03 March 2009

Mix & Match, or Separate but Equal?

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like 
and let the food fight it out inside."
- Mark Twain, American humorist/writer (1835-1910)

I was having lunch the other day at a little Mediterranean cafe on Capitol Hill (falafel, baba ghanoush, hummous & dolmathes). I observed a young woman with her lunch across the restaurant. It looked like she had ordered a gyro sandwich and fries. She ate all the fries on her plate before even unwrapping the gyro. This struck me as profoundly odd. I've never understood people that eat one item at a time on their plates. I usually go around the plate sampling everything, trying to leave a little bit of what I like best as the last bite. I have NEVER eaten just one item at a time for any meal in my life (unless, of course, the meal was just one item - like Phad Thai or something). What makes one do such a thing?

I'm not saying it's a bad thing, or wrong. I just don't understand it. Perhaps I'm the odd one.

How do you eat? A bit of one thing after another until the plate is empty, or just one single item until it is finished, then moving on to the next?

And why? That's the million dollar question. Why do you eat the way you do?

No judgements here, just curiosity...

Got a few comments already...
Red, your tale of bread barriers reminded me of this 
fantastic illustration from the hilarious kid's book, 
"What Are You So Grumpy About?" by Tom Lichtenheld. Genius!
(Sennet will be introduced to many of this man's great books...)

And CAE, I think we've discussed that before. 
A huge, 50lbs bag of Purnia "People Chow" was also mentioned 
at the time, if I remember correctly... (which, 

KJT - Seattle (2009)


cae said...

As a kid I ate one thing at a time. I usually started with my least favorite item, then moved in towards the prize. Not always, however but one thing at a time. My mom used to get mad at this "It all mixes together in your stomach," she would say. Yes, mom, but I don't have taste buds in my stomach ...

Now? I move around the plate, eating on one thing until I my mouth desires change.

If you want a weird (and potentially blasphemous) eating comment outta me, dig this: I'm not a big fan of eating. I don't hate it but ... If I could, I'd plug into an IV at night and never be troubled by having to stop and take in a meal again.

redwithenvy said...

i'm a one-at-a-time eater too. fries always go first, since they are nasty to eat cold.

on thanksgiving, for example (since there is usually a lot of different piles of food) i will start at about 5 o'clock on the plate and work my way around clockwise, eating all of one thing until moving on. and i don't like my food to touch or mix. i put up bread barriers to keep that from happening. i agree with CAE - taste buds gotta savor one thing at a time.

what i don't get are those people who eat breakfast with pancakes on the same plate as eggs and bacon. and worse? they pour syrup over everything and eat it all together. yuck city.

cae said...

You know, I have discovered a few things about the mixing of certain flavors.

Through an accidental purchase, I discovered that maple bacon is not only safe it's delicious. As a kid I was afraid of syrup on the sausage but, now that I'm older ... I guess that goes without saying.

Further, while a corporate record store drone, I was wont to snag a surreptitious single-shot each of java and cold, homemade burrito - thus I know that the taste of coffee and refried beans is disturbingly reminiscent of chocolate milk.

There's some other crap around in here ... *dig dig dig

KJT said...

Another that came in via email:

If there is an interesting variety, Thanksgiving for instance. I would taste the dressing first because it's probably my favorite. And by the way, the dressing, mashed potatoes and turkey will all have gravy on them, so that may actually be my real favorite. The sweet potatoes,then mashed potatoes, then the veggie (whatever) and probably the turkey last. I really like turkey but it probably is the least favorite thing on that plate. Then I just continue eating around the plate and if it looks like the dressing is going too fast, I will have a second helping of that, before I run out of other stuff. I probably have a bite of cranberry sauce with every third circling of the plate because sometimes I do like the sweet and salty, but not too often. Hilarious to think about it. On an El Burrito original special (great Mexican food) I start with the taco first and then the tostatdo, with occasional bites of the cheese enchilada and burrito. You have to eat those first if you are interested in finger food, otherwise they get green chili sopping and become fork food... So I think I do start with my favorite and try to end up with one last bite of the favorite.

redwithenvy said...

a few years ago, i got a new job and a girl bought me lunch the first week. she went to KFC right after they started their chicken bowls, which amounted to a base layer of mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cheese, and fried chicken strips. it's was effing chaos.

i was poor, and she did it out of kindness, so i could hardly tell her that she ordered my a meal straight from hell. so i politely ate as much as i could, stressful as each bite was. it wasn't bad, but i don't think i could bring myself to do it again.

dagumon said...

not able to wax so eloquently about my love for food and it's infinite possibilities...here are some of my favorites: liver pate on pumpernickel bread topped with cooked red cabbage, spaghetti carbonara, peanut butter w/ cream cheese sandwich, warm bone marrow on toast with pickled king oyster mushrooms..HOLY HEAVEN!!, a bacon maple bar (from voodoo doughnuts in portland,or.made me forget about sex for a week! which if one knows me, is very difficult.) food and sex baby, and not like the george constanza remedy! yuck!...i could go on and on.... hot chocolate with chunks of cheese (white cheddar) to spoon out when just barely melting, rueben sandwich dipped in tartar, a bite of marcona almond/fig/pear/and some type of aged cheese...ohh momma! though tasty by themselves, a little bite of each is a fucking carnival in your mouth...my own garden of earthly deights! fried plantain w/cheese with ajiaco (thanks mom). damn, now i'm hungry again...hey kevin! let's eat!

bunnylishiss said...

The guy I was in love with all through high school(preacher's kid, drummer) totally ate like that. All the peas, all the potatoes, the meat. Creepy. How can you not enjoy flavor combinations?
In the case of the woman and her gyro, I'd grant a stay of execution, it's not like the two of them go well together or anything....it's just fries, baby.