I have trouble eating. In front of people. I had TMJ years ago, and though I no longer suffer from the annoying clicking, jaw ache, or barely being able to open my mouth (for a while I was eating through a straw, which cannot really be called eating)—I still cannot open my mouth very wide.
Restaurant food is not made for someone who cannot relish their food with big bites. Salads are not cut in bite-size pieces, so I have to take a knife and fork to any salad I order, and I still tend to not be able to get it in my mouth without it: 1. Falling back on my plate; 2. Leaving a smear of dressing on my face; and/or 3. Being stuck with it half in and half out of my mouth, and having to stuff it in with my fingers. None of these would be easy to watch if you are eating with me. And I tell you, it is no fun being a messy eater.
People are kind. They ignore my difficulties and just continue conversing with me even though it is apparent that I cannot seem to feed myself with the proper etiquette. I really do try to cut things into small pieces, but sometimes I misjudge, and do not realize it until it is too late.
Have you ever tried eating a hamburger if you cannot open your mouth very wide? Close to impossible, as they make hamburgers super thick then pile everything but the kitchen sink on it. I usually sort of nibble away at it—but it is frustrating, and darn it, sometimes I am hungry, and want a mouthful. That is when I get into trouble.
I was out for dinner the other night and ordered perch and coleslaw and French fries. A meal made in heaven for someone with my problem. The perch could be cut into my mouth-size pieces, the French fries successfully dunked in ketchup and easily devoured, and the coleslaw was chopped small enough that I did not have trouble eating it. A blissful meal indeed. (See how I worked bliss into this? Clever, eh?)
I guess I should just explain to anyone I lunch or dine with that I have a problem opening my mouth very wide so they will not think that I am a bit of a pig. I think though I should just acclimate myself to the situation, be careful about what I order, and cut my meal into smaller pieces. Or just eat Quiche. (This can get a little old.)
Do you have to make any adjustments to your eating habits so you will not appear to be a messy eater?