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Saving the BEST bite of food for last ?

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Hi.. Whether eating at home or at restaurants, as my wife 'works' the plate of food before her, she will determine what she considers to be the 'best' bite of food on the plate and fork-scoot it to the side. It could be a perfectly glazed shrimp, the center-most bite of a BLT sandwich, or a corner of cake with the best ratio of crumb-to frosting. Viewed positively, it seems like a logical and purposeful delay of gratification, buidling up to a final moment of satisfaction. Viewed otherwise, it can also seem (to me, the reluctant and dubious onlooker) like a forfeiture of living (and eating) 'in the moment' (like some tourists who miss the immediacy and grandeur just being at a vaction site, by trying so hard to capture it forever on camera -- though, in fairness to them, they have an accurate capture of such moments, while I must make do with wistful remembrances from a faulty memory). From an observer's perspective, it almost seems like a case of enjoying the intermediate forkfulls of food marginally less, or perhaps, with undue haste, in the attempt to capture the ultimate destinate: the perfect Final Bite. To be fair, I know that my wife greatly enjoys her meals as a whole, once the obvious minefields like gristle, fat, and mushrooms (her kryptonite) are either passed along to me or banished to the far corners of the bread plate. But I can also see that from the moment the plate is served, she is sizing up and rather quickly finding and then relegating what shall become her favorite bite to the promised land on the plate, for eventual dispatch and the familiar 'sigh of the sated'... Me, I suppose that I 'work' my plate too, by way of trying to 'evenly' portion the ratio of vegetables to starch to protein; but that usually only comes into play when there is, say, less than 10% of food remaining on my plate. For the lion's share of the meal, I am an equal opportunity trencherman: if I like what's on my plate, *every bite* is my favorite bite. (The only exception for me is layer cake, the eating of which I have ritualized to an absurd extreme).... So my question is, do others routinely feel that there is indeed a 'favorite' bite on every plate at every meal? And more importantly, is the favored bite consume first and foremost, or saved to be savored last? Oh, and apologies in advance, as these type of questions that I tend to pose here can often evoke stern replies from responders who may feel that my search for understanding is somehow condescending. I really do not wish to draw conclusions that imply judgment. Just want to know how you humans operate ;-)

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  1. Great post!

    I eat the 'favored' bite first. Mainly because I think I will enjoy it more on an emptier stomach than at the end of the meal, when I am full. I also tend to not finish all the food on my plate, which may affect my answer.

    1. I have always saved the best bite for last, but now there are many times I'm too full to have that last bite! I've had to change and now eat it toward the middle. I hate that!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jackie de

        Same for me!

      2. I share your wife's penchant for food rituals! The plate of food simply doesn't taste as good to me if i can't eat the food in a sort of pattern. That pattern always involves saving the best bite for last...

        1. I've read that 80% of the enjoyment comes in the first 20% of whatever you're eating. Think about how great that first bite tastes, when you really savor it. I'm with jackie de about being too full by the end to enjoy it. When you're hungry, it tastes great; when you're full, no matter how good it tastes, it's not the same. The hardest thing I've done is leave half of a great dessert because I knew if I finished it, I'd be so full that I'd be uncomfortable.

          1. i always save the best bite for last, especially when it comes to sushi. i also try to have a little bit of each ingredient in the dish on each forkful.

            other weird little habits:
            - if i have a handful of m&m's, or any other individually colored candy, i never eat the same color one after another and i make it so that there is one of each color left. then i proceed to eat them in order of least favorite color to most favorite.
            - i eat nerds (the candy) in order of smallest to largest.
            - i eat candy corns by color section, starting at the tip, and try to bite as close to seperation of each color (i've gotten pretty good at this little personal challenge).

            i know, i sound like a nut-job.

            9 Replies
            1. re: rebs

              not nut-job, I thought I was the only one that ate candy corn that way!!

              1. re: rebs

                I do the same thing with sushi. Once I've tried each of the pieces, I know which are better than others, so I like to finish on a high!

                TT

                1. re: rebs

                  omg, I don't believe it. I not only eat candy corn this way, but m&m's too, in fact I use the same routine with jelly beans. Always have. And I ALWAYS leave my favorite sushi morsel for last, usually either uni, yellowtail, or something with a quail egg on it...

