Finger foods from Jan Bilton
The world is divided into three methods of eating — fingers, forks and chopsticks. Fingers obviously came first so when and how were forks and chopsticks introduced?
Finger eaters are still in the majority with most of Africa, the Middle East and India still using small pieces of flat bread to mop up their food.
Forks were originally used as a kitchen implement but more refined forks became popular when it was realised that they were ideal for eating hot food. Even so, many a head of state including England’s Queen Elizabeth 1 and France’s Louis XIV still ate with their fingers. In 1897 British navy sailors were forbidden to use knives and forks because they were considered unmanly.
The Chinese, of course, realised the benefits of their version of forks well before Western countries — finely diced food is impossibly sloppy to eat with your fingers and chopsticks were the answer. And there doesn’t appear to be any history of Chinese flat breads.
Now that forks are common, table etiquette can be confusing. Spare a thought for author Oscar Wilde who, when confronted with a table elaborately laid with numerous eating utensils, said “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”
Here are some midwinter celebratory delights to eat with your fingers or forks.
Bake ahead and reheat in the microwave, if required. Great served hot or at room temperature. Get the recipe
Serve in small glasses, demitasse coffee cups or tiny noodle boxes. Get the recipe
Quick to make. I used Mother Native Bush Honey, melted. Get the recipe