Eating food with the hands in today’s Western society can sometimes be perceived as being unhygienic, bad mannered and primitive.
In the Big Brother series some years back, an English participant complained about an Indian participants use of her hands during food preparations and her eating habits, “They eat with their hands in India, don’t they? Or is that China? You don’t know where those hands have been.”
The Ayurvedic texts teach that each finger is an extension of one of the five elements. The thumb is agni (fire) (you might have seen children sucking their thumb, this is nature’s way of aiding the digestion in children at an age when they are unable to do an physical activity to aid the digestion), the forefinger is vayu (air), the middle finger is akash (ether – the tiny intercellular spaces in the human body), the ring finger is prithvi (earth) and the little finger is jal (water).
You may have noticed that elders in the family hardly ever use utensils to measure all the different type of masala, and would instead prefer to use their hands to measure the quantity instead. As each handful is tailored to provide a suitable amount for the own body. Overall there are 6 main documented forms that the hands take when obtaining a measurement a certain type of food ranging from solid food to seeds, and flour.