Do you eat normally? What is “normal” anyway? Well, I certainly can’t tell you. All I know is that apparently I have some weird habits when it comes to eating. Although slightly embarrassing, I can’t seem to stop myself from doing these things. Why share these habits if they are embarrassing? To make you laugh, I suppose. Or maybe to see if there are others out there like me or to hear about weird eating habits that you have. Go ahead…entertain yourself at my expense.
Quirky Eating Habit #1: I smell everything
That’s right. I have to smell everything before I eat it the first time. This has kept me from eating spoiled food or drinking curdled milk, but it also looks socially unacceptable. The bad thing is that I don’t even realize I’m doing it half the time until someone gets a funny look on their face and asks, “Did you seriously just smell that?” “Uh… yes. Yes I did.”
This isn’t limited to just food, though. I smell pretty much everything. I can control this if I think about it, but often just do it automatically. My family thinks I have a keen sense of smell and can smell things others don’t notice. I’ve actually been handed questionable milk or other items and asked to determine whether it was still good, like I’m some sort of professional smeller. Hey, maybe I could get a job doing this (just don’t ask me to test deodorant!).
Quirky Eating Habit #2: “Even Distribution”
This one is something I like to call “even distribution.” I can’t stand when things aren’t mixed thoroughly to taste the same throughout. An example would be a Chalupa Supreme from Taco Bell. They often put a blob of meat on one half, a blob of sour cream on the other and an uneven amount of lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. I have to open it up and mix it around before I can eat it. If I get a deluxe cheeseburger or something, I immediately open it and distribute the pickles and other topings. However, if the type of food calls for it, I will just mix it all together. An example would be meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn; I would just put them into one big glob. It looks pretty gross, but it sure tastes good.
Quirky Eating Habit #3: Going around the plate
I don’t how to describe this exactly, but let’s say I have a plate of multiple types of food. I have to go around the plate eating a bite of each. Instead of eating all of my corn, then all of my chicken, then all of my potatoes or whatever, I have to continuously have variety (unless I decide to mix them all together, like I mentioned above). I also usually take a drink at just the right intervals so that I can finish with a bite of each and my last swig of my drink. I don’t even purposely plan it; it just works out that way. Sometimes, though, I go an entire meal without a drink and don’t even realize it.
Quirky Eating Habit #4: I hate messy hands
I somehow developed this neat freak tendency while eating. I can’t stand getting my fingers or face even the least bit greasy or messy. I have to have a napkin or wet rag anytime I eat or I go crazy. Even if I’m eating with a fork and nothing is getting on my face, I feel compelled to wipe my mouth after nearly every bite. I tend to avoid things like ribs, wings or watermelon on the rind. It’s not that I can’t eat them or don’t enjoy them, I just don’t like getting messy. If there are options, I will pick the one that is not as messy. If I eat corn on the cob, I eat it really fast, so I can hurry up and wipe off my hands and face. Totally weird, I know.
My sister even thought I taught this habit to my young nephew when I lived with her for awhile, because when I fed him as a toddler, I always wiped his hands if he had food on them. Eventually, he started asking for a napkin when he ate. I think he has stopped caring so much since I moved out two years ago.
Quirky Eating Habit #5: I am a slow eater
I eat very slowly. When I eat alone, I don’t notice it as much because there is no one to compare it to. When I eat with a group, however, I am almost always the last one to finish. If I’m with others, I talk a lot while eating, too, which is another reason I take a long time. I can easily make a plate of food last 45 minutes to an hour. My food might be cold by the time I’m done, but I take the time to savor every bite. I’ve heard that when you eat slowly, you eat less and it is better for your digestive system. I don’t know about eating less, but I enjoy it more. I only have 30 minutes for lunch at work and eating that fast is hard to do.
Quirky Eating Habit #6: I have to eat about every five hours or so
I probably have something wrong with me, like blood-sugar issues, but when I go more than five hours without eating, I often get very shaky and feel terrible. I need food immediately. I’ve had a blood-sugar fasting test done where I didn’t eat for a long time and they took my blood. Even though I passed out and had to be revived with orange juice, the tests still came back normal. Regardless, I need to eat frequently or I will start to shake and sometimes even briefly pass out or fall down. Just ask my husband how cranky I can get if he denies me food.
Him: “Are you sure we need to stop somewhere for food? Can’t you just wait until we get home?”
Me, with a crazy look in my eyes: “I’m going to bite your arm off!”
Him: “Okay, okay. We’ll stop!”
Maybe it’s not exactly like that, but if I get crabby, a lack of food is the most likely reason.
Quirky Eating Habit #7: I hate wasting food
I was raised to clean my plate. We had a big family and money was tight. We served ourselves, but if we put it on our plate, we better darn well eat it! However, I was never picky and don’t remember having to be scolded or coerced into eating. I liked to eat and obediently ate everything on my plate, even at school. This carried into my adult life and now I always feel I have to finish my food, even if I don’t like it or someone else served me way too much and I’m about to burst. The only exception is at restaurants, where the portions are huge. I typically bring half home and eat it for lunch the next day, though, so it still gets eaten. If something is truly awful, I can let it go, but I will be racked with guilt if I throw out any good food. My husband always refuses to eat the last bite or so of his food for some reason and I have to take it off his plate and eat it. Trust me, in our early dating days, this made him look at me funny, but it’s who I am and he accepts me, weird eating habits and all.
So, am I totally crazy when it comes to eating or do most people have odd little habits? Let me know what you think in the comments below. I do remember how Robert Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond (played by Brad Garrett) had the funny habit of touching his food to his chin before each bite. I felt a little better when I saw that episode.
To read more from this quirky eater, click here.
A sort-of related article I wrote a couple of years ago: Creative Ways to Get Children to Eat: Make it a Game, Give Praise, Use Distractions and Other Ideas.
To be notified when I publish, go to my profile, hit “subscribe” next to my picture and enter your e-mail. Thanks for reading, friends (and family)!