                  1. re: rebs

                    i don't eat m&ms very much these days and had forgotten my habits until i read your post! i do the same thing. it's nice to know there's others out there :)

                    1. re: auberginegal

                      Hhaha Im the worst for food rituals. Always eat sushi in order from the worst looking to the best looking. At breakfast I cut my toast into four small squares per piece and I eat the smallest ones first, leaving the biggest for last haha. Everything I eat, I savour. I like to make things last and last. When I have like vegetables or salad with my dinner (meat and rice for ex as the mains), Ill eat the vegetables first, leaving the less nutrious things for last since theyre my favourite parts of the dinner.

                      1. re: hungryabbey

                        I'll eat the salad and the vegetables first, then the protein, and last the carbs. But that's a weight control thing (which has served me well)!

                        TT

                    2. re: rebs

                      Will be starting another thread about Chow-Idiosyncrasies but my DW and I discussed the corn and M&M's last night. You have two more whackos who buy-in to the candy corn by the color eating habit.

                      On M&Ms two distinct camps. DW throws a bunch in her mouth. I am more anal retentive. I spread them out on the table or desk and separate into colors. Then I eat my least favorites browns to favorites, now blues over reds. I know they all taste the same but this is a save the best for last to the extreme.

                      1. re: jfood

                        it's funny...your least favourites are brown, and i aim to eat that colour last. as a child, i somehow convinced myself that because they were brown, they tasted more 'authentic' as they were closest to real chocolate.

                        1. re: auberginegal

                          Oh my god, me too! Except that my absolute favorite was the now-discontinued light brown (which was replaced by the blue). It had a sort of mocha look that I imagined made it taste better.

                          Anyone else miss the light brown?

                    3. when eating haagen dazs black raspberry chip ice cream i eat it slowly so the chips sink to the bottom and i eat them in a few luscious melty chocolately spoonfuls at the end of the orgy. mmm.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ericalloyd

                        This reminds me of my favorite ice-cream treat: a Peppermint Bon-Bon malt. I love how the chocolate flakes sink to the bottom so that the last few bites are almost solid dark chocolate. Yum!

                        This is about the only time I don't go to great effort to "balance" my food (colors, tastes, types, shapes, etc.). I'm a menace with a pasta salad that has 5 ingredients, because each bite has to include a bit of everything.

                        Anne

                      2. If I wait to eat "the best bite" until last, I will find my DH's fork poised above it, b/c he thinks I'm done eating b/c that's all that's left. I've actually grasped his arm at times to preserve the bite!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MMRuth

                          My mom used to do this when I was a kid. I no longer leave the best for last!

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Divorce is definitely an option.

                          2. I have many weird food "habits/issues", just ask my husband :-)

                            I get full fairly quickly so I tend to do as brooklynmasala does. I always eat the best piece in the beginning of the meal. This has changed over the years but I finally grew up in regard to food. When we go out, I love to eat the bread and butter, an appetizer, etc. and I never end up eating most of the actual dinner entree. To some it seems odd but I always bring home the leftovers (if hubby has not destroyed it) and savor it later. This is part of the enjoyment for me...

                            I am also in the same situation as MMRuth... my husband will eat whatever is on my plate as soon as he is done with his (perhaps the reason he has gained 15 lbs since we moved in together and another 5 since I have been pregnant LOL)... Mostly I am okay with this but sometimes I have to shoo him away as well.

                            NB: I can also pinpoint the best "piece" of something in a nanosecond. I can tell you the best piece of bread in the basket, the best bagel in the bunch, the best piece of sushi on the plate, the best fruit in the bowl, the best fry in the pile and which bite of said item will be the perfect bite.

                            1. I also save the best bite for last. My husband (who just eats) has had to recognize that I am saving that bite, but he is more than welcome to anything else on my plate.

                              Another weird eating habit - I get annoyed if someone tastes what I ordered before I do. I have no problem sharing, but I need to taste it first!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: MalinDC

                                I do that to my husband...For some reason, I have to taste his before I taste mine... It has become a standing pregnancy joke... Usually it is something like garlic, herb mashed potatoes or some side that looks and smells phenomenal. I do not take a bite of his steak, chop, etc. first, just an easy bite of the accompaniment.

                                1. re: Michele4466

                                  And, somewhat tangentially, if I want to taste something on *his* plate I'd better ask and get to it before it disappears. The mention by me when he's ordering of "Oh, I'd like to taste that" does not reserve a bite for me, though it does work the other way. Oh well ...

