The Art of Eating

It was a dark and stormy night.

With the knife in my right hand, I slowly crept up behind my innocent victim and stabbed into it with my knife. It didn’t make a sound.

But it tasted divine!

There are a lot of different ways to eat a meal, depending on the type of meal you are eating. What I mean by ways is the method unto which we, as humans, indulge in the three main meals of the day: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

(Shush, you Oxford comma haters).

As usual, my husband is a victim on my blog. I can’t help but use him as an example–him and me have very different ways of eating various foods. He has an oddball way of eating, but that’s just my point of view.

You be the judge.

Early on in our relationship I noticed something different about the way he ate a meal. With a steak, baked potato, and broccoli sitting at the steakpotatobroccoliready on his plate, he would eat the steak first, but would not touch the other items on his plate until the steak was gone.

I, on the other taste bud, like to rotate my food. Rotate meaning slicing a piece of steak, eating it, and then possibly taking a bite of broccoli or the baked potato after I’ve tasted the steak.

When I first noticed his eating habit of only eating one food group at a time, I mentioned to him that he was missing out on the food experience.

“What do you mean, ‘food experience’?”

“When a chef prepares a menu item, the foods are meant to complement each other. Not that you would understand this since you’ve never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in your entire life.”

“I happen to like the way I eat my food. I’m not one to mix stuff up.”

“What about eating mashed potatoes and creamed corn? Haven’t you ever mixed the two together at some point?”

“Let me first start off by saying that I have and will NEVER eat creamed corn. Corn is evil.”

“Just like peanut butter?”

“Worse than peanut butter.”

“Why is that?”

My husband’s response killed me. “If you eat corn, you don’t digest it, and then you get kernel poop.”

“Wow. That’s the reason you don’t like corn?”

“Mostly. It also gets stuck in your teeth.”

“Good point. However, creamed corn doesn’t get stuck in your teeth; it’s too creamy. Anyway, my point is–and I do have a point–that when a chef prepares a meal, the foods are meant to be eaten together. You don’t eat one thing on the plate at a time and then ‘lazy-susan’ it to the next item on your plate.”

This discussion has happened periodically throughout our marriage, and to this day, he still eats one item at a time on his plate. He preps his baked potato by adding butter, sour cream, and salt. He places small pads of butter on his hot broccoli. He rarely eats these items in their entirety, rather focusing instead on devouring the steak and nothing else.

Do you think this is weird and he is completely missing out on the entire food experience as a chef would want him to experience, or am I nuts?

Don’t answer that; I mean about me being nuts part.

Here’s my take on breakfast foods:

Toast shouldn’t be burnt–ever. You should also never eat toast unless it has something slathered on it. Eating dry toast is left to those who are sick in bed with the flu and can’t keep anything else down but dry toast and water.

Oatmeal is tricky. It’s super-hot when you eat it, so my method is to take the spoon and scrape over the top of the bowl where the creamy oats are cooler than the morsels below it. Some people just prefer to dig their spoon into the bowl and take their chances of getting third degree burns followed by blisters on the roof of their mouths, but not me. I’m an oatmeal scraper.

Don’t ask how my husband eats oatmeal; he doesn’t eat that either.

Let’s move on to midday and indulging in lunch, shall we? Do you eat a sandwich with or without crust? If you are a crust-less eater, your mommy must still be making your sandwiches for you. You are probably also a very picky eater, preferring to eat off the kids menu rather than eating adult food. Snow-balling on to that point, you are also losing a lot of the bread with the possibility of losing a finger.

There are those who like a full sandwich compared to others who prefer to cut their sandwiches in half; either it be a diagonal or vertical cut. If you are still cutting it in four squares, I only have five words for you.

What is wrong with you?

How I see it, if the sandwich is big, it’s cut-worthy. Otherwise, if it’s just a standard bologna and cheese sandwich I would eat it whole. By “whole” I don’t mean putting the entire thing into my mouth at one time. I’m not practicing for Nathan’s famous hot dog eating contest, and my mouth isn’t that big; although some may dispute this point.

My husband will only eat white bread. A loaf of wheat bread in this house would feel completely rejected, turn green from envy of the white bread being so popular, and die a tragic death in the garbage can.

Salads these days come in various forms. It’s not your mother’s iceburg eatingsaladlettuce salad anymore. When I was a little girl, it would be my job to make the salad. We ate salad every single night.

Don’t ask me why; it was just part of the nightly food ritual in our house.

My Italian mother taught me how to make vinegar and oil dressing from scratch. Eye-balling the amounts of vinegar and oil, while adding just the right amounts of salt, pepper, and oregano, it rivaled any of the bottled salad dressings you see on the grocery store shelves today.  The salad always had to have iceburg lettuce; never romaine. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and black olives were added as well as thinly sliced onion.

It was also my job to feed the dog, peel potatoes, mow the lawn, and trim the hedges, but that’s another story.

A big bowl was placed in the middle of the table. Our family didn’t use individual salad bowls. That indulgence and notable sanitary requirement was only used when company came over.

Saliva anyone?

If I wasn’t eating enough salad because I was exhausted from trimming the hedges, my mother would bang her fork a few times on the edge of the bowl and say, “EAT!”

I now hate iceburg lettuce with my entire being. My husband, on the other hand, loves iceburg lettuce. He gets those big, chunky wedges with bleu cheese dressing when we go out to eat, and it’s the most unappetizing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. This is probably because my memories killed the fondness for it.

I also think iceburg lettuce is 99.9% water. In reality, it has absolutely no taste; it’s the equivalent of celery. If you put iceburg lettuce and celery into the same bowl, you wouldn’t be able to tell what you were eating if you were blindfolded.

Speaking of eating salad, you need to use a fork. Whenever I see someone holding a fork like a Neanderthal, I can’t help but wonder if they were raised by, well, neanderthals.

One of my stepson’s eats this way. He was taught at an early age to eat with a fork by holding the entire stem of the fork using his fist. He was what we like to call a “shoveler.” Using his spoon to shovel into his plate of whatever-it-was and scooping it up into his mouth.

He never grew out of the habit. His dad and me make fun of him now.holdingforkwrongway Being 20 years old,  you’d think he would make the change-up. I keep imagining on his wedding day, (at some point we are imagining he will get married to someone who doesn’t mind him eating like a Neanderthal), that he’s sitting at the head table shoveling food into his mouth while wearing a light blue tuxedo with a ruffled shirt and big bow tie.

The horror of it.

In his defense, he said he physically can’t hold a fork or spoon the correct way. His muscles can’t be manipulated to make the switch from Neanderthal to human being.

I have no comment. I’ll just sit here and roll my eyes in the back of my head.

The art of eating can go on and on. Too little dip or too much dip on your chip? Roll the spaghetti on your fork or suck it up through your lips until you lose oxygen and call for paramedics?

Whatever you do, don’t drink shots of Jagermeister while you laugh. The odds of you snorting it out of your nose are pretty high. The odds of getting a sinus infection are even higher.

Not that I would know this.









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