8 Uses for Chopsticks…

…besides eating and serving food. Please only try these if you are already skilled with the chopsticks, and have had a lot of practice (except the first one, you don’t need skill/practice using chopsticks for steaming, as you’re laying them down to cook on them, which may require some very basic pre-k building skills).

  1. You can use chopsticks to steam food, providing that the chopsticks fit across whatever you are using, and you have enough of them. For indoor cooking, I have access to an electric wok, an electric kettle/pot for heating water, an electric ice cream maker, and an electric rice cooker (There are two rice cookers and two woks, but only one wok seems to work and one of the rice cookers may not be working, or at least not working well. I’m also borrowing a waffle iron and a blender, at least the latter of which I may return today, and have access to mortars (am using the big wooden one) and am borrowing a pestle. Really, I am borrowing all of these items, as none of them belong to me. To steam, I lay a lot of chopsticks across the wok. They don’t go across the top, but on the inside are far enough up that the food is separated from the water. So far, I have used them to steam potatoes, carrots, onion, leftover yellow bean curd (or whatever that food is), and some noodles that were wrapped in a leaf (maybe banana or bamboo leave—I’m not sure which) and then in paper, but something on the paper melted, or looked like the paper melted in some places, or was starting to melt (Maybe it was plastic, or wax paper? I think it was probably wax paper, or so I hope.). You basically lay the chopsticks across (and you can cross them, if needed), put your food (carefully) on the chopsticks, and then pour water into the wok. Turn it on, cover, and let it steam. Check back every 5-10 minutes if steaming on high, to replace the water, if needed. It steams quickly (even potatoes), about 20-30 minutes for small whole or halved large potatoes (may still be a little firm inside). Less for diced potatoes and carrots. If dicing/slicing, consider the spacing of the chopsticks.
  2. I have also used chopsticks for picking up something hot, or something I thought was hot, such as the bowl of the rice cooker. You need skill and strength for this, and preferably use it for empty containers. Hold a pair of chopsticks in each hand, and then carefully use one pair on each side for lifting the container. Now I prefer to use a cloth or something else, as it’s not convenient, but if you have nothing else and don’t want to wait for the container to cool down, then you can try. I don’t remember exactly why it was so urgent. Maybe there was something in the rice cooker that I wanted to pour out? It’s possible that there might have been some broth or something…I’m not sure if I have done this, as my memory may be deceiving me, and I think I haven’t but you can use chopsticks for picking hot potatoes/sweet potatoes and other thick vegetables from a toaster oven rack, too. I don’t recommend a conventional oven (although you may be able to if you are even more careful), because it’s bigger and your hand/arm may need to go in farther and may be burned more easily. I suspect that you can also use chopsticks to pick the food off of a grill, too. remember to be careful, though—hot!
  3. While thinking about it, even though I don’t recall having ever done this myself, I suspect that you could also use chopsticks to pick toast out of the toaster. It’s safer than using a metal fork/knife, if the chopsticks are of a woody material, such as bamboo or wood (or maybe even plastic would work). I still recommend unplugging the toaster, though.
  4. You can also use chopsticks to pick up items that are a little (but not too far) out of reach, and to fish items out of cracks (so long as they are not in too far/too deep). If using in dirty places, I do recommend throwing the chopsticks away afterward.
  5. I have used chopsticks for picking up trash outside. If you try this, be careful of how large the items you are picking up are. You may need two pairs of chopsticks, or to find another way if the item is too big. Definitely throw the chopsticks away (or keep them outside to use in similar unsanitary circumstances) when you have finished the task.
  6. I’ve also used them to dig a little bit, particularly around trash I was trying to pick up, by jabbing at the dirt. I wouldn’t recommend trying this to dig big holes, but you can chisel away at some dirt that might be surrounding something small that you are trying to pick up. Definitely throw the chopsticks away (or keep them outside to use in similar unsanitary circumstances) when you have finished the task.
  7. Even more disgusting, I have used chopsticks to pick up the carcasses of small, dead animals. If you have access to rubber/plastic/latex/vinyl gloves, I still recommend wearing them, but especially if you don’t, and if you are careful, this can give some distance between your hand and the chopsticks. If you do, I still recommend the chopsticks, to give some distance. Still definitely throw away the gloves, and definitely throw away the chopsticks after completing the task. I recommend throwing them away with other trash outside (such as in a container or burning pit or something) somewhere and not bringing them into the house. Before trying this, make sure you are definitely skilled with the chopsticks, and already know what you will put the animal in, or where you will put/bring it. Do not try to use the chopsticks to dig a hole for the animal and then bury it, but only to carry the animal. Make sure the animal is small enough, no bitter than a mouse. You might find yourself needing two pairs. If you need to leave the chopsticks, but them down in the ground, with the end sticking down that you touched the animal with, and wash your hands before you need to do whatever you needed to do before returning to finish the task (assuming you are still going to try with chopsticks, and if not, throw away the chopsticks). Wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly afterward. To be safe, I also recommend wearing a mask to cover your mouth and/or eyes especially if the death is not fresh and it’s also not bones, as in, if it’s rotting. Clean any parts of your body that had been exposed to the animal, and wash your clothes too if they had been exposed (such as if something went wrong, or the animal was bigger than expected, fell apart, etc). If you expect the animal had some deadly disease, such as rabies,don’t try to pick it up in the first place without first seeking professional advice or removal, and/or see a doctor if you have been exposed. Remember that this is for mouse-sized (not NYC rat sized, but no bigger than field mouse or baby chicken (not young chicken, but actually still a peeping little baby that follows its mommy around) sized animals.
  8. You can try using chopsticks for removing or placing mousetraps, too. If the mousetrap is set and did not catch anything, I recommend snapping them with a broom or some other longer pole first. I’m not sure if I did this one, either.

Any questions?

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