I have been living in Asia too long.
The Thai restaurant didn’t give me a spoon today, so I had to eat my fried rice with a fork. It felt really weird. I always eat it with a spoon…now. When I first arrived here, that felt really weird. Where I come from, unless you’re having soup, spoons are only for infants and invalids. But I have seen the error of my ways.
A few years ago, we had some American college girls staying with us. One of them, daughter of Afghan immigrants, was delighted when she saw me eating curry and rice with a spoon. She said they always did that at home but her American friends thought it was weird.
We took those same girls to a Japanese restaurant and they all looked perplexed when the miso soup came—no spoons in sight. I told them to pick out the pieces with chopsticks and sip the soup directly from the bowl. They all gave me the you’re-making-fun-of-me snotty teenager look—you know the one I mean—so I just shrugged and told them to look around the restaurant. Everyone was doing it.
Here’s another funny thing. When you have a Japanese meal, rice is called “gohan”, comes in a bowl and is eaten with chopsticks. If you have a Western meal, rice is called “raisu”, comes on a plate and is eaten with a fork. Neither is EVER eaten with a spoon.
Hey, don’t blame me. I don’t make the rules. I actually experienced a sense of liberation when I accepted the spoon, and now have a much greater respect for the almighty spoon.