We have traditionally eaten our food with hands, without considering the purpose, reason or science behind it and this is absolutely fine. Our traditions have lived long enough to go through the test of time. How often you hear of side effects of medicine after 50 years while the old traditional way lived through generations without any side effect.
The perfect example is cooking food in mustard oil, the new science tells that its bad for our health but didn’t generation and generations lived happily without knowing the science, this is called wisdom and knowledge of our own roots. Science is a guiding principle, when combined with tradition, can do magic.
So, why we love to eat with our hands? Not necessarily everyone does that, its matter of convenience as well but it comes of food, its never been a means to full our stomach, its always been a connection to our soul.
In Indian culture, there is an old saying that, “eating food with your hands not only feeds your body but also the mind and spirit”. The practice of eating with hands originated with Ayurvedic teachings. The Vedic people knew the power held in the hand.
The ancient native tradition of eating food with the hand is derived from Mudra practice, which is prevalent in many aspects of Hinduism. Mudras are used during meditation and are used and are very prominent within the many classical forms of dance, such as Bharatnatyam. The hands are considered the most precious organ of action. This is linked to the Vedic prayer of
“Karagre vasate Laksmih karamule Sarasvati Karamadhye tu Govindah prabhate karadarsanam”
(On the tip of your finger is Goddess Lakshmi, on the base of your finger is Goddess Saraswati; in the middle of your fingers is Lord Govinda), which we recite whilst looking at our palms. T Thus, this shloka suggests that all the divinity lies in human effort. Our hands and feet are said to be the conduit of five elements.
The Ayurvedic texts teach that each finger is an extension of one of the five elements. Through the thumb comes space; through the forefinger, air; through the mid finder, fire; through the ring finger, water; and through the little finger itis earth.
Gathering the fingertips as they tough the food stimulates the five elements and invites Agni to bring forth the digestive juices. As well as improving digestion, the person becomes conscious of the tastes, textures, and smells of the food they are eating. Each finger thus aids in the transformation of food, before it passes onto internal digestion.
Book Source: Foundations of Ethnobotany (21st Century Perspective) | By S. Chandra, A.K. Jain
So, what does modern science says;
The traditional understanding in neuroscience is that tactile sensations from the skin are only assembled to form a complete experience in the cerebral cortex, the most advanced part of the brain. However, this is challenged by new research findings that suggest both that other levels in the brain play a greater role than previously thought, and that a larger proportion of the brain’s different structures are involved in the perception of touch. ((https://www.sciencedaily.com/releas…/2014/…/140925100404.htm)
Science proves what our teachings were, time to connect the food with soul and not only to fill our stomach.