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Larry Greenly

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Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Larry Greenly » Wed Oct 11, 2006 12:30 am

I was at a lunch hosted by a local senior center to honor its volunteers. I've teached writing there for a couple of years. (I are a writer, is yew?)

The lunch consisted of salad, chicken cordon bleu, green beans, rice/wild rice, and cheesecake.

I noticed the woman next to me took a bite or two of her cheesecake before she ate her salad. At first I thought she just couldn't wait to try the cheesecake, but she alternated eating it and the rest of her meal until they were both finished.

I thought her eating method was odd enough, I'd mention it in this forum. Do you eat dessert before or during the main course? And what are your thoughts concerning this? (And my apologies if you were the woman sitting next to me.)
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TimMc

Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by TimMc » Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:16 am

I am on a see food diet...I see food, I eat it.


Occupational hazard :wink:
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Robin Garr

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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:48 am

Larry Greenly wrote:Do you eat dessert before or during the main course? And what are your thoughts concerning this? (And my apologies if you were the woman sitting next to me.)


Larry, as you know, there is a widespread philosophy about eating dessert first, because you don't know for sure if something won't come up before you get to it otherwise.

Since I'm not really much of a dessert person, though, this concept faintly grosses me out. I don't think the flavors work at all, and if I'm going to have dessert, I'm having it with coffee at the end of the meal.

It also makes me vaguely irritable, by the way, that most eateries will bring out your coffee or espresso and dessert sequentially, usually coffee first and dessert later, after the coffee is gone or cold, or forcing me to a second evening dose of caffeine that I don't need. I want 'em <i>together</i>, dammit! :)
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Howie Hart

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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Howie Hart » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:24 am

Hi Laree - Sumtimez i rite two.
Not so much regarding dessert, but there are two things I do when I sit down to eat a meal. The first is I eat slow. I used to eat fast (a habit acquired while in the Marines), but when my wife and I were dating, she would eat slow, saying it a technique to curb the amount of food one eats. I don't really know about that, as I still have a good appetite, but I slowed down to her speed of eating (I was getting tired of having to wait 15 minutes in restaurants for her to finish so we could order dessert), and have enjoyed many meals being the last one finished. The second thing I do is try a bite of everything on my plate, then eat all the veggies, then all the potatoes/pasta/rice, and finish with the meat portion. Since the meat potion is usually my favorite, its like saving the best for last.
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Ian Sutton

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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Ian Sutton » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:26 am

Larry Greenly wrote:And my apologies if you were the woman sitting next to me

What a great title for an autobiography!

pudding before (or during :shock: ) main - bizarre. Apart from palate freshening sorbets, I've not heard of this before.
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Carl Eppig

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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Carl Eppig » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:49 am

I picked up the habit of eating salad between the entree and dessert while living in Europe forty years ago. I like the contrast between the savory and the sweet. This also serves to keep the vinegar out of the wine! Of course having the salad after the main couse is difficult to do in most North American restaurants.
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Jeff Yeast

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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Jeff Yeast » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:13 am

Howie Hart wrote: The first is I eat slow. I used to eat fast (a habit acquired while in the Marines), but when my wife and I were dating, she would eat slow, saying it a technique to curb the amount of food one eats.


Wow, that sounds very familiar. I also learned to eat fast in the Army, but my wife, who is a dietitian, insists on eating slow. After years of fighting I just gave in and now I'm even convinced that it works. It seems the slower I eat my first helping, the less likely it becomes that I go back for seconds at home, or order desert when dining out.
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Stuart Yaniger

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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:16 am

I want 'em together, dammit!


So do I, but the Food Nazis have decreed otherwise. Chocolate and coffee, for example, go together perfectly, yet if you try to get that combination at the end of a dinner in France or Italy, they'll either spit in your food or ignore your request altogether.
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Larry Greenly » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:53 am

Larry, as you know, there is a widespread philosophy about eating dessert first, because you don't know for sure if something won't come up before you get to it otherwise.


Reminds me of Shadow the Wondermutt's philosophy of eating: always save the best for first.
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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:59 am

Stuart Yaniger wrote:if you try to get that combination at the end of a dinner in France or Italy, they'll either spit in your food or ignore your request altogether.


Odd ... I can't cite chapter and verse, but it seems to me that it's harder to get this cooperation at high-end eateries in the US than in Yurp. Ask me again next week ... I'll be in Siena for a few days and will be absolutely delighted to check it out. Well, except maybe for the "spit in your food" bit.
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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Jenise » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:18 am

Larry, I know a woman who, if all the food were served at the same time, would have eaten just as you described. She has Aspergers Syndrome, which is a mild relative of autism, and what she does when she sits down to a meal is taste everything to decide the order the food tastes right in--a bite of this, then two bites of that, then one of that-- then calculates what size bites she needs to take of everything so that the very last bite is her favorite. She'll run the feet off the waiter (or her hosts) adjusting the quantities, too, which makes her look like a very rude and odd sort of pig for you've no sooner satisfied her request for more rice than she suddenly decides she needs more parsley, but all of this is in aid of some mathematical sense of perfection that only makes sense to her.

