My husband and I had lunch recently at our local Noodles & Company, a fast food chain that specializes in Italian and Asian noodle-based dishes. He had the Japanese Pan Noodles with marinated steak, and I had the Thai Curry Soup with tofu.
Beverages and condiments are self-serve at Noodles & Company, and while we were filling our drink cups and picking up napkins, chopsticks and hot sauce before heading to our table I noticed a container of brightly colored plastic objects wrapped in cellophane. I couldn’t resist picking one up. Okay, maybe I picked up more than one; I’m a collector at heart, apparently. Anyway, when I looked more carefully at the package at our table I discovered it was a “Chopstick Buddy,” two plastic collars that are linked together so you can slip them over a pair of chopsticks so they stay together, and theoretically help you learn how to eat with chopsticks.
I’m impressed that Noodles & Company have stepped up to the task of teaching their customers how to use chopsticks. But I couldn’t help thinking: why doesn’t somebody do this with chopstick rests? It would be easy for a restaurant to hand out small plastic hashioki wrapped in cellophane bags; maybe they could even print advertising on them, or inscribe them with fortunes, like fortune cookies in Chinese restaurants. I think chopstick rests would be a very appreciated item, particularly at fast food restaurants where the tables aren’t always cleaned between patrons, and you might not want the tips of your chopsticks to touch anything other than your food and your mouth.
Why not? Seems to me that hashioki wrapped in plastic would be an even better Chopstick Buddy.