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Makbeth

Why can't I get chopsticks in a Italian restaurant?

The first time I asked for chop sticks in a non-asian restaurant, I was struggling with a fork and a salad and just blurted it out, "Can I have some chop sticks please?" Everyone laughed except my girlfriend who new I used them at home. Am I the only American who thinks that chopsticks should be more universal? I guess most Asians don't want to "rock the boat", but I am a 6'4" American of german ancestry who wants chopsticks at a restaurant without having to carry them around like a prissy girl.
Des:

I agree. I actually lived in Manhattan's Chinatown for a while, where I learned Chinese and made a lot of Chinese friends. Chopsticks are just better for a lot of things, like noodles and most bite-sized food. Also, those cool Chinese soup spoons are much more convenient and easier to use than European spoons.

Makbeth:

Thanks halfabee (must ipso facto half not be), at least that makes two of us.

ZenDisaster:

Why would you expect an Italian Restaurant to have chop sticks? You are expecting too much. If you regularly eat with chop sticks, bring your own. I don't think you will have much luck yelling for chop sticks in most restaurants.

Makbeth:

I don't expect it. I don't carry a purse. I didn't yell.

You are clearly not one of the ones "who thinks that chopsticks should be more universal?"

Thank you for your response.

Bigtblonde:

i dont think a 6'4 man would be thought of as a prissy girl. NIN

Johbee:

WOW! Go figure!!! Guess maybe next time you'll have to take your own. They sure don't know class at that place do they!!!!!!!!!! :)

Makbeth:

I do have 'em in my car. Sometimes I'll bring them along. It feels funny to have to bring your eating utensils with you like granny bringin' a straw and a blender. Other times I just don't have them handy.

Joejoeb36:

Well, I'd say it has something to do with culture. You can't get a pulled pork sandwich in Saudi Arabia either

Makbeth:

Some tools are used fo handling food. I hope Americans aren't so culturally frozen that we can't benefit from the convenience of a tool just because it seems rooted in someone elses culture.
I don't eat pork, by the way, it violates my personal religion. I hope I didn't offend anyone whose religion is violated by chopsticks.

Joejoeb36:

no offense taken

BILLYKID:

Hey, joe, heard you shot yer old lady down,,,, Good joke, by the way, and it missed its mark, I'd say!!!!Heh heh heh heh. Maybe somebody needs to practice with AMERICAN TOOLS?

Makbeth:

But think get YOUR point billythekid? If it aint Chinese, why would someone use chopsticks? Its kinda like beer. If it aint a taco your eating, why would you drink Dos Equis.
Nobody really likes to use chopsticks, anymore than anyone likes Dos Equis, right. We've got nothing to learn from anyone. The two billion asians that use chopsticks just never figured out how to stab a crouton with a salad fork.

BILLYKID:

Do Asians use toothpicks when feeding their babies?

BILLYKID:

I know what you're going through, Jockamo. I have to always take my SPORKS wherever I go to eat! Aint it a bit**?

Makbeth:

Born with a silver spork in your mouth probably - all American tool for apple pie consumption.

BILLYKID:

Nope, plastic spoon.

Pilotype:

That's funny. In Italy people bring their own knives with them to restaurants, usually a jackknife. If it is meat, they will cut the meat with a fork and knife, and then serve the portion into their mouth with the knife instead of the fork. They also eat spaghetti noodles with a spoon and fork, as I was taught and still eat that way today. My mother was from Italy and that's how my family was taught to eat. If you prefer to eat with with chopsticks, either bring your own, have your girlfriend carry them in her purse, ask the restaurant to provide them to you if you are a regular customer, or just call around to every Italian restaurant in America and ask them if they have chopsticks. I doubt it. So anyway, If you can't beat American culture, join them, eat with a fork like everyone else. America won't change for the way you prefer to eat.

Welcome to Mcdonalds How can I help you ?

Yes I'd like a big mac, a large fry, a medium coke, and a set of chopsticks.

Excuse me sir, what was that last thing you wanted ?

Chopsticks.

I'm sorry sir we don't have chopsticks.

Then you get mad and you want to leave, only to realize there are 3 cars ahead of you, and 5 behind with no way to exit.

Suddenly you remember that you had a spare set of chopsticks stashed away in your glove compartment in case of emergencies.

OK you said, forget the chopsticks, the rest will be fine.

So when you finally pay for and receive your food, you look in the bag to see if you got everything, you know how Mcdonalds is, always forgetting something, and you say, Hey, where's my fortune cookies ?

Pilotype:

Oh yeah, I eat with chopsticks once in a while for fun, but the fork is more practical in everyday eating, even in China.

