It’s Foodie Tuesday
Image via A La Mode
Chopsticks really are an icon of Asian culture. It’s easy to see why when we stare down at our own place setting. Two tapered sticks to replace both fork and knife. Chopsticks seem to embody grace and exoticism for many in this neck of the woods.
It’s believed that chopsticks made their appearance about 5000 years ago in China, born out of necessity in the woods, two slim twigs were broken from a tree and used to remove food from a pot cooking over an open fire. But it was when a very popular vegetarian named Confucius proclaimed that knives had no place at the dinner table, linking their use with aggression, 500 years ago that their use and place in Asian society was permanently elevated.
Image via Etsy.
In the days of yore chopsticks were often a marker of wealth, some fashioned out of precious metals including gold and silver or emblazoned with beautiful calligraphy or carvings. Emperors in China even used their silver chopsticks to test foods for poison, believing that the silver colour would tarnish in the presence of toxins.
Antique Chopstick Holders from Greentea Design.
Shape and decoration evolved by country and today there are lots of conventions, from culture to culture, that dictate good manners and proper etiquette around the table. And that evolution continues today with all sorts of modern design and expanded functionality.
Images via Toxel
Image via Anthropologie
And it’s not just modern designs that have emerged. Fascination with chopsticks have led designers to use chopsticks as a building material. Here are some transformations of this ubiquitous eating utensil:
Over at Ready Made, Tina Baine posted this beautiful fruit bowl she fashioned out of chopsticks. It’s striking and sculptural. It’s also collapsable when not in use, for quick and easy storage. Directions to make your own can be found here.
Image via Curbly
And finally the piece de resistance: the expanding contracting chopstick sofa-chair, called SOFA_XXXX by Yuya Ushida, made from 8000 chopsticks. Visit Freshome for a video of this sofa’s transformation.
If you’re among the many here who haven’t quite mastered the use of chopsticks, perhaps one of these projects is for you. Put those takeout chopsticks taking up all that room in your drawer to good use!