Yes, we're later than usual on the poll today. For one, I actually (gasp!) left my desk for lunch today in order to record a podcast for our new series (more on that soon). Actually, though, I'm attributing it more to having signed up for the 10:30 seating of chefs Eddie Huang and Tyler Kord's Chinese New Year dinner at No. 7 restaurant in Brooklyn last night.
Diners lucky enough to score a reservation (rumor had it that Jimmy Fallon's party couldn't nab an 8 p.m. table and had to abandon mission) clustered around a communal table, daintily spooning and spearing family-style cold sesame noodles, sausage dumplings and pickles onto their square white plates.
Chopsticks picked up pace, clattering as bowls of bitter butter greens, a soy-drizzled whole Dorade and obscenely silken tofu topped with century-old egg hit the table. By the time the fat-swaddled pork shoulder and eight-treasure (1. lotus seeds, 2. edamame, 3. smoked ham, 4. mushrooms and...did I mention there was also wine?...) glutinous rice-stuffed duck arrived, decorum had flapped out the window.
Then again, I love to eat with my hands. Yes, I can and do sit like a proper lady in front of people, holding utensils and dabbing and daubing just so. I would never choose to do that if I didn't have to. I'm not a savage - not in public at least. I gauge the room, the comfort level of my companions, and might hazard a pinch of bread, then a round, roasted potato, perhaps a shard of ham ferried to my mouth between thumb and forefinger. If no one seems to mind, and I'm among friends, I may even abandon utensils entirely, save for that which needs spooning.
I swear I'm not unseemly about it. A friend who dreams of penning etiquette books, should she ever find the time, once announced to all and sundry that I could eat entire meal with my hands and make it seem like the most elegant thing in the world. I do take other people's comfort levels into account, and in that spirit, ensured it would never be held against me when it counted most - at home.
On the website through which I met my husband, one line item read, "Fill in the blank. ______ is sexy. ______ is sexier." It would seem he was undaunted by a woman who felt that eating with her hands was sexier than just plain old "eating."
Still, I'm glad he wasn't there last night to see me wrench the head off that Shanghai duck with my bare fingers and suck meat from its bulging cheeks into mine. That would just be unladylike.