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Who here chews each bite 50 times?

I've always eaten slow. My handle was not arbitrarily picked. I tend to eat slow and almost constantly. :) Recently I've had some indigestion. I've read somewhere that chewing your food completely can help with indigestion/GI track. Anyways I've started chew each bite 50 times and I found the exercise fun. I notice what the food does for me, and I can eat even more!

Too often, I am so hungry that I find myself scarfing down food like a wolf. After a bit I slow down, but the damage is done. Sooner or later I will get gas, and blam my appetite is gone. Seriously, I'm beginning to see that my North East U.S. culture is just plain wrong. Too many friends and family scarf down their food and then rush to their electronic device. Even worse some people actually eat in front of commercial T.V., or even, gulp, the news!

Food is like death and taxes. Food is about the only pleasure you can count on in life. Even if you cannot taste your food, the act of chewing, and relaxing is awesome. I do not get why people do not want to take time and relax. I find a lot of times I'm relieved to be in a long line or at a traffic light. Why, is my culture trying to take away the joys of eating from my friends, family, and me? Why would people defile such an almost sacred time with commercial T.V., and be at the mercy of the T.V.?

Do people who eat fast or huddle in front of an electronic device find life not worth living? To reject food is to reject life, in my opinion. That's why after a funeral, a feast is given, to celebrate life.

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  1. I'm a restaurateur and for literally 32 years have accepted the fact that all of my meals taken at work will be interrupted in one way or another. I'll bolt down 4-5 good bites of food voraciously, while it's still hot, then the phone will ring or a staffer will approach me with a question. When one of those two things fails to happen, I can count on a customer walking over to my table and asking me what I'm eating. So suffice it to say that a lot of my food's taken after it's sat there and become ice cold.

    My friends (one of whom is a doctor) tell me this is no way to eat. They also recommend that I chew the few first, fresh, hot bites thoroughly and that way I'll get through my meal better. Do I listen? Not really.

    This 'hound is not a "chewer." And I share some of the consequences with the OP.

    However, when I eat, I eat. I don't watch television nor do I even read the paper or a book. I eat.

    1. Sometimes food is about the pleasure, sometimes just about the sustenance. I've never gotten gas or sick from eating too fast but I have TMJ and the thought of chewing each bite 50 times makes my jaw hurt.:-) I'd never wolf down a tasting menu but I've wolfed down bananas after a workout, if I'm rushing around and doing errands.

      1. No, never.

        Unless it is gum, I never chew my food that many times.

        Aside from the pure drudgery of chewing that many times, I wouldn't want the enjoyment of eating to be interrupted with a constant ticker in my head (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ... 50! Swallow. Repeat).

        Life's too short and there's too much good food to be had.

        1 Reply
        1. For me, when to swallow is more a mouth feel than the number of "chomps." Fifty chomps per mouthrul? Who needs to chew apple sauce!

          I find the way and speed with which people chew far more interesting. I used to watch Anthony Bordain with some regularity, and his chewing habits are interesting. He chews VERY fast. Makes me wonder if he has time to taste. But occasionally, when something is really special, he chews slower, and that's very interesting. Andrew Zimmern chews fairly fast, but it doesn't matter. With the stuff he puts in his mouth, I suspect he doesn't have an active taste bud in his entire head! And lucky for him! Eric Ripert chews what I would call "noemal speed." He takes time to taste his food. Alton Brown varies, but he's often fast. Cant remember ever seeing Emeril actually eat. He puts food in his mouth from time to time, then talks, so who knows how fast he chews? The thing I don't know (yet) is whether a chef's style/speed of chewing has any tie in with how good or not so good the food that chef produces may be.... I've never eaten anything prepared by any of the above.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caroline1

            "For me, when to swallow is more a mouth feel than the number of "chomps." Fifty chomps per mouthrul? Who needs to chew apple sauce!"

            Seriously, I think 50 bites is a guideline. I don't chew my soup 50 times. :) I think chewing 50 times is meant as a reality check. Gee, I just chewed 10 times before swallowing a big chunk of steak. Maybe I need to slow down a little.

          2. Why would you choose to chew each bite 50 times? For me it would obviate the basic fun of eating if I had to count each bite that much.

            I totally agree with your observation about people eating while watching TV or doing other things completely destroys the pleasure of eating. And I can certainly understand going about slowing down to really savor and even help digest one's food, but unless this were some kind of eating meditation (which I think I could get into) 50 chews/bite does occur for me as excessive and distracting from the pleasure of the food.

            1. I was thinking about this other night as I was having dinner.

              I'm curious, Pit, do you strive to chew your food 50 times no matter what you are eating. I could see doing it for, say, a hamburger, or steak, or a crusty soudrough bread.

              But what if you were eating porridge? Or foie gras? Or oatmeal? How about mashed potatoes? Still 50 chews? Would that even be possible?

              3 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Bottomless "Seriously, I think 50 bites is a guideline. I don't chew my soup 50 times. :) I think chewing 50 times is meant as a reality check. Gee, I just chewed 10 times before swallowing a big chunk of steak. Maybe I need to slow down a little."

