How to Pick Up Anything



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How to Pick Up Anything - Zora Medium

Learning to use chopsticks has brought me closer to my culture

My father handed me a folded slip of red paper. Printed inside were the instructions, saved from a recent restaurant excursion, for using chopsticks: Tuck under thumb and hold firmly. Add second chopstick, hold it as you hold a pencil. Hold first chopstick in original position, move the second one up and down. Now you can pick up anything.

He wanted me to learn the proper method, in which the eater only moves the top chopstick. Mine crossed in the back, both chopsticks moving at the same time, like a pair of scissors.

My husband smirked. Even though he’s not Chinese, he had the right approach, because he’s the sort who follows every step of the recipe while I’m always improvising before I get to the end of the instructions. “The food gets to my mouth. That’s what matters,” I said. With chopsticks, I ate enthusiastically and doggedly, but not always with finesse — which also describes how I’ve made my way in life.