There is something ever so delightful about eating with our bare hands, feeling the food before it passes our lips, before we bite down, savouring the crunch, tasting the variety of flavours which have joined in matrimony to create a whole new, unique flavour of their own. Licking our fingers taking in the deliciousness left on each digit.
I’m no scientist, however I’d argue that eating with our bare hands creates a more mindful experience when it comes to dining. Surely the sensors in our fingertips together with our sense of smell recognise the hearty plate in front of us, sending even more signals to the brain, letting our mind know that we are about to satiate our hunger, the cravings we have, our most important survival instinct: to eat.
It can take up to twenty minutes for food in our stomach to be absorbed and for hormones to be released sending signals to the brain that we are full. Could eating with our hands speed up the process?
According to the Korea Food Research Institute “When one touches the sustenance with fingers, nerve endings in the fingers sense the temperature and texture of the food, and based on this information, the brain triggers the release of relevant digestion-related juices.” - read the full paper here.
Eating with our bare hands is a multi-sensory experience, just for a moment we’re brought into the now. Whether it’s mussels cooked in white wine with sweet white onion enjoyed with oven baked, salty potato wedges or popcorn dipped in chocolate sauce (my favourite), for a brief period of time we’re present, savouring the touch, the taste, the smell, the yumminess filling our soul. That’s what food should be about.
Devour a slice of pizza, dip a warm pitta bread into a creamy, mouth-watering curry, hold a weighty BLT sandwich in your hands before diving right in, lick the tomato sauce from the side of your mouth, the scrumptious bacon grease from your fingers. Make Spanish tapas, using pieces of tomato bread as vessels to carry all manner of things - Spanish Omelette, Serrano Ham or mushrooms slowly cooked in garlic and wine.
Savour the moment, savour the touch, the feel, the taste, the enjoyment.
Eat what feels good for you right now. Enjoy every enchanting second of it.