Yea, it's kinda embarrassing isn't it. Our ds at 39 mos still prefers hands, though he is skilled with a fork. He finally gets it that rice really works best on a spoon, but noodles are always by hand. I think he likes the feel of his food and likes the speed in which he can get it into his mouth, so we don't bug him too much. We always keep a washcloth at the table to wipe hands after meals. Really messy stuff, like syrupy things, he will use a fork. Patience, patience. A good eater, which mine is not, to me would be worth having over a messy eater. If he is interested and interacting with his food, my hope is that he will eat better. he is still a bare noodles kinda kid (no sauces). We also make a lot (we... I mean my dh) of our own stuff (pasta, bread) so that he sees us handling it a lot with our hands before we eat it. He likes to touch all the stuff we cook. People learn all sorts of ways, tactile is a key one.
What about playdough to help get the feelies out before dinner? We also let our ds set the table and use any fork he picks for himself (he likes the adult sized ones).