Eating Cheetos with Chopsticks

 

Chopsticks are, in a general manner, inferior to the fork. Forks are more effective over a wider range of food, and they’re easier to master as well. Really in this day and age, the major reason to learn chopsticks is to look sophisticated. You don’t want to look like a dolt in front of your friends. So I’m using chopsticks to eat Cheetos.*

Cheetos are pretty much on the opposite end of the sophistication spectrum from sushi.** If you learn chopsticks to look suave in one of those swanky Japanese restaurants that’s one thing. You simply can’t look debonair eating bright orange cheese puffs. So why bother with the chopsticks? Aren’t they a finger food? They are if you don’t mind leaving blaze orange fingerprints everywhere.

Once you’ve determined you need to avoid orange gunk on your digits you’ve got to settle on an implement. Forks are inferior to chopsticks in this circumstance; neither the scooping action or the stabbing motion do you much good. Chopsticks, on the other hand, can pick up puffs one by one, with great accuracy. You’re rate-limited by the speed you chew in either case.

When you notice the pattern you see examples of it everywhere. @GaryMcVey gave us a description of an earlier version of color TV that never took off. And yet that finicky and expensive technology got sent to the moon. Because, however expensive it is, that cost pales against the great mass of rocket fuel you’d have to burn to launch it into orbit. Ever hear of gorilla glass? It was mostly an oddity until Steve Jobs was looking for something to use as an iPhone screen.

What can we learn from this? Couple lessons. First, the criteria used to judge which technology is superior is necessarily dependent on the background assumptions under which it’s evaluated. Secondly, and as a consequence of that, one ought to be constantly reevaluating the conditions under which those assumptions apply. Thirdly, to find one of these situations where the rejected line might actually be superior you have to reevaluate both the status quo and the alternatives. Which implies (fourthly) that the kind of guy who’s going to discover these opportunities to innovate is going to necessarily be familiar not just with the stuff that works, but the other things people have tried which don’t work.

And finally, I can learn how to use chopsticks by practicing on Cheetos. I mean, I don’t want to look like a yokel any more than I already do.


* I picked up this idea from someone in the PIT. Don’t rightly remember who, but I suspect @qoumidan . With the revolver.

** I bet if I made sushi out of cheetos, twinkies and Big Mac sauce… yeah, that’d be terrible. Further research is required.

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There are 94 comments.

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  1. The Reticulator Member

    Scott Walker?

    Oh, I bet I get it now. A technology that didn’t take off?

    • #1
    • September 11, 2019, at 6:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Hank Rhody, on the blockchain Contributor

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Scott Walker?

    Oh, I bet I get it now. A technology that didn’t take off?

    Mostly.

    Also, back when Ricochet first implemented tagging for posts they also set up a word cloud based on tag frequency. Some of us were tagging completely unrelated posts with Scott Walker in order to increase his font size in the word cloud. I’m mostly off that now, but every so often…

    • #2
    • September 11, 2019, at 6:42 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: Chopsticks are, in a general manner, inferior to the fork.

    I disagree, of course. Chopsticks are also better for salads, for instance. With a fork, you’re always trying to stab stuff and hope it’s small enough to get into your mouth neatly at the angle it was been stabbed. With chopsticks, it is much easier to manipulate and even fold the various pieces of lettuce, etc. Chopsticks are also superior for things in the salad such as nuts, crumbly cheeses, or small fruit, such as dried cherries where one can only hope to balance them on the fork, since they are not really very stabbable. Chopsticks are like finger extenders. If you can pick it up with your fingers, you can pick it up with chopsticks.

    The main problem with Western foods is that they often come relatively whole, rather than chopped. Steak? You’re going to need a knife and fork unless the cook has chopped it into relatively bite-sized pieces for you. But that is exactly what most East Asian cultures do in their cuisine. Everything is prepared in relatively bite-sized pieces. The whole steak is about the only place where the fork is really superior, so long as one has a knife, of course. But one can also eat steak with chopsticks and a knife, so maybe even there the fork loses.

    All you really need is a good spoon and set of chopsticks.

    • #3
    • September 11, 2019, at 6:55 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. The Reticulator Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: Chopsticks are, in a general manner, inferior to the fork.

    I disagree, of course. Chopsticks are also better for salads, for instance. With a fork, you’re always trying to stab stuff and hope it’s small enough to get into your mouth neatly at the angle it was been stabbed. With chopsticks, it is much easier to manipulate and even fold the various pieces of lettuce, etc. Chopsticks are also superior for things in the salad such as nuts, crumbly cheeses, or small fruit, such as dried cherries where one can only hope to balance them on the fork, since they are not really very stabbable. Chopsticks are like finger extenders. If you can pick it up with your fingers, you can pick it up with chopsticks.

