Chatter & Chopsticks

hamsterbrainHave you ever experience a mind cascade? I get them all the time and always have, even as a child. My mind is never quiet. Some nights it takes me forever to fall asleep for all the thought noise cascading through my head like so much water over a cataract. Some mornings I wake up to a brain chatting up a blue streak.  (That’s not as bad as a chatterbox brain at night.) If I’m lucky, sprinkled in the babble are  story threads needed for my writing. Sometimes it’s a roaring thought cascade. I had one of those this morning.

I’m sure one day my brain will be in a jar for scientific study.

So this morning the ol’ brain is blah blah blahhing and another thought falls over the cataract — should I heat up the fried rice we had for dinner and have it for breakfast? This was followed by a thought of chopsticks! That was followed by something I read last week — this week had a national holiday devoted to chopsticks.  Wouldn’t you know, that’s today! (all true, I swear)

chopsticksChopsticks are ancient things. If you think about it, it’s a short hop from fingers to sticks for guiding food into the mouth. As population grew across China and forests fell to accommodate human needs, they soon figured out cooking haunches of meat wasted firewood. Smaller bite-sized meats not only cooked faster, the cooking process used less wood.

Meat was generally bit into and a knife employed to sever the piece you held in your mouth from the larger hunk. But small bits couldn’t be eaten the same way so a different tool was conceived — chopsticks.  Like I said, a short hop from fingers to sticks. These were originally referred to as quick little bamboo fellows in ancient Chinese. The name we know the bamboo fellows by came about when notable Scottish adventurer William Dampier described these eating sticks in his 1699 travelogue Voyages and Descriptions. The sticks picked up chopped meat, therefore they were chopsticks.

Chopstick were made of wood and bamboo, but also of polished bone and ivory, jade, coral, brass, agate, and silver. Of the latter it was believed the silver would turn black if it came into contact with poisoned food.

It’s said their use spread all across Asia because Confucius the philosopher was a peace-loving vegetarian. He believed knives at the dinner table evoked images of violence and thoughts like those killed the pleasure and contentment one found in eating. He also said sharp utensils at the dinner table reminded one of the slaughterhouse. Again, going against a happy dining experience.


How-to on chopsticks.

🙂 Nothing to do with eating utensils but just for fun. It made me smile when I found it so I’m passing it on. It’s the very first song I learned to play on the piano. Two of my sisters were much better at it than I was. Piano just wasn’t my musical interest.


I blog the 4th of the month at Romance Books ‘4’ Us and my post will be up for a RB4U purplefew more days. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this month the RB4U authors are writing to the theme Dinner for Two. I shared a deliciously sensual short story. Come see!


phraseologyPhraseology I often wonder where certain words and sayings come from. For the next few weeks this word collector will examine familiar phrases to get at their heart. I think you’ll be surprised.

The phrase for today is ~Put on your thinking cap

Who hasn’t heard this one before? As we use it today, it means to consider your answer. The original version is put on your considering cap and the wording shows up in print in 1605.  The thinking cap version turns up in a Wisconsin newspaper in the mid-1850s. I have a theory…in Tudor England judges wore the Black Cap when passing the death sentence (not a cap at all, but a black square of cloth). Passing a death sentence would certainly be something to consider.


RB4U purpleToday is Author Tina Donahue’s blog day.

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~ Our February contest is on. Two – $50 GIFT CARDS & MORE


If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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~Coming Soon~




About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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1 Response to Chatter & Chopsticks

  1. treknray says:

    I first learned to eat with chopsticks in Okinawa in 1965. In 1967 I bought a set of hashi with an ebony case in Japan at a little shop in Yokohama. The merchant wanted the equivalent of $20. Haggling over price was the way things were done. I got him down to $2. I was the last customer before he closed for the evening. It was considered bad luck to not sell to the last customer of the day. I had heard that from friends who had been in Japan longer than I had.

    There was a running joke that you weren’t an expert until you could eat soup with chopsticks.

    Interesting that chopsticks had something to do with chops. I had always assumed it had something to do with how they were made or the shape.

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