Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.
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Daniel Rogov

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Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Daniel Rogov » Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:26 pm

Several years ago I saw an Italian couple dining on spiced chicken wings (as I recall with a honeyed bbq sauce) in an American restaurant and they were having such a hard time because they were doing it all with fork and knife. Some foods seem to be made for eating not with a knife and fork but by attacking entirely with the fingers, teeth and tongue.

Simple enough this week – let's list our own finger-food favorites. And, of course, please let us know how you clean your fingers and face during and after having so feasted.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Alan Wolfe » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:40 pm

Wings, and I'll bet Howie says the same thing. Cleanup with those wet paper thingies used to clean up the discharge end of infants.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Stuart Yaniger » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:01 pm

Frites.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Shel T » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:15 pm

Well the obvious one is BBQ ribs, closely followed by chicken wings, burgers, hot dogs, and yes, even sushi when I learned from a prominent Japanese sushi chef that it's proper etiquette to use your fingers eating sushi. And cleaning up, well when they run out of finger bowls!, gotta resort to those wet-wipes!
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Bill Spohn » Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:40 am

Yup, sushi. And we enjoy a local Ethiopian restaurant.
And some things are just too hard to eat with utensils. I saw someone trying to dissect and eat a quail drumstick and wanted to yell "Pick the damned thing up!"
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Matilda L » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:35 am

Chicken wings.
Barbecued quail.
Fish and chips. (With vinegar, of course.)
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Linda R. (NC) » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:09 am

Hot dogs, burgers, fries and wings (actually all fried chicken). Made a big batch of buffalo wings last night for friends.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Carl Eppig » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:48 pm

Stuart Yaniger wrote:Frites.


Frites deux; except in Canada where they put gravy on them.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Patti L » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:46 pm

All of the above, and pizza.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Bill Spohn » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:49 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:
Stuart Yaniger wrote:Frites.


Frites deux; except in Canada where they put gravy on them.


Only those eastern barbarians do that!
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:22 pm

As a self declared hedonist/barbarian (choose one or both of those), my list of finger foods is rather long. It should go without saying that I revert to knife and fork in situatins where eating with the fingers would make others uncomfortable.

Chicken wings
Southern Fried Chicken
Most parts of quail and partridge
Chicken legs after most of the meat has been cut off
Asparagus
Hamburgers
Hot Dogs
Moroccan cigars
Burrekas
French fries (or by whatever other name you care to call them)
Sushi
Spring Rolls
Corn on the cob
Sushi
Pizza
Wraps
Nearly all Northern Mexican food so long as it is served with tortillas
Jerked beef, pork or chicken
Spiced shrimps (New Orleans style)
The best parts of the lobster
Crabs of course
Clams and mussels
Many kinds of pancakes and fritters
Deviled eggs
Ta'amia, felafel and other bean cakes
Stuffed vine leaves
Nearly all Arab and Bedouin foods when dining with Arab and/or Bedouin hosts
And more.....


As to the ultimate "finger food" - When chef Woutrous Lap was in charge of the kitchens at the Sheraton Hotel in Libraville in the Congo, a group of revolutionaries invaded the hotel. Each of the hotel employees was forced to sit at a small table in the lobby and seated at the same table with Lap was a guerrilla armed with a Russian AK47 rifle. Knowing that it is always best to try and get your captor to know you as an individual rather than as merely a hostage, Lap tried to make conversation with the armed African.

At first, the man would not say a word, but finally, after he learned that Lap was the hotel's chef, he started to talk about the dining habits of his own village, where it seemed he was also considered a master cook. It also turned out that cannibalism was an accepted way of life in the cook's village. This, of course made Lap a bit nervous but he relaxed when the man told him that he did not have to worry because "white men have a bitter taste". Later, after Lap had described some of the dishes he especially liked to cook, the man decided to share a secret with him and told him that most of the people in his village thought that one of the very best parts of a human is the fingers, "because they can be dried, tucked into the pocket and later make for such good nibbling". Although the incident ended happily when the revolutionaries left the hotel several hours later without harming anyone, Lap has not added this particular kind of finger food to his own repertoire of specialties.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Ruth B » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:23 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:
Stuart Yaniger wrote:Frites.


Frites deux; except in Canada where they put gravy on them.


Not everywhere -- certainly poutine is not finger food!
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Carl Eppig » Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:36 pm

Ruth B wrote:Not everywhere -- certainly poutine is not finger food!


