Singapore have just reported on a fork/chopstick hybrid being called a ‘chork’ you say?
The ‘chork‘, designed by restaurant chain Panda Express, is due to be released on November 10, to coincide both with the birthday of Chinese military General Tso and the release of their new dish, General Tso’s Chicken.
Essentially what’s we’re looking at here is two chopsticks that have been glued both to each other and to a fork in a wonderfully efficient design that looks a bit like a weapon from Mortal Kombat and sounds a bit like something a bored teenager might invent in the school holidays.
While it’s impossible to pinpoint precisely how long chopsticks have been making Westerners feel silly, their traditional use in China and the wider continent of Asia is a little easier to track down.
According to this rundown, the use of chopsticks dates back to at least 1200 BC, and early bronze versions were found in the Yin ruins uncovered in 1920s, described as the “cradle of Chinese archaeology”.
Interestingly, they were initially devised as cooking utensils, and weren’t used for the important business of chowing down until much later:
It wasn’t until AD 400 that people began eating with the utensils. This happened when a population boom across China sapped resources and forced cooks to develop cost-saving habits. They began chopping food into smaller pieces that required less cooking fuel—and happened to be perfect for the tweezers-like grip of chopsticks.
It has also been suggested that Confuscious, famous cultural philosopher and vegetarian, asserted that keeping knives on the table reminds eaters of the slaughterhouse, so there’s that.
So it would seem that it takes about 1600 years for a cultural shift in the way that chopsticks are used, meaning we’re due another one around about now.
Still no news on how to tackle soup, though.