Just like everything else we do, how we eat a plateful of food is part and parcel of our personality. The idea for this column was born when I wondered aloud for about the thousandth time during our married life, why my husband eats each of the different foods on his plate one at a time. This has puzzled me forever, as I am just the opposite. I tend to think that many foods complement each other and I like the interplay and subtle nuance of each flavour and how they combine to create a palate pleasing experience. As you can rightly divine from this admission, I watch the Food Channel too much.
With an eye to finding a source to back up my private assertion that my way of eating is the “better” way I Googled the subject and came up with an article by Vicki Santillano called, “Eating Habits and Personality: A Surprising Connection” on the Divine Caroline website. I do not really know what qualifications Ms. Vicki has, but since she quotes Juliet A. Boghossian who is a behavioural food expert and the founder of Foodology, I will grant her findings some grudging credence even though they do not back up my theory.
Anyway, Boghossian believes that our “food habits are one of the most instinctual habits we have” and reveal a great deal about us. She says, “You can fake a food habit … but eventually, the instincts will kick in,” uncovering the “real” you. So do you want to know how she believes the way we eat reveals our traits? For argument sake I am going to provide her “scientific findings” in a nutshell. What she reveals about me though is not very complimentary.
I am both a slow eater and a person who mixes my food (these are her categories, not mine and I have a bone to pick with her assertions.) First I will tell you what she says these two traits tell about me: I am wed to routines and stubborn. Apparently I make a point of savouring my food which indicates that I try to get the “most out of every experience” (which does not seem like a really bad thing to me). BUT she says that I am also more likely to put my needs before anyone else’s, and make myself the priority of my life.
And people who mix their food rather than eat one at a time? They “can take on a great deal of responsibility efficiently, but have trouble deciding what is the most important to accomplish”. To add insult to injury, apparently those of us who like to mix our food also “have trouble concentrating on a particular task”.
Now those of you who eat fast get off a little easier. While Boghossian believes that you “show a lack of balance when it comes to priorities”, apparently you are nicer than slow eaters as you tend “to put others before yourselves”. You are also “productive powerhouses and excel at finishing projects.” People who eat foods one at a time are, according to the one who knows all, “task-oriented” and “methodical in approach” but “less flexible when it comes to fitting into situations that deviate from what they’re used to”.
Poppycock, I say to most of these findings, foremost because they cast me in a rather dubious light. I do not really think I put my needs first (I am a mom after all), but I must admit that the word stubborn has been thrown my way (a lot). I am not wed to routine although this is something I could pick up on to advantage. Also, there is no real category for people who take a bite of one food on their plate, then a bite of another food and do not really mix them on their plate.
In light of these findings (which I do not necessarily agree with) I probably should start eating a little faster, so I will “excel at finishing projects” but if I choke on my food I hold Boghossian wholly to blame.
I took a tally of my family, just out of interest and we are two for two. My husband and youngest son eat their food one at a time, and I and my eldest son, take varying bites out of the food on our plate. I must note though that when I asked my eldest, he was not totally sure and said “it depends” when I asked him how he eats. Then when I broke it down to a roast beef dinner with potatoes and corn, he told me that he eats bites of each and not one food all at once. I guess he needed context.
I do have a burning question: How do people who eat one food at a time eat stew or chili or pizza or any one of the many dishes that are made with different foods already mixed together?