Friday, April 30, 2010

Mixing It Up

Okay, let's have a show of hands from everyone who's been missing Audience Participation Days!

It is entirely possible that none of you put your hands up. But since I can't actually see you, I will pretend that there is a sea of desperately waving hands out there, imploring me to introduce yet another scintillating and thought-provoking topic for Internet discussion. I am, as ever, happy to oblige.

Onto today's topic. Food: Separate or Co-Mingle?

Lemme 'splain.

Last night for dinner I made Italian sausage, stewed tomatoes, peas, and mashed potatoes. Each food was cooked separately, but when I dished up my plate, I first put on the potatoes, then the cut-up sausage, then the peas, then the tomatoes over it all, stirred it around, and ate my unappetizing-looking but delicious mess. A. and the MiL did not do this. They are not Mixers, generally speaking. When I make beans and rice, they tend to put them in separate piles on their plates, whereas I just glop it all together.

My happiest leftovers are the ones that can all be combined in a bowl, like pot roast, potatoes, peas, and gravy. All swimming happily together in one bowl, preferably able to be eaten with a spoon. I inherited this tendency, I think, from my mother (hi Mom!). She always takes a small bit of everything on her plate onto her fork for each bite. She even goes so far as to take a tiny second portion of anything that runs out on the plate before the rest of the food, just so she can have balanced bites until the very end.

Now, as a general rule, only children and people with a form of OCD refuse to eat food that touches on the plate. But it seems that some vestiges of this childhood proclivity may linger into adulthood, manifesting in a tendency to at least serve the food on the plate separately*.

Which brings us to The Question: Do you mix food or keep it separate? (Edited to add: I should, perhaps, clarify that I really mean do you EAT food separately or together, not necessarily do you smush it all together on a plate. Of course, I do that, but only with certain meals, and almost always only when I'm eating alone.)

* Did that sound science-y and serious enough? I like to pretend sometimes that I discuss topics of importance and merit here.


granny said...

I tend to keep every thing seperate,then gather a bit of this and that on my fork.
A friend of mine eats all the veg first...and leaves the meat till last...*strange*
Each to their own I guess :0)

Drew @ Cook Like Your Grandmother said...

I serve separate, but I dip and mix: applesauce on the ham, corn in the mashed potatoes.

But no gravy on the cranberry sauce. Not ever. Eww.

Word verification: lotsties -- What Dad has gotten for Fathers' Day over the last three decades.

Anonymous said...

Separate , mainly. I dip my fries in ketchup. I like to taste each thing by itself. I do save a bite of what I like best for the last bite. I had a great aunt who had to finish even on her plate , so she was forever taking , 'just a little more' of something. :) Beth

word verification likin

'twere finger likin good, yes ,it were.

sheila said...

Most things I like mixed. Love stews/soup and casseroles. I guess I mostly eat the way your Mom does, a mixed forkful of deliciousness at a time. Although, there are a few things I can't stand commingled. Maple syrup can't be mixed with fried eggs. So I'll have a pancake or waffle with eggs and sausage/bacon. Then to finish off breakfast I'll eat a pancake with maple syrup and nothing else. Feels like dessert to me. Love ketchup with scrambled eggs and homefries, but not with fried eggs. Ketchup and egg yolk together can make me gag. I guess it's mostly eggs that are tricky for me.

Beth Nelsen said...

It's dependent on the meal. At breakfast, I'm a mixer. Eggs and potatoes and ketchup and sausage and I'm all over that. At dinner, forget it. Meat stays separate from veggies at all time.

Susan said...

I'm one of the weird ones. I not only keep the food separate but I only eat one thing at a time. Not in any particular order, (see? I'm not completely crazy!), but I can't start on my pork chop until I've eaten the green beans, no potatoes until I finish the pork chops, etc. I'm suddenly hungry for pork chops.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'd like to have dinner with you. I like things seperate for the most part. Sorry, but your way sounds very unappealing.

Phoo-D said...

I think it depends on the meal. If everything should be mixed together usually it happens before it hits the plate, but I'm also a bit of this and that on my fork person.

Alicia said...

I keep food seperate, and like Susan, I only eat one food at a time...I'll usually eat 1/2 of vegetable 1, 1/2 the meat, 1/2 vegetable 3, and then go back and eat the rest in the same order.

All that changes when I'm out to eat, however...the portions are so big and I'm so small, I've gotten it down to a science about eating what is non-take-outable first or won't be good the next day (like salad)

Marcy said...

Count me with Beth and Phoo-D. It depends on the foods, how they're cooked and my mood. Lately The Mister has been giving me a hard time about my favorite treat of the moment: softened Matcha marshmallows mixed with yogurt. He calls it my 'green goo' but I'm lovin' it all the same.

inadvertent farmer said...

I'm a mingling type of girl...well when it comes to food. I personally myself do not mingle much, I'm kinda of a stick in the mud really.

But my food parties hard...Kim

And who eats beans and rice separately? That is just wrong...

Anonymous said...

My husband eats every type of food...meat, veggie, starch...separately. Drives me wild.

My word: ovisess

I don't know the definition but I bet it happens only once a month.

FinnyKnits said...

I tend to eat all of each thing individually. If they touch on the plate, that's fine - and sometimes I do mix them up (because everything tastes better with mashed potatoes on it), but generally speaking I like to fully submerse myself in one flavor and savor it before moving on.

Bubba however? He's a Proportion guy. He has a bite of each thing, in proportion, with the goal being that he makes it to the end of the meal with an equal amount of everything left for one final bite.

We, obviously, have some issues. Which I didn't realize until now.

And, hey, thanks!

Susan said...

I'm back because I love your blog just that much and I remembered the exception to my separation rule. We make something called daycare food that the kids love: ground round, mac n cheese, steamed broccoli, pinto beans, and if we really need a cholesterol fix, brown gravy. Yum!!!

Judi said...

If I'm eating by myself, I usually serve whatever I'm having in a bowl, and it all ends up mixed up. That's especially true if it's Pakistani (Indian) food, which really needs to be all served together. (The main dish on top of the rice--which is REALLY the main dish, after all--topped by a nice raita, which is a yoghurt sauce. Yummy.)

Word verification: nummiess

What we're talkin' about!

Robin said...

separate. always. and i always eat all of one thing, then on to the next. and it is always vegetables first, meat last. even if i am eating a burger and fries. fries first every time, then the burger.

seeing food mixed on the plate makes me want to.....well, best not to go there.

OCD, you say?

RooosterChick said...

I eat my food separate, much as it makes my beau crazy. Me thinks I should just eat all of my meals out of those silly bento boxes with little walls, to keep my food from touching. No, I haven't discussed this with my therapist, yet. :)

SaintTigerlily said...

I don't care, but my friend actually has those plates with the dividers and that's what she has her dinner on at home. I think I am a mixer, like you.

Just Me said...

depends on what is being eaten. I mix most things. My husband will pile all sort of things together sometimes. Others, he will only put one food on his plate at a time. Finish that, rinse his plate, and then get another type of food.

He's weird.