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    Funny...

                                    And, he knows better than to order something I will not like. :-) We usually work out together what we will order, chances are, he eats his and most of mine but I get a little of everything...

                                    I have been known to ask for a bite AFTER his is gone just to make a point...it is playful teasing but worth it to see the look of "oops" on his face.

                                    1. re: Michele4466

                                      LOL - I do *exactly* the same thing when warranted!

                              2. I cut my French toast into a grid and then eat my way to the buttered, smooshy middle.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: BrunchOrBust

                                  That's exactly my plan of attack for french toast, altough I don't cut it into a grid, I just eat the outer crust first.

                                  1. re: BrunchOrBust

                                    Smooshy = chowhound word!

                                    TT

                                  2. I don't necessarily save the best bite for last, but I like to have a great bite to begin and end, so the more marginal bites get eaten in-between. Of course, for me, the great bite could be a bit of cartilage or skin.

                                    Mrs. ricepad typically saves the best bite for last so she can savor the flavors longer. Once she's had her 'last bite', only something supremely tasty can tempt her into anything else.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ricepad

                                      Yup. I don't have one, single perfect bite at the end, but I don't like a meal to fizzle out. So no gristly bit of steak or crumbs of cake or cookie sans chocolate chip for the final bite.

                                      1. re: curiousbaker

                                        For me, that last bite of steak may BE the gristly bit!

                                    2. As the Noodle Chef Master said the in film Tampopo about the Zen of Ramen, "Place the Char Siu to the side of the bowl and eye it lovingly...but wait until it's time." (paraphrased) He was talking about "plate/flavor management" but he does go on to say that ramen is should be finished with the broth.

                                      For me, if the meal is particularly good, has many items to it, or something I don't eat often, I do think to myself what is the last flavor I want to remember from the meal but I don't figure that out until I'm near the end.

                                      For a classic American breakfast I like to finish with hash browns a couple of chews followed by sausage, which is balanced. For burgers, fries and a coke -- a few fries, the last bite of the burger and final sip of coke. It's interesting because if you're left w/ too fries afterward it sort of makes you sick to look at them or eat. If you too much cake it can kill the memory of the meal quickly.

                                      In this sense, I think that's why a good meal or fine dining is as much about orchestrating the experience and succession of flavors and portion sizes.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ML8000

                                        Thanks for reminding me of that scene from Tampopo :-). If I remember correctly, he advises the neophyte to tell the morsel of chashu: "See you soon.." Lovely.

                                      2. when Im eating crab legs (snow,king,dungeness, or Kona), I always save a claw or two for the end. They are my favorite...

                                        1. I always eat the skin of KFC chickens last, cause they are soooooo goooood!

                                          1. For Belgian waffles, my plan of attack is to syrup one-quarter at a time (then eat that quarter) in order to reduce soggyness.

                                            1. No longer do I feel alone with my last bite fetish! O the murder in my heart when the waiter starts to snatch it away!

                                              1. Another last-biter. I don't think it's a coincidence that several CH'ers have mentioned sushi as their preferred last-bite food. It's perfect in this regard, because room temperature is friendly for this strategy.

                                                But some foods are only good hot. Then I'm torn, because the best bite at 8:35 would have tasted better at 8:15.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                  Sushi is also self-contained. It's not like a bite of a meal that has to be constructed out of say a piece of chicken, some potatoes, and some spinach. Unless you make a little "mound" (which will inevitably get cold), I don't see how you can do it with other food.

                                                  TT

                                                2. Definitely best bite last, if I'm getting full I am always prepared to eat it early but then stop. I like to keep the flavours rolling around to remind me how good that bite (and hence meal) was.

                                                  My mother does the exact opposite, best bite first.

                                                  Both are because she went to a boarding school (long story) and if extra people arrived after food had been dished out they would steal bits from peoples plates, so if you left your favourite bits you might lose them. As a result she never took food off our plates, so I am able to leave mine. Funny how habits develop, she left school over 40 years ago and still has not changed the habit.

                                                  As for sharing food, we normally provide each other with a mouthful, on the basis that we are eating the meal so know which combinations of bits in what proportion makes a good (representative) taster of the dish. That sounds really tedious!

                                                  1. Anyone who tries to grab something off my plate will get my fork through their hand.

                                                    I eat the crispy outer edge of pancakes first, then the inside if I still have room. And spread butter on each individual bite just before eating, so it melts in the mouth, not into the pancake.

