One of the cool things about invented national holidays is that it turns the spotlight on these small seemingly insignificant parts of our lives. Could we live without chopsticks and frozen yogurt (Feb. 6 is National Chopsticks Day and National Frozen Yogurt Day)? Probably, but a trip to a frozen yogurt shop, especially on a hot Phoenix summer day, is a refreshing mini-excursion worth the effort of venturing out into triple-digit temperatures. And using chopsticks instead of silverware is an added novelty that makes a meal special when eating Chinese or Japanese food.
During college, when I lived in Long Beach, California, I worked at a frozen yogurt shop. It was in a mini-mall that was mainly vacant, except for a gym. So basically I just stood around waiting for people to drop in after their workout. I don’t remember much about it, I think I spent most of my time there reading or doing my homework between customers. Occasionally I had to clean the yogurt machines, but because traffic was so slow and it wasn’t self-serve – the yogurt machines were behind the counter – there wasn’t much to clean.
I have a vague memory of one of the older male customers once giving me a pale pink bikini in a paper bag, a memory that I completely forgot about until right this second. I think it had white polka dots. Now that I think about it, that’s really creepy. I think at the time I just thought it was weird, and likely just thanked him and waited for him to leave. I don’t think I stayed at that job very long.
See, if it wasn’t for National Frozen Yogurt Day, I may have never remembered that odd moment.
I can’t think of a similar story to share for National Chopsticks Day, which is fortunate. So how about some history about chopsticks?
According to an article, “A brief history of chopsticks,” on history.com, “the Chinese have been wielding chopsticks since at least 1200 B.C., and by A.D. 500 the slender batons had swept the Asian continent from Vietnam to Japan.” According to the article, the reason chopsticks were used for eating is because “a population boom across China sapped resources and forced cooks to develop cost-saving habits. They began chopping food into smaller pieces that required less cooking fuel.” Since the food was bite-sized, knives were no longer needed and the practice of using chopsticks became commonplace.
Our Medley Moments
In the spirit of the day, we ate with chopsticks and then had frozen yogurt for dessert. For dinner we had take-out vegetarian orange chicken with rice from a neighborhood vegetarian restaurant – with five sets of chopsticks – and also used the chopsticks to eat rice noodles made at home. Then I took the older boys to the nearby Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt shop (the youngest one stayed home with my husband and we brought some home for them.)
The yogurt shop is much cooler than that strange one from my college days since there are so many more flavors and toppings and you can help yourself. Tonight was the first time there was a disco light flashing different colored lights on the walls and ceiling, as well as party music. I thought it might be a special celebration for National Yogurt Day, but apparently it was just a happening Tuesday night.