Thin, tapered eating utensils used throughout Asia. They normally range from 10 to 12 inches long (as short as 5 inches for children) and can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, bamboo and plastic. Chopsticks used for cooking or serving can be up to 20 inches long. Japanese chopsticks are pointed at the eating end, whereas Chinese chopsticks are blunt. To use chopsticks for eating, hold them about two-thirds of the distance from the pointed end, with the upper stick between your index finger and the tip of your thumb, much as you would a pencil. The bottom chopstick should remain stationary while the upper stick is moved in an up-and-down, pincerlike motion. Always keep the tips of the chopsticks even.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.