Great food is a function of three things - ingredients, cooking and getting it in the mouth.
The annual Weekender Food Edition rightly celebrates the first two parts of this equation, but that third leg isn't as straightforward as it sounds, depending on what we're eating, where we're eating it and how much we're concentrating.
The truth is, we're born messy eaters, as any parent familiar with the "trowel" method of feeding children will tell you.
Heap food on spoon, rub across mouth of child, hope some gets in.
Of course, most of it ends up on the bib, chin and anywhere else it can be thrown.
Supposedly it's a sensual learning experience for the child, and it pretty much goes full circle by the time we get to old age.
But in between there's adulthood where we're urged to be petite, discreet and hopefully accurate with our food, which can be tricky given the delivery systems we have to deal with.
Take the noodle for example - pasta, udon, soba, rice, doesn't matter - all variations on a garden hose theme attached to the mouth - guaranteed to splatter something somewhere.
Usually your glasses (I prefer safety), cheek or person sitting next to you.
Then there's the audio that goes with it.
Generating the required vacuum takes vigor and a certain devil may care attitude with the landing.
Little wonder some cultures have elevated the slurp to the height of good manners.
A practical approach to eating with gutso. I mean gusto.
The chopstick is another enemy of effective eating. Particularly eating rice.
How it ever caught on as a delivery system is hard to imagine given the dexterity and determination required.
Talk about making you hungry for success.
Sometimes dignity is the first casualty.
You swish that dumpling round with your chopstick for a few minutes.
Then you stab it ever so daintily and drop it into your lap trying to transfer it to your mouth.
Using your hands would be so much better, if only the dumpling soup wasn't so damn hot.
Maybe just quit pretending and ask the waiter for a fork.
Hands are a perfect delivery system if you're eating food designed to dribble down your forearms, like wings, ribs and tacos.
Always a challenge on a first date, but as the movie 91/2 weeks showed, better to go the full Micky Rourke if you want to make a lasting impression.
The kebab is by and large a reliable conveyor of food to the furnace although those last couple of bites have long been a challenge to decorum.
All that juice, hopes and dreams collecting at the bottom of what's usually been a good night out.
Don't muck about, just engulf - as you would the last bite of most pies, but beware third degree burns.
Which brings us to the bone suckers.
Unique types who specialise in deconstructing things with clinical precision, like crabs.
Gooping out flesh from every nook and crany with a zeal reminscent of a Tasmanian Devil, complete with snarls and high-pitched whining.
I got no bone to pick with them, because they've usually already picked them all, clean.
Consumed in the consuming.
Which is pretty much the way it's meant to be when it comes to great food in all its forms and glory.
Forget about the mess.
Let nature take its main course.