Have you ever wondered by which quirks of fate such a singular set of utensils as the chopsticks at our Seattle Korean restaurant? Indeed, the sticks that are so popular in much of Asia are an enigma to many Westerners; how did this most unusual method of dining come to be, and what brought about its propagation throughout the East?
The story of chopsticks goes back about five thousand years in ancient China. It is speculated that the early people cooked much of their food in large pots, using twigs to safely remove cooked items. As civilization progressed, people discovered that food could be cooked with less fuel if it were first cut up into smaller pieces, and thusly it became practical to eat a meal entirely without the use of a knife.
Historians believe that chopsticks started to take off as a utensil with the rise of Confucianism. As a vegetarian, Confucius encouraged people to separate themselves as much as they could from the slaughterhouse by removing any knives from the dining table. The chopstick therefore spread along with his philosophy, and found its way to Japan, Vietnam, and Korea.