Hand-to-mouth eating makes fingers into forks

Jonathan Swift put it succinctly: ``Fingers were made before forks.'' This philosophy has never been more relevant than in 1988. Many of our favorite foods are those eaten ``from hand to mouth.'' This is true of pizza, fried chicken, spareribs, onion rings, even French fries.

Here are some favorite nibbles.

Buffalo Chicken Wings 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings (12 to 15 wings) Original Buffalo Wing Sauce (recipe follows)

Split wings at each joint and discard tips. Pat dry. Deep fry* at 400 degrees F. for 12 minutes or until completely cooked and crispy. Drain. Coat wings in sauce.

*Or bake wings on a rack in roasting pan at 425 degrees F. for 1 hour. Turn halfway through cooking time. Makes 24 to 30 pieces.

Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

Original Buffalo Wing Sauce 4 tablespoons red-hot cayenne pepper sauce 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Melt butter in saucepan. Add hot sauce. Heat through.

Chinese Sauce for Chicken Wings 4 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons red-hot cayenne pepper sauce 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 tablespoons honey 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Heat through.

French-Fried Zucchini Sticks 6 zucchini, 4 to 5 inches, unpeeled Salt 1/2 cup flour Salt and pepper to taste 1 teaspoon dried parsley 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano Fat for frying Grated Parmesan cheese

Cut zucchini lengthwise into ``fingers.'' If longer zucchini are used, cut in half. Spread sticks in a colander or on paper. Sprinkle with salt. Let stand 1 hour to draw out excess water. Pat dry with paper towel. Coat well with flour mixed with salt, pepper, parsley, and oregano. Fry, a few at a time, in deep hot fat 375 degrees F. until golden. Drain on paper toweling. Sprinkle with salt and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve at once.

Nachos 1 7 1/2-ounce box tortilla chips 1 16-ounce can refried beans or refried beans with green chilies 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies or 1 11 1/2-ounce jar jalapeno strips 2 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Spread tortilla chips on large baking sheet. Top each with beans and a few green chilies, or a slice of jalapeno pepper.

Sprinkle each with a tablespoon of cheese. Place under broiler until cheese melts, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Swiss Cheese Puffs 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup butter or margarine 1 envelope onion soup mix (not instant) 1 teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese 2 large eggs

In medium-size saucepan bring water, butter, soup mix, and mustard to a boil. Over low heat add flour all at once. Stir vigorously with wooden spoon about 30 seconds until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a ball. Remove from heat at once. Beat in cheese, then eggs, until mixture is smooth and cheese almost melted. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased large cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 375-degree F. oven 15 minutes until puffed and golden. Leave puffs in turned-off oven 10 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 24.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.