The art of eating with your hands in South India

In Tamil Nadu in the deep south of India, they eat a food that is a mixture of bread, gravy and meat. This would be no problem if eaten with a spoon. Instead, grab your bib and prepare to eat with your hands.

Lunch with the staff
On one of my last days working with Neemtec, we had a lunch together with all the staff. As expected, the guys sat with the guys, and the women sat in their own group.


From banana-leaf plate to your mouth

The thing that I found most difficult about my time in India was just getting food into my mouth. Eating with my hands was a lot more challenging than I would have thought. In a tribute to her astute and kind nature, my host’s mother quickly felt my pain and gave me a spoon to use when needed. I still tried to use my fingers, so she cleverly started making foods that were more solid. And Leo’s dad made sure the table was full of various kinds of bananas and fruits. Still, I’m not one to give up easy, so here’s a quick lesson in eating your food with yourΒ  hands.

After my first successful food transfer from the leaf to my gob, you’ll hear me say the Tamil word for “delicious,” “narailuku.” I actually tried to learn some Tamil when I was there. Indeed, I think learning as much of the local language as time allows is an important part of intercultural etiquette when you travel. You can hear David, our driver and the guy holding the camera, chuckle when I say it. I never did get it exactly correct. Not sure why. Anyway, it was quite narailuku once I managed to get the food where it belongs!