Was talking to a friend today and made myself realise just how many food rules we have. I knew of some of course, but when it came down to actually talking about them, I realised we had a damn lot. We have a lot of food issues, this is outside of the whole being fat and eating to become consciously aware of our existence in the world.
I know where a lot of them come from, mostly to do with my mother and grandmother using food as a weapon. In my motherâ€™s case starving us so weâ€™d know we didnâ€™t deserve things, or to get us to be thin and therefore acceptable. My grandmother, it was more sadistic, hiding things in food, making us eat certain things so she could be amused.
So I have issues about eating food other people have prepared. It scares the living crap out of me to be honest, and I avoid it if I can. Iâ€™ve learnt to politely turn down food if Iâ€™m visiting people, but of course if I have to stay a few days that becomes impossible so basically I just go slightly insane with fear for those days. Its slightly easier when I get takeaways, because then I can usually watch them cooking it, or know there is no way they will know itâ€™s me that is going to get the next burger on the rack.
The thing that started all this was we were talking about mince, and how I canâ€™t handle lumps of meat. When people usually make mince they just break apart the meat with a fork and cook it like that, and for most people thatâ€™s what makes mince tasty. For me it makes me gag because I canâ€™t swallow it. No idea why exactly, but I know I must break my mince down as finely as possible if I am going to use it. If I buy a mince pie I have to take the lid off it, and pick out any lump bits of meat before I eat them otherwise Iâ€™d end up throwing the whole pie out the first time I bite in and find one.
The vegetable thing Iâ€™ve understood for a long time. I throw out a lot of still decent vegetables because theyâ€™ve gone limp or slightly brown. I know I could cut the brown bits off and they are still fresh enough to eat, but I canâ€™t stomach it. Cabbage oxidises really quickly when you cut it, giving it brown edges, and I canâ€™t just cut those bits off. I completely understand the vegetable thing, too many nights going through dadâ€™s compost for something to eat as a kid makes me go straight back there when I see old vegetables. Itâ€™s a pain because its expensive to be so wasteful, so mostly I stick to frozen vegetables.
Then thereâ€™s chicken, if I cook chicken that has bones it in, either a full bird or pieces, I have to wrap the bones up in paper or tinfoil before I throw them out. It makes me feel safe to know if needed I could get it out of the rubbish and pick at the bones without worrying about them being dirty from other rubbish. If I donâ€™t wrap them then I feel panicky all night, like somethingâ€™s going to happen and I wonâ€™t have them.
Thereâ€™s the water rule, I wonâ€™t drink the first glass of water out of the tap, I just canâ€™t. I have to fill the glass tip it out and then fill it again. I also have to tip the top layer of water out of the mug when Iâ€™m making a hot drink. Itâ€™s almost obsessive compulsive really.
Then thereâ€™s the whole sandwich annoyance. I can not eat a sandwich unless I first pull it apart and check the ingredients. Yes I know thatâ€™s not so odd yet, but when you consider I also have to do that for sandwiches I make myself, even if I just made it and have taken two steps to eat sit down and eat it, then yeah I think that gets a little odd. I harangue myself about that, I mean Iâ€™m alone, I made it myself, what do I expect to find, but I canâ€™t just not check, if I donâ€™t I canâ€™t swallow it.
Corned beef terrifies the living shit out of me.
When eating a meal I canâ€™t eat more than one thing at the same time. I canâ€™t put potato and meat, or beans and corn on the same fork. Iâ€™m better when its one dish, like a curry or a pizza or something, in my mind thatâ€™s one food. And gravy or sauce doesnâ€™t count as a food, so I can have rice coated in sauce, or potatoes with gravy, but I couldnâ€™t eat potatoes and vegetables together. Which I have to say makes eating mixed vegetables a tedious thing. This rule is only about food dished up on a plate, sandwiches and toast donâ€™t seem to matter. Coleslaw is fine, but a salad has to be eating individually. So yes there are exceptions, but they arenâ€™t breaking the rule in my head, for some reason the exceptions work, even if its just in my mind.
I wonâ€™t eat any lollies, icecream or sweet stuff thatâ€™s coloured green. Yes I throw out green m&mâ€™s. I know thatâ€™s crazy, but well I didnâ€™t say any of this made sense.
No pineapple on my pizza… ok thatâ€™s not so much a food rule as just having good taste *grin*
Food has to be disassembled, broken apart or squished down before eaten. Itâ€™s even more important if someone dishes up the food for me, but even if its me I have to, for probably obvious reasons.
I wonâ€™t eat day old whipped cream. If I whip some cream I will have to use it all or throw out whatâ€™s left over. Itâ€™s not so much the taste but the physical appearance of it. I canâ€™t explain what it is, but seeing cream in a bowl the next day makes me feel nauseous, and the idea of eating it, well its not going to happen. Itâ€™s the same reason I canâ€™t eat the canned stuff, in my mind the cream thatâ€™s inside that tin will look exactly the same. And even writing that makes me shudder.
If thereâ€™s even a spot of brown on a banana skin I donâ€™t want to eat it, if thereâ€™s black no money in the world would make me eat it.
Then there are all the issues around actually eating. I know I overeat, thatâ€™s not a surprise to anyone who has actually seen me. But the thing is when people talk about overeating they usually talk about how they do it to numb themselves, to not feel things. I get that but usually thatâ€™s not why I do it. If I can eat a lot, keep stuffing it in, eat too much and too quickly, then I become real. Instead of becoming dissociatively numb, overeating connects me to my body and to the surroundings around me. It grounds me. Of course, it grounds me into a body that I can only feel disgust and shame about, but sometimes thatâ€™s better than nothing. But sometimes feeling that is better than being unable to feel a connection with my body or anything around me.
Eating itself can be an issue since I donâ€™t like putting utensils in my mouth. I wonder, mostly jokingly, if thatâ€™s why I like asian food so much, since its easier to use chopsticks than a spoon or fork. When I eat soup I sort of pour the soup into my mouth, making sure the spoon doesnâ€™t touch my lips or tongue. It must be really odd to watch. And I can only use a teaspoon when eating desserts.
So this has been sitting on my computer for a few days, I was planning to write more, but it seems to have stalled, so I thought Iâ€™d post it now so I can try to write something more interesting.