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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Oprah's Blunder - Indians eat with hands


She has done a two part series on India, and one of the insensitive remarks she made was that Indians still eat their food with hands. I hope she does a follow up highlighting the cultural value of eating with fingers. She forget, we Americans eat most everything with hands, take a look;

Indeed, fingers are the original forks, and we love eating with our fingers, finger licking is good when the hands are curry dipped.

By the way, this has nothing to do with being rich or poor, educated or not, it is just our culture.

She has mistaken civilization to eating with forks. No, it is not. Eating with fork is fine and works for certain foods but not most of the Indian foods.

You cannot eat Masala Dosa with fork to fully enjoy it,
Dosa is the king of South Indian food.

You cannot eat Naan/Roti, the staple food of India, 
Naan is the king of North Indian food. 

She lost her bloody mind and did not realize that;

President Bill Clinton Eats Burger with his hands,
Nominee Mitt Romney eats Chicken with his hands,President  Barack Obama eats Chicken with his hands,
President George Bush eats Corn on the Cob with his hands,
Legendary John Wayne eats Ribs with his hands...

Oprah, who eats Pizza with fork?
Which is nerdy, eating with hands or fork?
You cannot eat chicken with fork and knife;
you got to pick it up with your fingers and dig it in.

You cannot eat ribs with fork and knife,
you got to bite the meat out of the bones.

That's enough.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on the topics of Pluralism, Coexistence, politics, interfaith, Islam and cohesive societies. He is committed to building a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day, his bio is at www.MikeGhouse.net and at www.TheGhousediary.com is his daily blog. 


  1. The difference is they are eating finger food. They don't eat rice with their hands. Rice is not finger food. But my South Asian friends still scoop it all around their plate like babies do. To Oprah, it's weird. To me, it's weird. I eat burgers and pizza and fries and corn with my fingers but I don't eat spaghetti or rice or what ever else that stuff is with my fingers. To Americans, putting your fingers in your food is gross so yes, it's viewed as uncivilized. And finger licking is gross too. That's what napkins are for. But, that's just our culture. And, let's get real, it's Oprah. Who cares? That's why people are so afraid to make remarks about Muslims or South Asian people because you guys take offense to everything. Jeez..

    1. To Anonymous:
      For some people it is gross because they do not wash their hands after using the bathroom/toilet. We wash our hands! Indians eat noodles and spaghetti with forks. We do not drink soup with hands!

      We are recycling conscious! Therefore we do not waste trees unnecessarily by using napkins when we use the natural resource "Water" to wash our hands.
      Imagine the environmental disaster with over 1 billion plastic forks, spoons and napkins trashed for every meal! Or wastage of soap to wash the extra utensils when all you have to do is wash your hands with soap.

      We take offense to stuff because THEY generalize it.

    2. Now who's sounding like an ignorant racist?! Even Indians eat spaghetti with forks, not fingers, so your example is flawed. The simple rule usually is "when in Rome...", so when eating Indian food, using fingers is the most appropriate. However, Indians are kind, they won't force you to eat with your fingers. All people have been doing is pointing out that eating with fingers is part of the Indian culture, not something invented on Mars, and instead of just acknowledging it you want to bring up YOUR "culture" and call finger licking gross? "Finger-licking good" is a Western phrase. Btw, newsflash...Oprah isn't God. Get a life!

  2. Perhaps some brave Indian should pick up the courage to make statements about Americans not washing their butts with water after going to the loo but instead, wiping it off with paper. No wonder it is gross to the Americans to put their fingers in their food! I wonder how they wear their jeans again after not washing their butts.

  3. Hey dumbonymous, Americans don't have a habit of washing their hands frequently. Now *that* is gross if you ask me. But let's be historical here, it's a European thing; washing was never an important thing for northern and western Europeans. They invented wiping with paper and using cologne as alternatives to regular washing and hygiene. Asians and Africans have always used their hands to eat; and they are neurotic about washing their hands. I wonder if Oprah would have fainted if she learned we also wash our butts instead of scraping them with paper.

  4. So what is the big deal if Indians eat with fingers! That is the hands are for! As usual, Some, not all, arrogant and self-absorbed Americans think that if the others in the world are not doing what they do, it is weird! Well, I see that attitude itself is weird! Ther are a few other things that Americans do is found gross and disgusting to others.

  5. Dude I have seen American people making a mess of their hands and face while eating burgers and spaghetti. High time you people in America learn some GK. As such you guys are bad in maths and general knowledge. It has even been reported that the average american does not even know the Capital City of America is the Washighton dc. and has to be educated by companies who sell t-shirts with the meassage "washighton dc-capital of usa". You guys in America are now going gaga over Yoga and benefits of a vegetarian diet. We in India started Yoga in the 2nd Century BC. and have been enjoying vegetarian food since the 1st Century BC. So Dude GROW UP!!

  6. When In Australia. I found out that all eat with a fork and not the spoon... the spoons two in number are put there to have your soup and to have the icecream or what ever is served after the dinner.. so u see we did not feel good eating with a fork.. we took the smaller spoon and ate... finding the Australians giggle now and then in our direction... as we did not wish to eat with our hands like real Indians do.... even at home I still use the fork and spoon... where as the rest of my family enjoy eating with their hand..... I then passed a remark... "I wonder why no eating spoons are here on the table" Out jumped the reply.... "We eat with the fork only.... never use the eating spoon" So I said: "Good I used one of these , being the smaller of the two as I am not used to eating with my fingers or just a fork.... have not got used to the Arab way in which they tear at the camel and dig into the fried rice or the sweet meal with the same dirty hand they eat their whole meal with... and gave a hearty laugh.. there ended their giggles,..... Babs ..... It happened at the CTR Relief Ball in Melbourne and my friend Lynne and Hadley and her hubby Laurie were together with us... on the same table... we were the only two who did not lick or suck our fingers at the table: Babs