                I try to chew mashed potatoes only about 5-10 times. One benefit of chewing a lot of times with veggies is that the juices are released as you chew. I can feel the liquid of the veggies trickle down my throat as I chew. Very nice when you have a sore throat. I'm not a big fan of processed food, so I'm not sure on the oatmeal, porridge, etc.

                1. re: Bottomless_Pit

                  By juices, do you mean saliva in your mouth?

                  1. re: chowser

                    I'm not sure if the juices are saliva or from the vegetable.

              2. There are only three things I order out that I can say I make a concerted effort to savor and chew a number of times.....but no where near 50 times....

                1. Katz's Pastrami Sandwich
                2. Rutt's Hut Hot Dog with House Relish
                3. McDonald's Filet O Fish

                Change that to four items.....

                4. Peter Luger's Steak

                5 Replies
                1. re: fourunder

                  It's funny you mention the Filet-O-Fish.

                  It's one of my favorite sandwiches in the world (yes, the world) and I had one for a snack this afternoon. I tried counting how many times I chewed one bite. By the time I got to 23, the thing started to taste really unappetizing. I literally spit it out. It felt like someone had given me a spoonful of "Filet-O-Fish babyfood" that had saliva pre-mixed into it.

                  After some experimentation, I think to maximize the taste of the Filet-O-Fish, one needs to chew it no less than 7 times, and definitely no more than 10.


                  (By the way, doing this totally ruined my experience of eating the Filet-O-Fish. After i finished that first one, I had to go buy another and chew, er, I mean eat it normally.)

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I'm with you on the Filet O Fish as one of the best sandwiches in the world.
                    When McD's has the 2 for $3 special, my car seems to steer toward them on its own. I have heard rumors that the FOF goes on sale for .99cents...especially during Lent....but I have yet to ever come across a location that offers the promotion in NJ.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      I see $1 promos for the FoF quite often in SoCal.

                      My typical refuel meal after a long run (>20km) is 2 FoF, a small Vanilla milkshake, and a handful of walnuts.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        I don't normally eat at McD's, but I do travel a lot on business and often will have a Filet-O-Fish - all by itself - at an airport between flights. I find it's just satisfying enough to keep me going without ruining my appetite for my next meal, as a full fast food meal with fries would do.

                        But getting back to the OP's question - no, I do not literally chew each bite 50 times, but I do savor what I eat, I don't wolf my food.

                  2. Ugh, the thought of chewing something 50 times makes me nauseous. Ick. My SIL supposedly choked as a child and ever since that fateful day, she has eaten so slowly and chewed her food untl it is puree in her mouth. Double ugh.

                    1. Last year I was waiting for my mother to finish getting a pedicure and an oldish Asian woman was manning the front desk, eating a cookie. She chewed each bite 135 times. It was freaking maddening. I wanted to make her swallow. Each bite was 135 times, so she had to be counting. Lord. I was there an eternity and never saw her finish the cookie.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: runwestierun

                        And I bet she wasn't overweight, was she?

                        1. re: runwestierun

                          Even better, she had you counting every bite. Makes me want to give it a try and see if I can get others to start counting.

                          1. re: chowser

                            chowser, that's what i was thinking. she made runwestie count, too -- watching her (boy it must've been veeery boring around there. ;-).

                            i think the calories must be smashed to death by 135 chews. yeah, that's the ticket.
                            the "long chew" diet! where's my publisher? i'm gonna make a million bucks, now!

                            50 chews? makes me think of a cow, chewing the cud. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmHK-y...

                        2. Contrary to Grandma's advice, I do not chew each bite 50 times, no matter what I'm eating. I also do not start my day by saying, "Every day in every way I'm getting better and better!"

                          I do not wolf my food under any circumstances, but after about 15 chews, whatever I'm eating tastes more like saliva than food.

                          1. I doubt I could ever accomplish chewing even 1 bite that many times....I was brought up to eat as quickly as possible, so it's ingrained in me to eat quickly.....I typically finish first!

                            1. There's actually a term for this: fletcherizing. Around 1900, a guy named Horace Fletcher maintained that it was necessary to chew one's food thoroughly for proper digestion. This started a fad that went on for several years before it fizzed out. One source I've read says he advocated chewing each bite 32 times, while others say 45 times or even 100 (!) times. His motto was "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate."

                              1. Has anyone tried this? It's really nasty. The food turns into a lumpy, slimy soup in your mouth. It's enough to make me toss my cookies - ick.

                                1 Reply
                                1. theory in charge of reality. 50 times? please don't sit at my table!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Exactly. It's nothing you want to bear witness to, trust me.

                                  2. Yuck!
                                    I can't imagine chewing food until it turns into baby food-it seems a bit OCD and I'm going to surmise that there is no literature that documents any health benefit. I mean saliva does start the digestive process, but there's an entire alimentary system to go through before it comes out the other end!
                                    I think I get the premise, but far more appealing is focusing on the meal without distraction, setting utensils down between bites and sipping your beverage.
                                    Savor your food, don't annihilate it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: monavano

                                      "Savor your food, don't annihilate it."

                                      Words to live by.