The woman dining next to you could well suffer from some related kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed Oct 11, 2006 11:20 am

Randy, the passive refusal to serve coffee with dessert was so common in Europe that Linda still complains (she was last there in '95). If you've got waiters there asking and delivering these days, it gives me more hope for the future of France.
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Re: eating with seniors at a senior center

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:27 pm

My career was working with seniors who volunteered with our City. I'm guessing that the lady who ate her dessert alternately with her meal, was loving the fact that she actually had dessert.
Many seniors who live alone do not eat properly and do not take the time to cook anything that requires a bank of time and work. You will notice that at many senior events the table is set with the dessert plated. The hot food is usually buffet style or served after everyone is seated. It was not unusual in the least for me to see the gals (and guys) picking away at dessert before the food even came out.
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Re: eating with seniors at a senior center

by Howie Hart » Wed Oct 11, 2006 1:42 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:My career was working with seniors who volunteered with our City. I'm guessing that the lady who ate her dessert alternately with her meal, was loving the fact that she actually had dessert.
Many seniors who live alone do not eat properly and do not take the time to cook anything that requires a bank of time and work. You will notice that at many senior events the table is set with the dessert plated. The hot food is usually buffet style or served after everyone is seated. It was not unusual in the least for me to see the gals (and guys) picking away at dessert before the food even came out.

Lets face the truth here! The only reason why dessert is served at the end of the meal is as a reward for kids to eat what's on their plate. I see no reason to apply this rule to Seniors. 8)
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Re: eating with seniors at a senior center

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:05 pm

I wasn't applying any rule to seniors. I was replying to Larry's post about an obervation he made with a senior group. I responded with observations I had made in my 16 years of working with seniors. I've seen children doing the same thing.
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Re: eating with seniors at a senior center

by Larry Greenly » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:10 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:Many seniors who live alone do not eat properly and do not take the time to cook anything that requires a bank of time and work.


Somehow I don't think this applied to this lady who was a volunteer teacher of some sort. I would guess she was in her mid-fifties. And Albuquerque senior centers accept members from the age 50 on up.
Last edited by Larry Greenly on Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: eating with seniors at a senior center

by Howie Hart » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:22 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I wasn't applying any rule to seniors. I was replying to Larry's post about an obervation he made with a senior group. I responded with observations I had made in my 16 years of working with seniors. I've seen children doing the same thing.

Perhaps you misunderstood the intent of my statement. I meant that seniors should be exempt from such a rule and have every right to eat dessert whenever they like. Kids, on the other hand..... :? Regarding Seniors, my 87 year old mother-in-law just retired from delivering meals-on-wheels after 20 years of service. :wink:
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Re: eating with seniors at a senior center

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:53 pm

Good for her! The oldest volunteer I brought into our program was 85. I placed her in the police dept. She was a jewel and worked for them until she died at 94 years young. She was so devoted and loved our officers. Once when her neighborhood was threatened with fire, they rescued her and took her to the station where she insisted on working all night to relieve stress. She used to make copper penny carrots and bring them in as snacks! What fun! She always said, "I don't want to fatten you guys up."
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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Carl Eppig » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:53 am

Getting back to senior antics, Bev's 87 year old aunt just stopped ferrying "old" people around town last year. When we asked her why she stopped she said she couldn't find any more old people.
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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Stuart Yaniger » Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:02 am

"Passive resistance" was definitely the key. My French is not very good, but it's certainly good enough to make it clear when we want the coffee served...

The first time I encountered this phenomenon was on my second visit to France back in '89. I was in Lyon with my first wife (non-redhead) who was quite fluent and a local couple at a pretty excellent restaurant (I think it had a star). The locals we were with were quite tuned in to the culinary scene; Madame worked at Bocuse.

My wife asked for her coffee with dessert and translated my request for the same. The waiter asked, "WITH dessert?" Yes. He nodded, said the equivalent of, "Very good, madame," and walked away. Our local friend grinned and said, "That's just not going to happen."

Dessert came, a rather fancy chocolate thing. No coffee. My wife summoned the waiter and asked about the coffee. "Oh, yes, madame, right away!" or something like that. We wait and wait, no coffee.

She goes and looks for the guy, finds him, and demands coffee- I should mention that this was a very intimidating woman, 5'-10" and solid muscle. He apologizes and says that he'll be right there, then disappears into the back.

We wait. no coffee, and no waiter in sight. Finally, wife gives up and starts in on her dessert. The moment she finishes the last bite, the waiter comes out with the coffee. It could not have been choreographed any better. Our local friend is just about peeing herself laughing at the wife.
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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Cynthia Wenslow » Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:32 pm

What would you think of my best friend and I? We have been known to order only desserts. Several of them apiece. No "real food" at all.

Hey, we're grown-ups! We can do that!

:wink:
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Re: Do you have a hidden eating order?

by Carrie L. » Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:43 pm

I'm embarrassed to say that I think I'm a bit like Jenise's buddy. I kind of like everything to finish "in order," so I have one bite left of each item at the end.
Not sure how I got his way -- but I guess I do have a few (just a few) OCD tendencies.
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