What Kind of Eater Are You?
Photo: CN Digital Studio
Reminiscing about the frozen TV dinners of my childhood
got me thinking about the separatists—those who insist that each element on the plate stand alone, without touching one another, versus the moosh-it-altogether types, who pile a bit of everything onto each forkful. The divided trays were obviously necessary for frozen dinners, not only for production purposes, but also to ensure an appealing presentation. Ditto for airplane meals. Let’s face it. We all know the food is going to end up in a jumble in our stomachs, yet whether we are separatists or mooshers, we still like those boundaries that show us how much of each item is going to go down our gullets.
Certainly the manufactured lines of demarcation were, and continue to be, a boon for the separatists. How many kids and adults do you know who demand rigorous order on their plates? I began to wonder if my love of TV dinners was a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Dr. Melissa Dubroff, an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist, assured me it wasn’t pathological. “It’s a normal phase of development to be a little obsessional. Ritual and routine, things being predictable, help children feel safe and secure at a young age,” Dubroff says. Many children have a limited list of foods they like in their middle-childhood years, she explained, and they don’t want other foods they don’t know or don’t like to touch or contaminate their favorites.
So how would you describe yourself? Are you a separatist, or a moosh-it-altogether eater?