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Thursday, 23 September 2010

The kitchen and Why I don't fit in

I just don't understand that when a person goes into a kitchen, they automatically go and nibble whatever's there.

They don't care what it is because it could equally be a pile of chopped vegetables, some raw cookie dough, nuts or grated cheese. They don't care how much it is, because they just pick up/tear off around a finger-full (or 10% of the remainder, whichever is less) and eat it. The only rules are not to finish what is there, and not to eat anything poisonous like raw meat.

If they stay in the kitchen for more than five or ten minutes, they will repeat the process. Why?

It could be straight after a meal so it's not because they are hungry
It could be straight before a meal, so it's not because they are worried that it's a long time before they will get the chance to eat again.
It could be a carrot, so it's not because they wonder what it tastes like.

Why do they do it? It drives me nuts, not because we will run out of food (although if we will, I'll be angry), but because I will have to think through whether losing this amount of food is likely to make us run out. It also drives me nuts because I don't understand them and feel left out of this communion-like event. I'm not at one with the food and to imitate would be wrong.

Yes I'm sorry, I am crazy, and I'm not a chef so I'm probably wrong. But maybe someone out there will read this and think "yes, me too!"


Rachel said...

Wow, something where I completely disagree with you! Well, not exactly, because then I would be saying, "You're wrong. You DO understand it!" What I mean is that I do this all the time and it seems completely natural to me. On the other hand, if I were living in a houseshare I wouldn't do it with other people's food. (I guess your cooking is more communal than ours was at PodTower.)

I've noticed that I do automatically do this, but I'm not sure exactly why and it never occurred to me that it was at all strange. Food looks nice, it smells nice, you can see that it will have a variety of textures and of course tastes. It seems natural to impulsively react to the invitation of the food to experience those sensations.

When I go into the kitchen, there often isn't any reason not to nibble any food that's out (possible reasons would be: have been snacking all day and don't want to eat more; the food is being prepared by someone who has a definite plan for it; the only food there is disgusting). There's no reason not to have the instant gratification of a juicy piece of fruit, creamy texture of cashew nuts, delicious smell of a slice of fresh bread ... now I'm getting hungry.

I suppose my point is that the impulse is to gratify the senses, and the amount people feel this impulse and weigh it against other considerations will vary along a wide scale. I probably indulge this more than a lot of other people, but I don't see it as a problem. If I knew it annoyed somebody else but still nibbled away, or ignored other reasons not to do it, then I think it would be a problem.

Have you discussed this with your housemates? They might see your point of view more easily than you think.

Jo said...

I'm afraid I do it too John, but you used to cook with me so you probably know that. Normally it's either because I'm cooking but what I'm cooking won't be ready for a while, so I nibble, or it's 'quality control'!

Grinnyguy said...

It's not something that often bothers me. In fact, my housemates don't steal my food as a general rule. It's just something that I have never understood. The more people I have seen in kitchens, the more I realise it is an unusual opinion to have.

So I'm not put off or surprised by your comments. It's just that I only eat when I'm hungry I think. I don't eat because something tastes nice; I eat because I'm hungry, and enjoy it more if it tastes nice as well