Here's the Scoop: April 8, 2009

It’s a handful
My wife is fond of watching TV programs and reading books about different cultures. This is a good way to gain an understanding about the ways that others live their lives. She’s learned a lot of important information. And, while not among the top facts she’s picked up, she has discovered that people in many other countries favor eating with the hands.
I’m not sure why she chose to relay this information to me, although I have my suspicions. The bottom line is that I prefer “finger foods.” Whole hand foods, really.
Burgers and fries. Check. Pizza. Check. Bagels. Check.
All the major food groups that I enjoy are meant to be eaten with one’s hands. Now I’m starting to wonder if I prefer these foods for their taste or for the ease of eating? Probably some of both.
The preference of using my hands is likely part of the same reason that I never cared much for soccer. I like a little more control of things.
Silverware, by nature, has many drawbacks. You go to a fancy restaurant and half the evening is spent trying to figure out which eating utensil to use at what time. That process can be more painful than paying the bill.

Spooning up cash
The whole silverware industry seems like a bit of a scam to me. If people are interested in such things, silverware seems to be like snowflakes — no two options are alike. To me, you cut and you stab. The silverware concept should be quite simple. But this is a major industry and marketing folks have convinced us that silverware needs to match dishes — and wallpaper and curtains and napkins. The whole thing is a bit out of control, if you ask me.
Think about it — silverware is used to manipulate food to a certain bite-size and then place it in our mouths. By definition, a fork is not much less gross than a litter box. There’s really no need to make these utensils fancy.
Another drawback involving silverware is that it must be washed. This, of course, wastes energy. Most people wash their hands anyhow, so it’s not a big deal to rinse off after a tasty meal of ribs.
I’m sure that anyone who has ever cleared a table would also be relieved if silverware were eliminated from our lives. During my catering days, I quickly learned that silverware should be placed firmly in one’s hands to help avoid the dreaded clattering of knives and forks falling off plates.
I’ve always been most fond of lunch as a meal. I never really gave too much thought to why I prefer lunch, but I’m guessing it has as much to do with lack of silverware as to the actual food. As a general rule, sandwiches are involved with lunch. And chips. I can handle those. Easily.
Silverware manufacturers reading this column are probably steaming mad. I hope they don’t take these ideas personally. Plus, I don’t see any way where we completely eliminate the need for silverware — at least not as long as folks enjoy a nice meal of spaghetti and meatballs.
— Brian Sweeney