Dal makhani and matar paneer, to bring back memories of dinnertime on the banks of the Ganges in Uttrakhand. To think I was only there but two months ago! Sat at my desk at work in front of the computer, I couldn’t resist putting my spoon down and eating a little with my hands; surreptitiously, as my Japanese colleagues would be shocked at the sight of something so barbaric. Whenever the subject of eating with one’s hands comes up, I always echo the words of Mughal Emperor Shahjehan (or it may have been the old soak Jehangir): “Eating with cutlery is like wooing a woman through an interpreter.” Whilst it always seems so hedonistic – mostly making me recall Frankie Howerd’s Up Pompeii – the food really does taste different when eaten with one’s fingers. On the campsite in India, we would obligingly hold out the jug of water for each other to wash our hands before and after each meal, a most civilised yet intimate ritual. Whilst you probably won’t get that in your local Indian restaurant, an after-dinner fingerbowl with a slice of lime in it – to refresh one’s lips – always brings back memories of eating tandoori chicken by the campfire to a background of nightjars and the rushing waters of the Ganges, and my daily mealtime attempts at learning Hindi, butchering the language to the indulgent smiles of my dining companion. Here in Japan, sushi is one of the few Japanese foods that traditionally should be eaten with one’s hands, and it always seems so much tastier to me that way, and it seems a shame when the beautifully crafted sushi falls apart in the soy sauce dish after being clumsily handled with chopsticks.