How I became a happy hand-eater
I grew up in a working class environment in the South of Holland where eating with your hands was not a shame. It was even stimulated! “Waste not, want not,” my grandmother used to say approvingly as she watched me wipe my plate clean. I had my own theory: There’s a reason food is called fingerlicking good! Everthing just tasted better when I ate with my hands.
And so I kept doing it. I left the small town I grew up in, went to art school and launched my own company. I started having business dinners in fancy restaurants, and even there I would eat with my hands. Yes, people stared, but the food was so gorgeous, and what better way to show your appreciation? That’s how I tried to explain it to my daughter Zilver who had developed a habit of watching me in dismay. “Show appreciation? All you’re showing is that you’re a barbarian!” she would reply while primly picking at a salad with her fork.
I knew that in India it was acceptable to use pieces of bread to gather food and sop up gravies and curries. I had watched people do with much skill in Indian restaurants. But when I finally visited India, I saw that some people eat everything with their hands; rice, meat, yes even curries! Especially in the South. I can’t tell you how liberating it was to be able to plunge my hand into the pile of rice and fish curry without being stared at.
The thing is, this type of hand-eating was from barbarian. Food wasn’t merely grabbed, but delicately touched and shaped into perfect bite-sized balls. A friend explained that it all goes back to Indian mothers lovingly feeding their babies by hand. And there are definitely some rules! You should only use the tip of your fingers, and it is considered ill mannered to let your food stain the outside of your fingers or palm. And of course washing your hands before and after is a big must.
I felt I had come home. I was finally amongst people that, like me, believe that eating is a very sensual thing and should be enjoyed with as many senses as possible – tasting, smelling, looking and touching. Now I just need to find a country where plate-licking is de rigeur…
REFLECTIONS FROM YOUR MIRROR
FOR THE WOMEN OF THE WORLD
Between king and QUEEN
Who is Tasya van Ree? The mysterious girl in the big black hat has been fascinating art connoisseurs and fashion lovers alike since she burst onto the scene with her stunning black-and-white photographs of celebrities like Michelle Rodriguez and (one-time lover) Amber Heard. I asked the Hawaiian-born visual artist of Dutch-Japanese ancestry (41) about her art and soul. “Between both King and Queen is where I exist.”
Sara Mearns (31) is New York City Ballet’s boldest ballerina. A passionate, intense dancer, she started dancing at 3 and starred in Swan Lake when she was only 19. But instead of resting on her laurels, Sara has kept challenging herself with daring projects, from a collaboration with hip-hop dancers to a leading role in a Broadway show. I talked with the fierce Swan Queen about sacrifices, body confidence, and how to turn pain into gain. “I’m not the typical skinny, tall, long-neck kind of ballerina.”
The art of love!
Get your creative juices flowing
This Valentine’s, don’t wait around for that love-note or those fancy chocolates to feel loved and desired. Express yourself to fall in love with yourself, now!