Q. I was taught as a youngster not to eat with my fingers. I understand there is one food acceptable to be eaten with the hand, or fingers, that is chicken. Am I right?
A. Not necessarily. Chicken is only sometimes a finger food. You might eat chicken with your fingers if you are in a chicken-in-a-basket kind of restaurant, at home, or at the home of a friend who announces that fingers are the mode for eating (usually when chicken is served bone-in). Otherwise, you use a knife and fork, this is especially true when dining at a more formal restaurant, even if the chicken is served bone-in.
Many foods are meant to be eaten with your hands (tacos for instance). With some foods it depends on how they are served. Pizza can be eaten with either a fork and knife or your hands depending on the setting and style of pizza. Asparagus served firm and with a dipping sauce may be a finger food at a casual meal, but grilled and drizzled with oil and served as a side vegetable it is meant to be eaten with a fork and knife.
Consider how messy the food is and how easily you can pick up it up. Always take note of the formality of the environment/occasion and your host’s preferences or behavior (are they eating asparagus with their fingers?)