It's Not The Food That's Unusual, It's How You Eat It!

I am fascinated by food -- not just its many varieties or the countless ways to prepare it, but also the routines some people follow before it enters their mouth.

Case in point: I live with a man who has what I consider to be an unusual practice related to eating a baked potato. He cuts it in half, and uses a knife to cut tiny diagonal lines across each portion.  Then he draws another set of delicate stripes so there are criss-crossed lines across the surface of each half. Butter is then applied, sometimes along with sour cream, and then it’s all mashed together with a fork. Why he spends all that time making those tiny lines is beyond me, but it makes him happy. Now my sons do the same.

They all claim this allows the butter and sour cream to better penetrate the potato, but it seems to penetrate pretty well when I just mash it in without the lines. In any case, their method makes me crazy because I’m usually done eating my entire meal before any of them conclude this painstakingly slow process related to their potatoes.

My spouse also does something curious with his hamburgers. Instead of putting ketchup onto them, he squeezes the red stuff onto his plate and then dips the burger and bun into it. This seems excessive to me because he has to use far more ketchup for all that dipping than he would if he put it on the burger. Plus, it gets pretty messy. But it makes him happy and he can’t eat a burger any other way.

My father also was a lover of ketchup, although he never dipped his burgers into it. However, he put it on almost everything – including eggs and gravy. During the period when the U.S. Department of Agriculture was proposing that ketchup be considered a vegetable in school lunch programs, he never failed to mention that he was eating it for health reasons, too.

Dad also was a fan of vinegar – in his melted butter whenever he ate lobster. My sister is an aficionado as well. I can’t stand the smell but they insisted upon it at any lobster feed. I’m not sure the lobsters would have approved.

I have to admit to a couple of food habits that others might find strange. For example, I grew up eating grilled cheese sandwiches with jelly or jam spread on top after they were cooked. Even my spouse found this very bizarre – at first. Now he does it, too.

I also like to break potato chips into small pieces and insert them into my sandwich fillings. They are especially good with tuna or egg salad sandwiches, in my view, but sometimes I’ll even add them to my favorite peanut butter and jelly combination.(Editor's Note:  It is National Peanut Butter Lover's Month after all!)

I imagine if anyone else followed me around for a week, they’d probably come up with a few more examples but to me, these habits all seem perfectly normal.

Do you -- or anyone you know -- have unusual food routines? Tell us about them!

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