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Eating with Hands – Why Do Some Cultures practice eating with hands?

The cultural practice of eating with our hands is not as widespread in the Western World as it was in the past, which is why many people find the idea of using only their fingers to eat novel or even disgusting. But other cultures around the world have been using their hands – usually just a single hand – to eat since time immemorial. In fact, using only the hands to eat is second nature to those who are accustomed to it. Many cultures in Eastern and Southern Africa and parts of Asia regularly use their hands for eating. But it is a common practice throughout South America as well. In some places, one might even be frowned upon for eating with a fork!

Why do some cultures eat with their hands?

There are many reasons why some cultures eat with their hands instead of utensils. One reason is to avoid getting germs from the hands of other family members, who may have handled food that is being eaten by the person eating. Another reason is to protect oneself from other things like bacteria and dirt. When people eat with their hands, they can control the amount of food that is being eaten, and not to over-eat. People may also use their hands as a tool to touch objects around them such as other people, pets and more. It is very easy to use the hands when eating. Many African nations in Africa require you to use your hands with your meal, especially if you are eating a stew or something that is soup-like. It is common for them to use their right hand to eat because that hand is often cleaner and it can be used without worrying about germs. They also tend not to use forks and spoons because they are not as useful as their own hands can be. Many African cultures make food that is very easy to pick up and eat with their hands. As mentioned earlier, many people use the right hand when eating because their right hand is often cleaner than their left hand. This is especially true in the case of African nations. In western nations it is not as common for people to use one hand over another because the idea of germs has become prominent in society.

The benefits of eating with your hands

There are many benefits to eating with your hands. First, it is more natural and can make you feel closer to the food. Second, it can be less messy than using utensils like cutlery. Third, the process of using your hands forces you to slow down and savor the flavors. Finally, eating without utensils may help reduce overeating. When eating with your hands, try to use the following guidelines: Take a small amount of food with the first hand. If a piece of food is too large, break it into smaller pieces. If the food can be torn or cut, do so as this will allow you to eat more delicately and with greater enjoyment. Remove any bones or pits if they are present. Use the first hand to scoop up each piece of food and lift it to your mouth. Try to place the food directly into your mouth and avoid dropping or scattering food on your plate. Use a fingernail or a spoon as an aid in picking up small pieces of food. To drink, put the cup to your lips, tilt it slightly and sip.The fourth step is to savor the taste of your meal, especially if it is prepared in an unusual way or has an unusual flavor. In most Western cultures, we tend to eat rapidly and this often means missing out on the full experience of eating. To savor the taste, eat slowly and deliberately, enjoying the different sensations that each mouthful brings. Take small bites and chew well; let your taste buds absorb the different sensations for a moment before swallowing. Finally, be aware of how you feel as you swallow your food, especially if you are eating something new or unfamiliar.


Although eating with your hands may not be the most sanitary practice, it is a sign of hospitality in many cultures. When traveling to a country where this practice is accepted and expected, travelers should try their best to fit in and eat as the locals do. However, when traveling in a more developed country, such as the United States, it is important to use cutlery and not your hands during mealtime.

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