in many countries, people love to eat food with hands. it could be rice or bread or indian rotis. i am brought up in north india where we used to have rotis/chappatis everyday but rice once in a fortnight and we used to eat rice with spoon.
when i moved to south india. i saw many of my friends eating rice with hands. on their insistence, i also tried eating rice with dal or sambar with hands. initially i didn’t enjoyed this. but after some time when my conditioning of eating rice with spoon was broken, i started enjoying eating rice with hands. i found it a more loving way of eating food.
but nowadays many people are following the western way of eating food with spoon and fork. this looks more hygienic and modern but something very vital is missing in this practice. that vital element is the energy factor, love and connection with the food. lets explore it in detail.
there are scientific reasons for eating food with hands:
1. five fingers in our hand represent five different elements – earth, fire, water, sky and ether. so when we join our fingers to eat food then the energy of these five elements is getting infused in our food. remember that from the sharp points of our body energy is released and from round areas the energy is received. this is the science behind taking blessings from elders or sages. normally they bless by touching your head (round area can receive energy) with their hand (fingers are pointed and releases energy)
2. when you eat food with hands, then you can mix the food very well. while mixing the food, you can feel the warmth of the food as well as its texture. which in turn makes your more hungry.
3. its not only energy but love is also added to the food when we eat food with hand. remember, how a mother loves to feed her baby with her hands. it is a more direct, intimate and personal way of eating food. food is also considered as god in india. food nourishes us and give us energy to live. so its better to have direct contact with food than to use forks and knives to cut it. i personally, find ‘cutting’ the food very unaesthetic.
4. eating food should be a joyful experience and not any mundane task which you have to do compulsory. so many people miss breakfast because they are getting late for office or school. give due importance to food. respect it and love it. see a small child how they relish eating their ffavoritefood.
5. when you eat food with spoon or fork then it is a very distant affair. there is no personal touch. it shows uprootedness from the food which nourishes you. modern lifestyle is disconnecting us from reality. many people are missing sunlight, gazing stars in the night time, fresh air, fresh water and pesticides free food. you should have one to one affair with food. eat the food with your hand and enjoy it to the fullest.
6. in india they say, ‘food is god‘. because it gives you life and moreover in every particle there is presence of god and life. so one should have reverence for life and godliness present in every particle of food. its a good habit to thank the almighty with a prayer for giving your meal. thank the mother earth which is nourishing all of us. respect the food and please don’t waste it. if their is any extra food left then give it to stray cows or dogs or to the need people.
few important indian practice about food:
1. right hand is used for eating food and doing any other auspicious work. whereas left hand is meant for body cleaning task or any other inauspicious work. many traditional people will not even take money from you, if given from left hand and they will insist that give the money from right hand. so food is always eaten with right hand.
2. in traditional indian lifestyle, food is eaten sitting on the earth rather than sitting on chairs or in standing position. best is to sit cross legged and taking your own time to eat food. don’t watch TV while eating food. chew the food well and have your total attention on food. enjoy it, feel its texture, taste and warmth while eating.
3. traditionally, food is also cooked with lot of love, devotion and cleanliness. when food is made for gods or deities then it is never tasted as the food is going to be offered to god. so all the cooking is done with aandaz (approximation). many good cook don’t use spoons to measure the ingredients. they just put the ingredient in their palm and feel about the required quantity needed. so food is cooked from heart. its a science and art in itself.