an influence on chopstick development with his nonviolent teachings while he lived over 200 years earlier. So instruments such as knives, with the connection people make with them for war and violence, were not used at the dinner table.. In modern times, chopsticks are used in most parts of Asia, including Japan, Malasia, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as China, making them the one of the world's most popular method of eating. Chopstick use historically follows the staple foods eaten in the region. Some people believe Confucius favored chopsticks compared to knives, which would remind people of slaughterhouses or violence as mentioned above.. Tools with a similarity to chopsticks were discovered in Megiddo, Israel at an archeological site. The discovery shows the influence of trade between the Middle East and the Asia in early recorded history.
Chopsticks are not used universally in Asia. In Thailand, Mongolia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and parts central Asia residents have also traditionally eaten with their hands or other eating utensils.
Chopsticks use and design has evolved through the course of History.
Chopstick design is quite basic; two small, hand sized rods varying from 7 to 11 inches in length. Each rod is tapered so that one end comes to a point, some more blunt than others depending on the culture. Food is picked up with the small end of the two chopsticks which are pinched together around a bite sized piece of food. It actually takes a bit of practice before westerners can get the hang of using chopsticks. As mentioned, Asian food is often bite sized (prepared this way deliberately knowing that it will be eaten with chopsticks). As an example, Asians often eat "sticky rice" which clumps together conveniently when picked up with a chopstick set, as opposed to long grain or non sticky rice eaten in the west, which is better eaten with a fork.
There are four main styles of chopstick in the USA:
Chinese have the longer, wood sets that come to a rounded or blunt end.
Japanese use short, wooden chopsticks that come to a shaper pointy end.
Koreans use shorter, metallic, wood or plastic chopsticks that are often blunt at the end.
Vietnamese have longer sticks that also come to a blunted end as in China; often wooden, but can be made of plastic as well.
Chopsticks can be made of plastic, wood, porcelain, animal bone, ivory, metal, coral, agate, and jade. They are used for eating but also as decorative objects and gifts. Especially in Japan, they are made of lacquered wood and are sometimes elaborately painted and personalized for their owners.
In times long ago, the upper class liked to use silver chopsticks since they thought that if they contacted poison the chopsticks would change color.
Chopsticks are often mini art in themselves, being covered with various designs and paintings. In Japan especially, chopsticks are covered with laquer and often then have additional designs, writing and art applied. In China, an elaborate pair of chopsticks might be made of silver or gold and printed with Chinese calligraphy using one of the 2 metals. It is also possible to mix different hardwoods together and create unique and pleasing designs. In modern times, the laser engraved, personalized wedding favor chopstick has become quite fashionable for parties, anniversaries and weddings.
Chopstick Use in Asia
In a majority of Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and China meals are normally eaten with chopsticks.
Chopsticks are perfect favors for engraving in Chinese or English.
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It is believed that chopsticks were developed about 3000 to 5000 years ago in China although the exact date is uncertain. People probably cooked their food in large pots, using twigs to remove it. Overtime, as population grew, people began chopping food into small pieces so it would cook more quickly. Small morsels of food could be eaten without knifes and so the twigs gradually turned into chopsticks. It took approximately 7000 years before the advent of the laser engraved, personalized wedding favor chopstick, finally available to mankind here. Some people assert that the Chinese philosopher Confucius who lived as a vegetarian from roughly 551 to 479 BC had