The dictionary tells me a fetish can be an object that elicits reverence and devotion, or an object that causes an erotic response. For me, food falls neatly into both categories. Sometimes I love food. Sometimes I looooove food. (Not literally. Don’t worry, it’s still safe to eat the cucumbers at my house.)
I do, however, admit to a peculiar food-related habit that can be safely discussed in polite company. And no, I’m not going to talk about the time I nearly suffered le petit mort over a hazelnut crème brulée and a flight of ice wine.
But it was really, really good.
‘Scuse me while a take a deep breath.
Anyway, what I meant to discuss is the fact that I’m a picky eater. Not in the sense of having a limited range of foods I’ll eat – quite the contrary. I’ll eat just about anything except black licorice. I’m talking about the way I eat.
I always hold corn on the cob with the big end at the left. I eat left to right in a clean, straight pattern. The cob, when returned to my plate, is placed horizontally at the 12:00 position. I contend this is simple logic. If the cob’s at the front, it’s hard to reach over it to get at the rest of your food.
Pie and pizza are to be eaten point-first. I’ve seen others eat it crust-first, and while that appeals to my logical side (eat the dry crust first and finish up with the good stuff), I don’t seem to be able to adopt that system.
I once knew a guy who preferred to dig randomly into the middle of a pie without cutting slices, but I consider that to be a sign of a deranged mind. He ate his corn randomly, too. And he was more than a little deranged. ‘Nuff said.
Meat, potatoes, and veggies get laid out in specific locations on the plate. Meat at 10:00, potatoes at 2:00, veggies at 6:00. But I’m flexible. Sometimes I swap the potato/veggie positions. And sometimes the meat moves up to 12:00 or down as far as 8:00.
I didn’t realize how entrenched this habit was until I caught myself rotating my plate and feeling vague discomfort when the food came arranged differently in a restaurant. I’ll deny actually rearranging food on my plate at a restaurant, but you probably already know I’m lying. And I always eat clockwise around the plate, one bite of meat, then one of potatoes, etc.
Toast, I bite off the bottom left corner first. Then the bottom right corner, then the middle. I repeat in rows until the entire slice is gone. It’s simple logic. I like peanut butter and honey, and this configuration minimizes the probability of smearing sticky stuff on my cheeks.
Speaking of peanut butter, I scoop it from around the edges of the jar. Systematically, scraping it tidily off the inside and gradually working my way around counter-clockwise. I never stick a knife in the middle of the jar. Freud would probably have a heyday with that one.
And don’t even get me started about buttering toast and then scooping up more goodies on the knife, leaving toast crumbs in the butter/honey/jam. That’s just plain wrong.
Is it because I’m a geek and my brain is naturally happy with linear patterns? Or is it because I’m a control-loving, slightly obsessive freak? (Don’t answer that).
Anybody else have freakish food fetishes? Please tell me I’m not the only one.