    The main problem with Western foods is that they often come relatively whole, rather than chopped. Steak? You’re going to need a knife and fork unless the cook has chopped it into relatively bite-sized pieces for you. But that is exactly what most East Asian cultures do in their cuisine. Everything is prepared in relatively bite-sized pieces. The whole steak is about the only place where the fork is really superior, so long as one has a knife, of course. But one can also eat steak with chopsticks and a knife, so maybe even there the fork loses.

    All you really need is a good spoon and set of chopsticks.

    So do you think he would have more success if we called him Scott “Chopsticks” Walker?

    • #4
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    So do you think he would have more success if we called him Scott “Chopsticks” Walker?

    No, he would have had more success were he talking about issues that people cared about, as Trump did.

    • #5
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:10 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: Once you’ve determined you need to avoid orange gunk on your digits you’ve got to settle on an implement. Forks are inferior to chopsticks in this circumstance; neither the scooping action or the stabbing motion do you much good. Chopsticks, on the other hand, can pick up puffs one by one, with great accuracy. You’re rate-limited by the speed you chew in either case.

    If we’re going to argue about the most efficacious way to eat Cheetos without getting orange gunk on your hands* I’m going to argue for just pouring them directly from the bag to the mouth. Doesn’t waste and/or dirty a pair of chopsticks. I’ve also got to question the type of Cheeto. Puffy or crunchy? If the former I don’t know if I’d be dexterous enough to pick them up with chopsticks without also crushing them. 

    That said, I think if I had to choose something to eat them with it’d be tongs. You can reach deep into the bag so you don’t have to worry about getting the back of your hand gunked up, plus you get the classy cigarette holder effect.

    *I’m not going to lie, I think licking off the orange gunk is the best part of Cheetos. That said, it does sort of require one to wash their hands before going out to purchase more Cheetos.

    • #6
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:21 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: I bet if I made sushi out of cheetos, twinkies and Big Mac sauce… yeah, that’d be terrible. Further research is required.

    It wouldn’t be sushi, but I’d try it.

    • #7
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:22 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Chopsticks are also better for salads, for instance. With a fork, you’re always trying to stab stuff and hope it’s small enough to get into your mouth neatly at the angle it was been stabbed. With chopsticks, it is much easier to manipulate and even fold the various pieces of lettuce, etc. Chopsticks are also superior for things in the salad such as nuts, crumbly cheeses, or small fruit, such as dried cherries where one can only hope to balance them on the fork, since they are not really very stabbable. Chopsticks are like finger extenders. If you can pick it up with your fingers, you can pick it up with chopsticks.

    Maybe your salads, mine generally come with enough dressing that it’s more akin to a low-grade soup. And shredded cheese, which I find is difficult to eat no matter what. Maybe a spork is the answer I want here.

    Arahant (View Comment):
    But one can also eat steak with chopsticks and a knife, so maybe even there the fork loses.

    One can also eat steak with their fingers, but somehow that’s considered a faux pas.

    • #8
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:25 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. GrannyDude Member

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: You’re rate-limited by the speed you chew in either case.

    This is actually the point of chopsticks. It’s not that the Chinese couldn’t invent a fork.

    • #9
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: You’re rate-limited by the speed you chew in either case.

    @samrhody is your brother. You know that’s not always true. 

    • #10
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:31 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Arahant Member

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: You’re rate-limited by the speed you chew in either case.

    This is actually the point of chopsticks. It’s not that the Chinese couldn’t invent a fork.

    Heh, you’ve never seen my consumption speed with chopsticks.

    • #11
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:32 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. RightAngles Member

    You might as well get used to chopsticks right now, because yesterday I saw an item saying that eating utensils are “racist” because they represent European white colonialists trying to erase the “wildness” of the peoples they colonized. I wish I were kidding.

    • #12
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:49 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. Arahant Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    You might as well get used to chopsticks right now, because yesterday I saw an item saying that eating utensils are “racist” because they represent European white colonialists trying to erase the “wildness” of the peoples they colonized. I wish I were kidding.

    May I suggest a nice Korean set with matching spoons?

    • #13
    • September 11, 2019, at 7:53 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. RightAngles Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    You might as well get used to chopsticks right now, because yesterday I saw an item saying that eating utensils are “racist” because they represent European white colonialists trying to erase the “wildness” of the peoples they colonized. I wish I were kidding.

    May I suggest a nice Korean set with matching spoons?

    Haha! Call me crazy but I do not understand how anyone can think chopsticks are a good idea. No wonder you don’t see many fat people in Asia, the poor things.

    • #14
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Judge Mental Member

    Don’t ask me. I’m the guy who asks for a fork in the Chinese (Korean, Japanese, Thai) restaurant.

