In the Valentine’s Day tradition of cozying up, we’re choosing to get up close and personal with our food instead of any sort of human being. To get started, go into the kitchen, but down the tongs and abandon your spatula.

The best way to get to know your dinner intimately is to prepare your meal with your hands.

Certain tasks, like tossing salad and pinching out a portion of salt, are best accomplished with those hands of yours (so long as they are clean). You’ll get a sense of how food should feel when it’s ready. So wash off your paws, and let’s get get close to our food.

**Why To Cook With Your Hands**

1. Tossing Salad

Your hands will help the dressing coat the lettuce more thoroughly than any salad tosser utensil.

2. Flipping Sandwiches

A hand steadies the sandwich and makes sure the filling stays in.

3. Pinching Salt

You can really feel how much salt you’re giving your food when you pinch with your hands.

4. Forming Meatballs

It’s like play dough!

5. Shaping Dumplings

You need your hands to portion out the filling and seal up the little envelopes. There’s really no other good way.

6. Crimping Crusts

You can fold over the crust with attractive little crimps–if you use your hands.

7. Making Sushi

You can buy all the tools in the world, but in the end, your hands make the best sushi rollers out there.

8. Sprinkling Cheese

As with salt, you’ll get a tactile gauge of exactly how much cheese you’re garnishing with.