Joy and Gluttony

The rules for eating

September 16, 2014

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My husband thinks I’m weird. He tells me often. He thinks my dietary behaviour is bizarre and unnecessary. So I’ve decided to blog about it to find out if anyone else is doing this stuff (and then maybe we can form our own club and build a treehouse!) or if I am indeed a weirdo, alone in these crazy food laws.

Let’s be straight, here. I’m not talking about any kind of diet or the remnants of an eating disorder. I’ve never been on a diet in my life. My rules are “eat whatever you want, when you want and try not to have to prepare anything yourself because that’s dull”. This is perfectly reasonable, in my view. It just so happens that what I want to eat and when I want to eat it falls within these guidelines:

Scenario 1.
If eating a traditional meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables, I must eat all of the vegetables first. All of them. I hunt around the plate and even lift up the meat to check that a pea hasn’t taken refuge under there. Then I may start to eat the potatoes. Just before I finish the potatoes I may start to eat the meat. This gives me the time to figure out which is tastier in this particular meal; the meat or the potatoes. I can then finish with that, thus leaving the best taste in my mouth. This also means that if I have too much food on my plate and I don’t get through the whole meal I’ve eaten all of the vegetables and still managed to finish with a good taste in my mouth. Most importantly: Nothing healthy left on my plate to mock me. Nobody likes to be mocked by a carrot.

Scenario 2.
If I am eating something like a chicken stirfry, where vegetables, meat and noodles are all in it together, the first thing I put on my fork should be a vegetable. The last morsel I eat should be meat. I have given myself more freedom to mix up my eating than in scenario 1, simply because the meal served is more ‘mixed up’ but I do make a conscious effort to eat all the vegetables early on, and not leave any on my plate unless I really have been served a monster sized stirfry.

Scenario 3.
There is a special exemption for chips. If I am served a meal with chips I may take one or two before I eat a vegetable and then proceed to carry on with the rest of my meal as in scenario 1. This is because it is expected of me and it’s likely to destroy the whole zen of the table if I do something different. I don’t want to be that person.

Scenario 4.
Burgers. The chip rule in scenario 3 applies here in a more extreme sense. I may start with the chips but I should only keep eating until I get that panicked sensation that I may be getting too full from all that potato. I may then eat the burger. I must eat all of the vegetables in the burger; the tomato and lettuce et al. I will not just eat the cheese, bacon and meat patty while nibbling on the veg and the burger bun. If I am sure I won’t be able to finish the lot I must try and eat an equal amount of everything. A good way of doing this is to pick up the burger and eat it in the traditional manner with my hands. If I’m somewhere fancy, or the burger is too big for traditional hand based eating I cannot simply remove the top of the bun, cast it aside and eat the burger innards. Really, if you don’t intend to eat the bread you shouldn’t have ordered the bread. I can’t stand to see a quality, hand made burger bun cast aside untouched. Especially if it’s brioche. That’s just insulting to bread.

Scenario 5.
I don’t like it when everything is mooshed together on the plate, creating odd food alliances that you have no control over. Like when someone else throws gravy all over the plate without consultation. I eat gravy with meat. Not with vegetables or with mashed potatoes, screw what the Colonel says. Also, some sauces and gravys are stronger than others. I like to have full control over how much is going where. If I hate one part of the meal I like it to be separate enough that I can still enjoy the others. For instance, I don’t want something gross like baked beans contaminating my bacon or sausage. Baked beans are always a difficult one as they have quite the ‘invading army’ mentality. They are prone to infiltration into areas you don’t want them to go. Ugh.

Scenario 6.
No matter what meal I’m eating, I try and save some room for dessert. I am not always successful. The easiest way to do this is to skip having something foolish like an entrΓ©e. EntreΓ©s are rarely fulfilling or enticing and all they do is take up the stomach space that should be left for gooey gooey chocolate fudge. It’s a trap. Don’t let Mr Appetizer steal the spotlight that Miss Dessert has worked so hard for.

Those are my rules. I should point out that I don’t notice, nor do I give a hoot if anyone else at the table is following these or not. It’s not a lifestyle decision I care to foist upon anyone else. But it’s something that works for me. I started putting these together when I was a child and have perfected it over the years. I think it’s a good mix of keeping food and eating enjoyable without giving in completely to ridiculous hedonism.

So now for the big question: Am I a weirdo?

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  • I’m sure you’re not alone. My husband likes to eat one item at a time on his plate, usually starting with veg or meat to keep from eating too many carbs or starch. I like to go around and eat a little of everything, hopefully ending up with one bite left of each thing.

    • As long as you have a system, it’ll all be ok πŸ˜‰

  • I’m guessing as a kid your parents were pretty insistent on you eating your vegetables, so you start with those and get them out of the way so you can enjoy the “good stuff.” We always make our kids eat their fruit or veggies before a meal, otherwise they would never eat them. As a result, they do your #1 also.

    • No, not at all. Does that make this weirder? I remember being free to eat as I pleased, and ended up developing this for myself. Such a goody-two-shoes!

  • Sorry luv…I fear the weirdo label may well be apt!!! xxx

  • Hmmmm….

  • Liz

    what a fun post πŸ™‚ Though I don’t necessarily follow your rules per se, I think it is important that you have rules. It means you take what is on your plate–even the fact that you are given the opportunity to have said plate–and you respect this opportunity. You are going to enjoy it and give it some semblance of order. Yes?

    My rules are a bit less specific, but I’d like to think they also mean I am respecting my plate and what is on it. For instance: Don’t eat crap, crap being stuff that is not good. And if it’s really really really good, feel free to enjoy it immensely and become wildly enthusiastic about what you are eating. And tell others about it because they should know how good it is. As far as order of operations, doesn’t matter so much (to me, but that is cool that it does to you) because every meal is different. Though yes, veggies are the first. Definitely get the veggies in first.

    No, you are not a weirdo. You are magnificent πŸ˜€

    • Haha, thanks. I’m probably mad as a hatter, but that’s ok! πŸ˜€

      • Liz

        Ah, but that is a blogger: mad enough to write up a topic for anyone to see and not even for pay. We are all nuts.