Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 2, 2011 11:18 AM

Foods you always "deconstruct"

So what are the foods that you tend to pick apart to eat, rather than eating as a whole?

I'm not talking about charcuterie plates or sampler platters that are designed to be eaten separately. I'm also not talking about picking out the parts you don't like (such as onions in a salad or nuts on a brownie). I mean those foods where you eat all of one ingredient or part separate from the rest, before eating the rest.

Do you eat the frosting and cake separately?
Pick the pepperoni off your pizza before you eat the slice?

Does anyone have a spouse or friend who does this to your annoyance, or who gets annoyed by you doing it?

I have a friend who orders steak with mushrooms and onions, and every bite has to have meat, mushrooms, onions, as well as any sauce, all on the fork together. Meanwhile, I love mushrooms so much I eat them all first.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Tines up or tines down?

    I usually have to reconstruct a Big Mac because one of the patties has slid halfway off the bun and the pickles are all stacked up instead of being somewhat distributed across the burger.

    4 Replies
    1. re: GraydonCarter

      Hah, i guess re-construction is a different question! It could include improperly tossed salads or pizza toppings that slid off the crust I guess ;)

      1. re: 2roadsdiverge

        And tacos. I'm a crazy person when it comes to taco re-construction!

        1. re: 2roadsdiverge

          I sometimes "reconstruct" the overall dish when I eat sushi/sashimi or with elaborately plated and geometrically laid-out dishes (whether appetizers or entrees), including high-end stuff in fancy restaurants, as two examples in this direction.

          With sushi/sashimi I sometimes eat the pieces in a pattern that appeals to me at the moment (whether by taste or by visual design) and rearrange the remaining pieces and/or ginger/ and/or other garnishes into a new configuration, or an increasingly compacted recreation of the original arrangement.

          With elaborate apps/entrees I sometimes also rearrange the bits and pieces as I go along; or with those laid out in geometric patterns (apps, in particular) I do both deconstruction and recontruction - such as eating a finely chopped accompaniment laid out on the plate in a flat 'landscape' field in a geometric manner, by sweeping a part of the field up with my fork in the same diagonal (or whatever) direction at the same angle, and/or cutting the main bit in a complementary angle steadily piece by piece... At other times I just attack it and demolish it in short order. :-)

        2. re: GraydonCarter

          Oh my gosh, I'm a stickler for even distribution too! Pickles on hamburgers, for sure. But even when I make a sandwich, I fold round lunchmeat in half so that it has a straight edge, and then I line it up with the straight edge of the bread. I hate a bread bite with no meat! It's miserable.

        3. If you're not Canadian you won't get it, but I eat all of the layers in a Coffee Crisp bar one at a time, from the top down. Messy, but yummy.

          21 Replies
          1. re: CanadaGirl

            I know those candy bars, and I get you. Your post reminded me of the classic deconstructed food: Oreo cookies!

            1. re: 2roadsdiverge

              Oh, but a Coffee Crisp is so much better! I especially love the thick layer of coffee-flavoured stuff in the middle. I'd buy just that part if I could - it's why I eat it layer be layer.

              1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                Coffee Crisp has Oreos beat. I could always "convince" American colleagues to see things my way in exchange for a bar or two.

                The layer-by-layer eating is less messy with the Halloween-size bars. Also less fulfilling.

                1. re: wattacetti

                  True about the less mess with the Halloween bars. But, my favourite middle layer is thinner in the Halloween bars, so I'd rather deal with the mess :)

                  1. re: wattacetti

                    I once had an Orange Coffee Crisp (limited flavor? It was either in Canada or England, I can't remember). I fear I'm now ruined for life.

                    1. re: LeoLioness

                      It may have been Canada, as I remember seeing them a while ago. I never had one, as I do not like the combination of orange and chocolate. You need to try the original sometime. Mmmmm, mmmmmm, mmmmmm.

                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                        I can get the original ones around here (for a princely sum) and love it, but orange + coffee + chocolate = really, really love it.

                        1. re: LeoLioness

                          CanadaGirl, your patience impresses me. Faced with a Coffee Crisp, there is NO WAY that thing isn't down the hatch in less than 120 seconds.

                  2. re: 2roadsdiverge

                    Oh I wasn't comparing the two. Your post just reminded me that there are foods that are almost designed to be deconstructed.

                    I know they aren't the same as Coffee Crisp, but I eat Kit Kat bars layer by layer, from the top down. I consider it a victory if i can get a whole layer lengthwise without it breaking.

                    1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                      Oh, I knew you weren't comparing. I was just ranking ;)

                      1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                        I do the Kit Kats similarly, but first I nibble off the chocolate around the edges in order to expose the layers of cookie before stripping the cookie layers off one by one.