    • #15
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:05 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Arahant Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Haha! Call me crazy but I do not understand how anyone can think chopsticks are a good idea. No wonder you don’t see many fat people in Asia, the poor things.

    If only that were the reason, chopsticks could have kept me thin.

    • #16
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:07 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    Next you will be trying to convince me that you can build a computer cheaper, faster, and better, with chopsticks –NYTimes Review

    • #17
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:20 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Miffed White Male Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    You might as well get used to chopsticks right now, because yesterday I saw an item saying that eating utensils are “racist” because they represent European white colonialists trying to erase the “wildness” of the peoples they colonized. I wish I were kidding.

    But using chopsticks if you’re not asian would be cultural appropriation.

    I guess it’s back to eating with our finger.

     

    • #18
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:23 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  19. RightAngles Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Don’t ask me. I’m the guy who asks for a fork in the Chinese (Korean, Japanese, Thai) restaurant.

    Same here. I used to date this liberal guy who would ostentatiously use only chopsticks and would look down on anyone who used a fork. He isn’t the only person I’ve known who does that.

    • #19
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Arahant Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    But using chopsticks if you’re not asian would be cultural appropriation.

    I’m lucky my mother is Chinese.

    • #20
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:28 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    But using chopsticks if you’re not asian would be cultural appropriation.

    I’m lucky my mother is Chinese.

    Even if not, you can identify as such for at least the length of the meal. I think that’s how that works.

    • #21
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:31 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Arahant Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    But using chopsticks if you’re not asian would be cultural appropriation.

    I’m lucky my mother is Chinese.

    Even if not, you can identify as such for at least the length of the meal. I think that’s how that works.

    Yeah, that’s one way it works.

    In my mother’s case, her father was quite a joker. He used to tell her, “You’re Chinese. Every fifth child born in 1939 was Chinese, and you’re my fifth child.”

    Of course, in this day and age, being Chinese is as bad as being of European descent.

    • #22
    • September 11, 2019, at 8:34 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. MeanDurphy Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    You might as well get used to chopsticks right now, because yesterday I saw an item saying that eating utensils are “racist” because they represent European white colonialists trying to erase the “wildness” of the peoples they colonized. I wish I were kidding.

    May I suggest a nice Korean set with matching spoons?

    Isn’t metal a bit slippery? I like wood mostly, plastic is ok if it’s not too smooth.

    • #23
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Arahant Member

    MeanDurphy (View Comment):
    Isn’t metal a bit slippery? I like wood mostly, plastic is ok if it’s not too smooth.

    If you know what you’re doing, it’s not bad. Besides, many have a rough surface of some sort at the bottom for gripping food.

    • #24
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Arahant Member

    I have at least thirteen metal sets. The Korean are flat in profile, rather than round. Japanese are tapered. Chinese chopsticks tend to be more cylindrical.

    • #25
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. tigerlily Member

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    You might as well get used to chopsticks right now, because yesterday I saw an item saying that eating utensils are “racist” because they represent European white colonialists trying to erase the “wildness” of the peoples they colonized. I wish I were kidding.

    May I suggest a nice Korean set with matching spoons?

    Haha! Call me crazy but I do not understand how anyone can think chopsticks are a good idea. No wonder you don’t see many fat people in Asia, the poor things.

    They probably don’t eat enough Cheetos either.

    • #26
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:28 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  27. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw (View Comment):
    That said, I think if I had to choose something to eat them with it’d be tongs. You can reach deep into the bag so you don’t have to worry about getting the back of your hand gunked up, plus you get the classy cigarette holder effect.

    I would say experimentation is proving this theory right.

    • #27
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. tigerlily Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, on the blockchain: Chopsticks are, in a general manner, inferior to the fork.

    I disagree, of course. Chopsticks are also better for salads, for instance. With a fork, you’re always trying to stab stuff and hope it’s small enough to get into your mouth neatly at the angle it was been stabbed. With chopsticks, it is much easier to manipulate and even fold the various pieces of lettuce, etc. Chopsticks are also superior for things in the salad such as nuts, crumbly cheeses, or small fruit, such as dried cherries where one can only hope to balance them on the fork, since they are not really very stabbable.

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat (or eat a salad) Arahant. That’s why the salad fork was invented. Then again, maybe the main purpose of the salad fork is that it scores mondo ostentatious points for those knowing where it belongs in a place setting and what it’s used for.

     

    • #28
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:45 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  29. Arahant Member

    tigerlily (View Comment):
    Then again, maybe the main purpose of the salad fork is that it scores mondo ostentatious points for those knowing where it belongs in a place setting and what it’s used for.

    Correct. One could have salad chopsticks, too.

    • #29
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Stina Member

    Arahant (View Comment):
    . Everything is prepared in relatively bite-sized pieces

    The shrimp tempura roll begs to differ.

    • #30
    • September 11, 2019, at 9:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
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