So much of parenting seems to be about food: What to feed your child, how often, how to solve picky eating, when to schedule mealtimes, and, for some reason, instilling in them the idea that elbows should be kept off the table at all times. (Seriously, why was this so drilled into us?) But in spite of it all, each of us develops an idiosyncratic way of eating, starting from the earliest moments of our solid-food years. What are your strangest habits? What kind of little food rituals do you indulge in as you’re hovering over your plate? To get things started, we members of The Takeout staff shall confess our own oddities. It’s only fair.
As the Lorax speaks for the trees, I speak for the overalls-wearing spinsters who live in solitude. I’ve written about the pleasures of living alone so many times that I may as well plaster a sign to my front door that reads, “Defenseless Weirdo Lives Here. Prowlers Welcome!” Safety hazards aside, living alone is a true delight in that it allows me to fly my freak flag 24/7. I hardly ever eat in the presence of others, which means that my unsavory food habits are many. But the strangest is probably my semi-regular consumption of Lean Cuisine microwave pepperoni pizzas, a genuinely delicious holdover from my low-fat, low-calorie, low-morale junior high years.
I love these stupid pizzas. You cook them for like two minutes, and you’ve got yourself a perfectly cheesy entree. But my love for the pizzas isn’t the weird part. The weird part is what I do with the pizzas. At some point in junior high, I developed a complex system to milk maximum enjoyment out of each pizza. It goes like this:
1. Wait five minutes for pizza to cool and cheese to congeal.
2. Placed cooled pizza immediately on chest to minimize pizza-to-mouth travel time.
3. Nibble carefully around edges of pizza, removing crust to form a shape that roughly resembles a ninja star.
4. Peel cheese off of pizza. Eat cheese.
5. Lick sauce off of pizza. Pause for a moment to admire strange, roughly octagonal dough formation. The dough is naked. The dough is vulnerable.
6. Eat dough. Watch three hours of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit until eyelids flutter closed. Sleep the deep, dreamless sleep of the Lean Cuisine-loving masses.
What can I say? I know what I like. —Lillian Stone, staff writer
When I eat tacos, I don’t eat them in a linear fashion. What I’ll do is start on one end with one big bite, and then my next bite of the taco will be on the opposite side. I didn’t think this was weird until a former coworker pointed it out. But why do I do it?
It’s because all the stuff starts to fall out of the other end! I know that, inevitably, some of the taco fillings will come out, but I’m trying to minimize the mess by keeping it all in my mouth. Is this a strange way to eat a taco? Please tell me I’m not alone at the top of this hill.
Now, of course, in the end, this doesn’t really work too well. When you’ve got half-moon bites out of each side of a taco, the final result starts to look like an apple core, and then things fall out from both sides. Then the tortilla falls apart at its hinge, and then everything just comes out all at once. Huh. Maybe I’m bad at eating tacos. I won’t let that stop me from eating as many as I want, any way I want, though. Stop making fun of me. — Dennis Lee, staff writer
I am defenseless in the presence of peanut butter. I regularly eat peanut butter sandwiches for dessert, occasionally for breakfast, and more often than I should as a midnight snack. (It cries to me from its cabinet in the middle of the night, and I have no choice to obey.) I’ll put it on bread to create the illusion that I’m civilized in front of my husband and children, but when left to my own devices, I eat it straight from the jar... with a fork.
I know, I know—you’re supposed to use spoons to eat things from jars, but I swear that with peanut butter, forks are the way to go. But when you scoop it up with a spoon, you get a glob of rich, condensed peanut butter which mucks up your mouth. To properly eat it with a fork, you must stab the peanut butter several times with a brisk up-and-down motion, which aerates it slightly while just enough peanut butter sticks to the tines. This method results a mouthful of peanut butter that delivers everything you’re craving, minus the heaviness. Then, to wash it down, I drink a few glugs of whole milk straight from the carton, because it truly does taste best that way. —Allison Robicelli