'Most of the formula is serious physics,' says Dr Al-Khalili. 'Mass of the food, the size of the food; how slippery it is between the sticks. Then we had to put in the texture of the food, how crumbly it is and so on.'
They also found that if your fear of using chopsticks runs deep, you might have some serious practising to do. 'If you wanted to pick up a piece of chicken of appropriate size ... it would take you 20 years eating one Chinese meal with chopsticks per week for the comfort factor to be the same as picking the bloody thing up with your fingers,' said Dr Al-Khalili.
Fortunately, Southerly Buster has no trouble with sticks of mass consumption program related activities, apart from a pathetic incident in a Belgian restaurant when his scant vocabulary forced him to ask him for les batons de chop.