I think that's what I wrote!
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Robert Reynolds » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:40 am

Too many to list! 8)
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Shel T » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:51 am

Daniel, great story--finger food indeed, and undoubtedly the root of the word 'digestion',...or should that be digitgestion!
On reflection, this probably is far too broad a poll as there are whole societies who eat everything with their fingers.
But to add to the list, here are a few more I don't think have been mentioned.
Babaganush (or baba ganoush), hummus, fried calamari, popcorn, jalapeno poppers, taquitos and tacos, nachos, shrimp cocktail, onion rings, onion bhaji and so many more, guess it's time to stop.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Daniel Rogov » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:28 am

Shel T wrote:On reflection, this probably is far too broad a poll as there are whole societies who eat everything with their fingers.


Indeed Shel, and that's why in my own little list of personal favorites with the fingers I referred to "Nearly all Arab and Bedouin foods when dining with Arab and/or Bedouin hosts"


As an aside, I just re-discovered the following paragraph that I wrote some years ago: "Craig Claiborne, in his delightful "Elements of Etiquette" provides a long list of things that may be eaten with the fingers. The list includes asparagus (so hosts should not cover the base of the spears with sauce); crisp slices of bacon; spareribs, hamburgers on rolls; charcoal roasted chicken; grilled corn, spare ribs and nearly any other barbecued foods. Also included are strawberries that are served whole; clams and oysters; fried chicken; frogs' legs; lobsters and crabs in the shell; corn on the cob; and all bite sized desserts (but under no circumstances should a piece of cake or pie be treated as one would a cookie or a petit-four). Those who have not mastered the art of using chopsticks will be pleased to know that even in Japan it is perfectly acceptable to eat sushi with the fingers. I would add to Clairborne's list grilled and fried shrimps which always taste better when eaten with the fingers and chips, but only if eaten one at a time."

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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Shel T » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:55 am

Yes Daniel, with sushi in particular as weilding chopsticks with expertise is not one of my talents!
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Ruth B » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:05 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:
Ruth B wrote:Not everywhere -- certainly poutine is not finger food!


I think that's what I wrote!


But poutine is not something you see in many parts of Canada . For a lot of us it is just regular old french fries -- no cheese :)
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by JC (NC) » Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:08 pm

artichoke leaves
raw vegetables with dip (baby carrots, celery, cauliflower flowerets, etc.)
potato chips, pretzels, corn chips, etc.
usually olives
sandwiches of course were supposedly invented to keep one hand free for playing cards and I put wraps into that category (such as a chicken club wrap)
candy
usually brownies

I see that Daniel already covered wraps
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Jenise » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:21 pm

Everything I'd list has probably already been listed except pickled pigs feet. :)

But say, I once dated a man whose delicate east coast sensibilities mandated that all food be eaten with a knife and fork, including hamburgers. So at one meal where we both ordered same, I ate mine as he ate his and discovered an essential difference between the one way of eating and the other: food eaten with one's hands is held closer to one's face, and therefore more aroma enters one's nose and more flavor is experienced in the mouth. Is there any better argument than that for eating out of hand?

Great story, Daniel.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Matilda L » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:10 pm

Everything I'd list has probably already been listed except pickled pigs feet


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0_6YlEJi40 :D
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Stuart Yaniger » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:21 pm

Nearly all Arab and Bedouin foods when dining with Arab and/or Bedouin hosts


Impossible for me- I'm terminally left-handed.

As for poutine, I would not put it in the category of "food."
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Salil » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:50 pm

My family's Indian, and I spent a good part of my childhood growing up there, so eating pretty much anything by hand (even rice and dal or biryani) is second nature. Any time I'm eating some sort of flat bread like rotis, chapatis, parathas, naans, etc, I tend to eat the entire meal including any accompaniments (kebabs/curries/pretty much any veg or meat side dishes) by hand.

Non-Indian dishes that I'll happily eat with my fingers - satay, shawarmas, hot dogs/burgers, fries, almost any form of poultry that has bones in it (duck confit being the lone exception), pizza, anything served with some form of flat bread (za'atar, wraps, tortillas, etc)... the list goes on.

Re. cleaning my hand - most traditional Indian restaurants will normally bring around a 'finger bowl' at the end of a meal (slightly hot water with some rose petals and lime in it that you rinse fingers in). Otherwise I'll just use excuse myself and use a sink.
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Re: Culinary Poll #28: Eating With the Fingers

by Mark Kogos » Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:31 am

Fresh juicy sweetcorn with hot runny butter. :D
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