Makbeth:

Well Hlinka, thanks for the info. Now I know. I am in China about twice a year - Japan, Korea fairly often. I guess they must be doing it for fun. On the other hand maybe you are wrong. By the way, did you know that IQ's in Korea are on average about 15 points higher that the US (that's aprox one whole standard deviation)?

Hilarious the reaction I am getting. Actually, I am ashamed of some of these people. ITS NOT ABOUT CULTURE. Forget the fortune cookies and the dragons and the firecrackers. If you use chopsticks often, I guarantee that you will realize their practicality for many dishes where a fork just isn't the right utensil. If you used a rock most of your life do drive nails, and then were introduced to a tool called a hammer, would you resist using it if it was something that Asians use? I guess it is because it is food related. People can't get away from what their mommy stuck in their hand when they were in the high-chair. Still babies - without a doubt.

Pilotype:

Good reply, but I'm not the one who asked the question. Yes, I believe that culture has its prevalence and you are a smart man. I have my opinion and you have yours. I do agree they are practical for some dishes that I personally cook so often, and that they are the right tool for the job. I also believe that eating different ethnic foods involves a little practically in the tools they are accustomed to eating with, and derived from their culture is OK also. I still don't believe that asking for chopsticks at an Italian restaurant is the right thing to do. You may someday go to a different ethnic establishment and offend their culture by eating, with or without chopsticks, with the wrong hand. When you go out to eat, enjoy it, what ever it takes. Food is fun, and food is a celebration, especially if you can afford to go out to eat with someone special and enjoy it.

I hope you can figure out the answer your looking for. I did the best I could to answer your unusual question. I did in no way try to make fun of you. I just expressed my honest opinion the way I wanted to answer the question.

Makbeth:

I am trying to get people to think.
I know that I sometimes offend the culture of others. I offend my own culture. Luckily, I have a little power and can weather the reaction. The truth is that it would be a lot easier just to accept ignorance and treat people like silly little monkeys who just don't know any better, "Look at the cute little people doing things their way". At times, I don't want to do that. I want to treat them like equals. I can't do that if I am constatly "forgiving" every stupid cultural mind-block they have. At times I open my mouth, sometimes it is by accident (the example I gave).
However. if I expect people to grow and exert some pressure on them to do so, matbe they will grow
People around me eventually adapt to my way of thinking.

Pilotype:

I agree to a point what you are trying to say. I am very open minded to anything, and not just culture. At least I try to learn about everything I see, read, hear or experience in life to my maximum potential. I, my friend have journeyed to distant and exotic lands like you, but I have to say I accept the ignorant people for who they are, and teach them, on their own terms without correcting them, or belittling them on their own behalf. I have met people that thought Boston and Chicago was a state, not knowing who Adolf Hitler was, and who our president is. When I meet these people, it's hard for me to accept it also. At the same time,there are some people who just don't want to learn, and there are others who were never taught in the right way. That's not your fault or mine. Lead by example, bring your own chopsticks into an Italian restaurant. "I don't think people would think your prissy" They would most likely be interested and watch you eat with them, and they themselves may ask for some. You may start a new fad. Have you ever watch the episode of "I Love Lucy" where Ricky and Fred had someone make Lucy and Ethel outfits out of potato sacks while they were in France? It ended up that a fashion designer stole the idea and all the top French models wear wearing them. Yes my friend. Lead by example,you may create the next trend for eating Italian food. People in Italy may start doing it seeing that the Americans eat that way. Go for it. I may do it. I would bring my own sticks, and I would twirl my pasta into a spoon tightly twirled into a bite size portion. I also may bring my own knife into Mcdonalds and cut up my big mac up trying to start my own fad, hoping I don't get arrested. Anyway my friend, good luck on your ventures. It's all good.

Makbeth:

I don't disagree with your last comment.

Sometimes we get taken out of our comfort zones. It's is not my style, in general, to belittle people. Challenge, maybe. Sometimes we do have to deal with belittlement (ask a question on this forum - get belittled). I don't take offense, myself. I get frustrated. Like I said I would like to treat people like equals sometimes, not ignore them like barking dogs.

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Pilotype:

Oh yes, You can get a real harsh bashing on this site. I myself would take it all with a grain of salt instead of the frustration. The interaction of questions and answers lets me learn about other people's thoughts. I like humor, so I may answer in a fashion that the questioner doesn't want to here. Oh well. I liked your question because I can answer or reply to it everyday. Oh yeah. I was thinking about a documentary I'd seen about a region that uses no eating utensils at all but there hands and fingers. Your hands are supposed to be the best eating utensils in the world of all cultures. I think that it would be funny if I went into a fancy restaurant and twirled my pasta around two fingers using my other hand doing the twirling and eat. I would tell them that is my custom. I'd open a few eyes I'm sure. I don't know, just 4 fun.

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