                        I've actually got a Coffee Crisp sitting in my pantry right now- the local Publix has been beefing up their UK junk food offerings lately, and I got one there to try since I've heard good things about them.

                        1. re: beachmouse

                          I wonder if the UK Coffee Crisp tastes the same as a Canadian one. I'm going have to try to find one and do a taste test :)

                        2. re: 2roadsdiverge

                          Never really got why oreos and other sandwich-type cookies are deconstructed by folks. All of these taste better to me when the components are eaten together, as they were designed to be.

                        3. re: 2roadsdiverge

                          I once had a job as one of two people caring for lab animals at a hospital's small research facility. The 8 rhesus monkeys were intelligent creatures doomed to living in individual steel cages with nothing to entertain them. So we supplemented their Purina Monkey Chow with other foods we brought in. Usually fresh fruits and vegetables but on one occasion, neither of us remembered, so we gave each one of them an Oreo. They sniffed and examined. Then 5 of them ate their cookies as is, but the other 4 opened them and licked the filling first. I am quite sure they could not have encountered creme-filled cookies before....nobody needs to persuade ME that monkeys and man have a common ancestor!

                        4. re: CanadaGirl

                          Makes a nice light snack. It's how I like my coffee. Crisp.

                          Not Canadian - but originally from Buffalo. Wish we had Coffee Crisp here.

                          1. re: sbp

                            I was dreadfully disappointed in a Coffee Crisp I bought in Brooklyn a while back (was Crunchie-shaped and in a boring wrapper, not the fun double-layered cigarette-packagy one I remember as a kid). Not what I remembered at all. Me or it?

                            1. re: buttertart

                              You got me; I haven't had one in decades! I did have some Mackintosh Toffee a few years ago (renamed Mac).

                              1. re: buttertart

                                It!! The package has changed from a few years ago, but the Coffee Crisps in Canada are perfectly rectangular and taste just as good; I've never been disappointed.

                          2. I don't deconstruct bibimbap; I just refuse to un-deconstruct it. If that's even a word. I know that one is supposed to stir all the elements together into one big shmush, but I prefer to eat everything separately. It's like a buffet in a bowl.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: small h

                              "un-deconstruct"? Isn't that just "construct"? LOL

                              I know what you mean about bibimbap, but I have to stir it up a bit. I get it in the sizzling stone bowl with an egg, so I need to cook the egg on the bowl. But I don't want to stir it too much so the rice gets nice and crispy. Mmmm.

                              1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                Yeah, you're right. "Construct" is probably the best word. And the shortest! I've had to fight off well-meaning waitresses who come at me armed with those super-long spoons when they see me stirring the egg into a ridiculously tiny area of rice, so as not to disturb the rest of the bowl. This probably makes me seem crazy, but I don't care.

                                1. re: small h


                                  p.s. I don't particularly care for bibimbap myself. :-\

                                2. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                  I only mix the top layer of rice in with the toppings, so the bottom can crisp up while I dig in, because I can't wait, you know. Then, after the crispy bits have had time to form, I take the soup spoon and start scraping them up into the rest, so there are crispy bits in with what's left of the rest. This is my "best" stone bowl bibimbap.

                                  But, I am also realizing from this thread that I don't much deconstruct food, generally.

                              2. Grilled cheese. Crust first, then grilled bread peeled off, finished with the cheese/bread stuck to cheese.

                                5 Replies
                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                        allergies... the spirit lives on however.

                                        1. re: Emme

                                          For shame. I shall do my part to eat your share, and then some.

                                  1. From a handful of mixed nuts, I might pick out the cashews, then the Brazil nuts. But mostly I don't deconstruct my food.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      OMGosh.......I will do the same with M&Ms. I eat all the brown ones, then the orange (my least favorite colors), then the green, which leaves just blues and yellows. My favorite colors. Even my kitchen is done in cobalt blue and lemon yellow.....tee hee.

                                      1. re: pilotgirl210

                                        Oops. Forgot the reds. Eat those after green :=)

                                        1. re: pilotgirl210

                                 no no. The orange ones come first, then the yellow followed by green, blue and red. The last (because they taste best because they are "all chocolate" - LOL) are the browns. When they used to have two shades of brown, the light brown came first then the dark brown!

                                        2. re: sueatmo

                                          Almonds first, then macadamia, then Brazil and pecans. Then cashews last.

                                          1. re: jbsiegel

                                            I always eat one variety at a time. Brazil nut first (my favorite!) walnut, cashew, almond, then hazelnut. Skip/pick out any peanuts; not worth my time unless they are in shell or in peanut butter! Wierd, yes, but true!

                                          2. re: sueatmo

                                            I don't generally eat mixed nuts. I buy and eat single-variety nuts - kept in its own container/bag - even if I may have more than one variety at the same time.