By Melanie Pinola
Chopsticks are the utensil of choice when eating Asian dishes, but they can do a whole lot more than just pick up noodles. Check o these ten other reasons to keep a pair or two of chopsticks around.
10. Cook with More Control
Thanks to their thin, long design, chopsticks give you more control than other larger utensils. Julia Child showed us, for example, that chopsticks are great for beating eggs. You can also use them to more safely move food around when frying, since long chopsticks have great reach and keep your hands away from the oil. You can also tell when oil is ready for frying with a wooden chopstick, much like you could use a wooden spoon for this purpose.
9. Make Springloaded or Training Chopsticks
Speaking of control, kids and other chopstick newbies could benefit from a chopstick training set. Rather than buying on, make your own training chopsticks with a rubber band and the chopstick paper wrapper or the spring from a clothespin. Besides helping little ones use chopsticks, these springloaded chopsticks can also act like convenient tongs or tweezers for more control when cooking (as mentioned above) or other precise kitchen tasks.
8. Clean Your Gadgets and Other Tricky Items with Chopsticks
Disposable chopsticks easily get into small spaces. Wrap a bit of paper towel around the end and you can use it to clean between your keyboard keys, the analog stick of a game controller, and other small dust-gathering gadget areas. This Old House even recommends keeping chopsticks by the door to clean off dirt between the treads of your shoes or sneakers before you track it in the house.
6. Turn Chopsticks Into an iPad Stand or a Tablet Stylus
A DIY chopstick iPad stand would be very fitting around the kitchen, and if you order Japanese takeout a lot, you should have the 13 chopsticks needed to make the wooden stand in no time. Pair that with a chopstick tablet stylus, and you’ve fully accessorized tablet with chopsticks.
5. Divide Food into Small Portions for the Freezer
It’s smart to pre-portion food you’re going to freeze, so it’s easier to separate it and defrost individual portions. A chopstick can help quickly make divisions for ground meat. I can see using this for other foods you might want to make individual portions of, like cookie dough (if you want to bake just one or two). In a similar vein, you can use a chopstick as a sharp edge for other things, like dividing dough.
4. Pit Cherries While Catching the Cherry Pits
Chopstick + bottle = a convenient way to pit cherries and contain the mess. The picture above pretty much says it all.
3. Protect Yourself from Exploding Water
Wooden chopsticks can also be a safety tool when boiling water in the microwave: Stick a wooden chopstick (or other microwave-safe stick) in the cup to prevent “super-heated,” exploding water.
2. Pour Liquids Better with a Chopstick
We all make messes from time to time when pouring things out of big containers. A chopstick (or any rod-like object) helps prevent the mess by making the liquid roll down the chopstick and straight into your desired vessel. Similarly, stick a chopstick in a soap dispenser when refilling it to make the soap flow more easily into the dispenser and get those last few drops of soap out of the refill bottle.
1. Keep Your Hands Clean When Eating Messy Foods
Finally, as a utensil, chopsticks are intended to keep your fingers clean (and, perhaps, make you look civilized). They’re ideal, though, for snack foods like potato chips, Cheetos, and other messy or greasy foods you want to eat at the computer—and they help you get to the bottom of the bag without greasing up your hands. Not a big snacker? Chopsticks are also practical for eating salads, especially those wily, hard-to-pick-up croutons.
There are a few other creative uses for chopsticks (like using them to replace the handle on a Swiffer Duster), But first things first: Learn how to use chopsticks properly.