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Feb 5, 2011 05:15 PM

Do you get obsessed with certain foods?

Does anyone else go through food "phases" where they eat the same thing every day, look for/make different version of it, and eat practically nothing else for weeks or months? For example this fall I think I ate a sweet potato almost every single day for breakfast. I even traipsed around Vancouver looking for harder to find varieties like the purple yams. Then after about 3 months that subsided, although I still eat them a few times a week. Or for the past month I've eaten tinned salmon for pretty much every weekday dinner. I normally don't eat butter on my toast but for a month I've been having buttered toast every morning, I just suddenly HAD to have it, until one morning I woke up and didn't feel like eating butter again. Stuff like that. It's almost like fixating on certain foods for no apparent reason.
Anyone else get like this? People are surprised when they find out what a ritualistic/habitual eater I am because they know i love to cook. But I also love routine, which I'm guessing is a big part of it.
(I feel like this makes me sound like a total nutjob; but I swear I'm not! Only slightly neurotic, for the most part.)

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  1. Not quite on a daily level, but I hadn't eaten chinese food for over twenty years (long dumb boring story) when I switched depts at work and they would send out for Chinese on payday so I started going along with it; Now I'm going to dim sum nearly every weekend and will take a long lunch multiple times a week just to eat something Asian, and it's usually Chinese. I've gone from revulsion to obsession. Go figure.

    In my defense, I'm a captive audience most of the time to a hospital cafeteria that used to be good and has really gotten bad in its attempt to healthy up. Meanwhile at the grill you can get plain Or seasoned fries OR tater tots- so healthy. Thank God they amped up their salad bar to a decent level, it was horrible before, now it's got some good stuff- at $.35 per ounce, so one has to be careful, but ho wah

    1. I am *exactly* like this. Either it extends into cooking, or cooking is an extension of this "phasey" eating. I like to make something enough times that I feel I know what I'm doing. Small variations from day to day can unhinge me for a couple of hours.

      In the summer of 2009, I started to make 1-2-3-4 cake if not every day, then three times a week. I wouldn't even frost it. It was all about learning to make the cake. I tried it with whole eggs, I tried it with separated eggs. Twice I forgot to put the eggs in at all (for some reason, this only happened when I made a single layer--maybe I only made single layers when I was already in a hurry.)

      Until a couple of weeks ago, I was perfecting the grilled cheese sandwich. I hit it wrong as many times as right, even when I made a mark on one of the burner knobs. Sometimes I'd burn it, sometimes it would take forever to come up to speed. It made me wonder if there weren't something wrong with my stovetop.

      I thought I was going to spend a lot of time braising this winter, but I've mostly only made stracotto and beans. I braised a couple of whole chickens, only to find out that once I'm done with the white meat, chicken grosses me out. I've always had an issue with touching cold, greasy meat, but I've also always loved making stock (very simple, a la Barbara Kafka in SOUP), from which I would then making soup. I've hardly ever owned pre-made soup in my life.

      I suspect this sudden aversion to chicken isn't really what you're talking about. Unless, of course, it's just another facet -- the flip side, if you will -- of food obsession. But I've never had shifting food *hatreds*. The things I don't eat, I never ate.

      I'm in kind of a holding pattern now. Grilled cheese has come and gone. I've been eating St. Andre, bread, and sometimes Bonne Maman raspberry or cherry preserves. But this isn't typical.

      I went through a big fish phase in the summer and fall of 2010, which seems to have abated. Or is it coming back? I've been going to "All The Sushi You Can Eat for $21.99" at the Penn Avenue Fish Company (Pittsburgh, Strip District) every Wednesday for a couple of weeks now. I think it's the best place in town to buy fish, and their sushi is very, very good. I"d say sushi might be my current food obsession, but I don't think I could ever eat sushi every day.

      I bought some salmon last time I was there, which I made with a sweet and sour marinade this week. I cooked up some onions in EVOO, then reduced a lot of red wine vinegar in it. Then I mixed in some dried, sweetened (cane sugar) cranberries. I roasted the salmon, then let it marinate in this mixture in the fridge for the day. Delicious if you like cold salmon. I have a lot of leftover cranberries, so I thought about trying this with a different fish, sole, maybe snapper.

      It sounds as if I'm in a fish phase, doesn't it? I guess it's better than eating cake every day.

      1. I eat edamame every day when the urge hits me. I love to keep fresh pineapple in the house too.

        1. Broccoli. Can't get enough of the stuff, been like this for close to a decade now. Daily, sometimes 2x a day.

          14 Replies
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              That's not an obsession.

              It's a genetic need. Sort of like oxygen.

            2. re: ipsedixit

              Do you think it makes you healthier? I *wish* I liked broccoli and kale enough to eat them. (Please, no "you haven't tried it my way" responses. I have tried both of them many ways.)

              1. re: Jay F

                I just like how they taste.

                I steam them lightly, and as goodhealthgourmet hinted at above, I eat them with mustard, usu. the spicy deli brown kind.

                And, no, I don't expect people to generally like broccoli the way I do.

                I also obsess over cabbage, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), and Chinese green cabbage. Go figure.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I've also been on a cabbage kick - it's been almost a month now. I'll usually finish a *giant* head in about 2 days...or less. I blanch it in salted water, then dip into a sauce comprised of various combinations of oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, mirin, sriracha, chili garlic hot sauce. It is an indulgence i look forward to going home to in the

                  1. re: pinkprimp

                    That sounds yummy, I love cabbage in Asian dishes, celery too. Can you elaborate on your sauces mixture?

                    1. re: JEN10

                      i really do just taste-and-mix those various sauces as i go...i change the ratios depending on the particular flavour i crave. i'm thinking of adding a melted nut butter to my sauce tonight...mmmmm...

                      1. re: pinkprimp

                        Funny, but I like to steam my cabbage and drizzle with a bit of "dressing" made from rice wine vinegar, diced garlic, and sugar.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          If I can get out tomorrow I will be picking me up some cabbage. Thank you for the good and delicious ideas.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  I have a similar obsession with rapini. I could eat it for breakfast - actually, I do! I prep it by simply sauteing it up with evoo (maybe some chx stock and garlic) and keep it in my fridge for whenever. I've nuked to for breakfast and eat it with grated cheese.

                  1. re: monavano

                    Me too!

                    Rapini is what I meant up above when I said "Chinese green cabbage"

                    1. re: monavano

                      I am 50+ years old and JUST discovered rapini this year!! All that rapini I missed out on... can't get enough of the stuff. Tossed it in EVOO and garlic and roasted it...YUM! Also garlic scapes, too bad they're only here for a short time.

                  2. Wonton noodle soup. It's definitely an obsession and if I can order it I always will. I have made my own a few times from scratch a few times, but it's just not the same.