                                                    Cinnamon or any spiral rolls--unroll and eat from the outside.

                                                    As for m&m's eat a pair of each color. Singlets at the end are a dilemma. I try to pair up similar colors.

                                                    I probably shouldn't even mention oreos.

                                                    1. people think I'm crazy when I eat my pizza because I spin it around...taking a bite from the saucy cheesy part and then the crust...alternating....mostly because I need the sauce for the crust.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: asm305

                                                        Hey, asm305: instead of filling the edge-crust (prior to baking) with more cheese (the way some chain pizza joints do), they should inject the crust with more sauce instead! And if they can't pipe/funnel liquid sauce into the raw outer crust's dough, they could freeze the sauce into lengths, tuck and fold it into the perimeter crust dough, then bake. The result: an outer crust/rind with an inner core of sauce with each bite...

                                                        1. re: silence9

                                                          seriously...a good idea!

                                                        2. re: asm305

                                                          To me the best bite of any slice of pizza is the first one...that perfect triangle at the tip.

                                                          1. re: JennS

                                                            Unless you eat it TOO hot, in which case it burns the roof of your mouth and that's the end of that!

                                                            TT

                                                          2. re: asm305

                                                            I'm usually not a pattern-eater (like to take bites on impulse), but pizza is a different matter... I absolutely abhor eating the crust by itself. But I do like eating the crust, just not by itself. So usually I'll mentally "cut" the slice in half and devour the triangle half, then turn the slice 90 degrees to eat sideways (thereby getting crust as well as sauce/toppings in every bite). And if the last bite is too big to fit both crust and non-crust, I eat the crust before non-crust.

                                                            However, if I'm eating something like chicken and it comes w/ a drumstick and/or wing or other bone pieces, I save the bone pieces for last -- so I can focus and concentrate on getting the last bit of cartilage, marrow, and tendon/ligament. I have been known to sit there happily "working" a piece of bone to death for a quarter of an hour.

                                                            Oh, and sometimes I'm like LL Cool J in Toys - "... lima beans to be quarantined and I don't want my mashed potatoes invading ..." (or something to that effect).

                                                          3. Story: I was 6 years old and already followed of eating the best peice last. I had put my crispy chicken skin (that my grandmother lovingly fried) at the edge of my plate, hoping to savor it slowly after I enjoyed the juicy breast meat. Suddently, My cousin just took it off my plate and shoved it into his mouth, without warning or permission. I burst into tears and started to scream. My grandmother did not know how to calm me down, most of the chicken was "et." His explanation was he thought I didn't want it since it was pushed to the side. I will never forget that.

                                                            I now eat the best peice first.

                                                            1. While I'll save the "best" bite until last, I have to try a bit of everything first, otherwise what I THINK might be the best bite, might end up tasting terrible . . . and wouldn't THAT be a shame!

                                                              TT

                                                              1. I don't always save the best for last but when eating a combination of foods on one plate I make sure to divide it up so that I get a little of each food on my fork at the same time. When eating at home if I have a little piece of porkchop left but no coleslaw I will serve just the right amount of slaw to complete my "bite". Obviously this could lead to a never ending meal if you aren't careful or get to crazy about it so i make sure to eat any "extra" bites before I get to the end of the meal so that the last bite can be "complete".

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: bolivianita

                                                                  that is soooo me!! I am all about having a little bit of everything in each bite, and will make sure to keep track of that as the meal is disappearing, just incase I start to run out of any one item.
                                                                  The absolute best meal for the "everything on the fork" is Thanksgiving dinner! (thank goodness for big fancy dinner forks)

                                                                2. I do this too and I think the quirks add to making a dining experience fun. However, the downside is when your last and BEST bite ends up being horribly disappointing. I've had this happen to me several times and leaves me full of regret.

                                                                  For example, if I save the juiciest, most perfectly cooked clam for last on my plate of linguine with clams. And then that last clam ends up being full of grit and sand, it crushes me. And I end up feeling deceived and keep saying to myself "Why, oh why did I choose THAT clam for last!"

                                                                  1. This is exactly why I find eating a fresh artichoke, leaf by leaf, so sumptious. I mean, who can argue with such an amazing finale as an artichoke heart??

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: foodie in seattle

                                                                      I was waiting for the artichoke eaters out there!