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Are You a Compartment Eater or Proportional Saver? Do You Know One?

OK, these may just be points on a weird continuum, but do you ever/generally:

(A) Eat all of one thing on your plate before moving to another thing (e.g., all the fries before the hamburger)?;

(B) Eat everything, but keep winnowing it down so that at the end you still have one bite left of everything?; or

(C) Eat haphazardly?

I'm definitely a (B), and I can't help staring whenever I'm in the presence of an (A). Which are you and why?


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  1. Generally a B but have been known to switch to an A if a particular component is extremely good or extremely bad.

      1. B. Completely and totally, every single meal, unless I hate something on the plate, of course. But even then, the remaining items are eaten in the same balanced manner.

        I think A eaters are weird. I have two friends who are type A, and I just find it so peculiar. One says he could not eat the way I do. He must eat one item at a time, and nothing can touch each other.

        If I had to eat like an A for some reason, I could do it. It wouldn't make me cry or feel sick, or gross me out. But it wouldn't be right, either.

        1. Mostly B with some slippage into C. Re: your A example, I know a few people who do that because they want to eat all the fries while they're still piping hot, whereas the burger will still taste good if it sits for a few minutes. I can understand that.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cookie monster

            Thanks for explaining this so well. I guess I am a "C" as the temperature of the various foods on my plate determine how I eat that particular meal. I generally enjoy food at room temp but exceptions are hot soups and deep fried foods; if these are present I am all "A" and consume them exclusively until they are gone. Otherwise, I tend to "B", but I do make certain that I consume all of the food I like the best. If I get too full I want to be sure that what is left on my plate is not my favorite.

            1. re: cookie monster

              I am also a B, but the burger and fries is probably my only A situation. I hate cold fries.

              1. re: Kontxesi

                I agree with the A philosophy in the case of (cold) fries. But I stick to B in that case anyway, assuming that it is nature's way of making sure I don't eat all of the fries!

            2. I guess sort of a combo of A and B. I tend to eat all my vegetables first because I'm not much of a veggie fan but I know I need to eat them. So, if they're being served separately (ie not in a stir fry or casserole or whatever), I'll eat them first, but then alternate between whatever else is on the plate.

              2 Replies
              1. re: juliejulez

                I find it easier to eat veg if I also have the other two components in my mouth simultaneously. Yesterday, I ate cauliflower, meat loaf, and green beans, and I would not have been able to stomach the cauliflower had the meat loaf not been hiding the cauliflower nastiness.

                In fact, the cauliflower was the last thing on my plate, and I didn't eat one more bite.

                1. re: juliejulez

                  Me too, exactly. I like to get rid of the "have-to eat" and save the "get-to eat" for last.

                2. Definitely A usually, BUT depending on the situation/meal, I sometimes do the opposite and cut everything up ahead of time, (I know. The horror!), mix it together and eat with a spoon. In my defense, I only do that when rice is involved and I am eating while working. I'm a server, so food must be consumed very efficiently and in short bursts.

                  1. Definitely a "B", I like to blend all the flavors/textures in my mouth.

                    1. C. It totally depends on what I am eating and what else is going on while I am eating. If one of the items is something I love more than most food, I will save all of it for last and savor it. Likewise if something on my plate isn't very palatable, I will eat it first and get it out of the way. And if I am engaged in a really lively conversation, I wil eat randomly.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jlhinwa

                        Such a good description of "C" eating. I fit here too.

                      2. I'm often an A. Even when I really like the meat/fish component I often crave the good veggie component i.e chard, Brussels sprouts, great carrots, and eat them first.

                        1. I can't say I've ever thought about it. I just rely on my taste buds to tell me what to have a bite of next. I guess you could say I'm a hedonistic eater... If it tastes good, have some more! But I'd certainly not call it haphazard. It's all sequential pleasure! '-)

                          1. C but I usually leave the last bite of whatever I like the most for last.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Yup, depends.

                                If I like everything on the plate and there are lots of different combinations that I want to try together, I'm kind of haphazard, but try to leave my favourite bite combo to last.

                                If it's a plate of food where components are best eaten separately I will always end with my favourite component and try to eat less favourites towards the start.

                                If there is something on the plate that I don't really like (usually veggie related), I try to eat most of it first or very early process.

                              2. A - definitely. Always eating from the "least favorite" item to the "most favorite"

                                1 Reply
                                1. My late father was a 'B' type eater. Everything on his plate got eaten, but it had to end up even. The final forkful would have a bite of protein, veg and starch. He deliberately cut the size of the bites to finish with an even amount.

                                  1. (B) 'Cause I like a variety of tastes, not because that's how the hi-maint, brooding chef wants it to be. What the heck is (C) ?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                      "What the heck is (C)?"

                                      If you read (B) as eating the things on your plate in rotation (say, a bite of steak, a spoonful of mashed potatoes, a forkful of salad, repeat ad infinitum) then (C) would be eating things on your plate in a willy-nilly fashion: 2 bites of steak, a spoonful of potatoes, another bite of steak, 3 forkfuls of salad, potatoes, salad, potatoes, steak, etc.


                                      1. re: ttoommyy

                                        Hi, ttoommyy:

                                        Exactly what I meant.


                                    2. I believe I'm a C so A and B look a bit OCD to me. ;)

                                        1. I would have to say I am a C. I eat somewhat at the same rate but am not rigid about it and don't mind if I have three bites of just mashed potatoes. What I cannot do that lots of B eaters I know do is combine bites. I want most all of my foods on the fork seperately. There are some exceptions like mashed potatoes and green beans can make it on the same for. But mostly I am just a willy nilly eater.

                                          1. do the results say something about zodiac sign?

                                            1. C. I should note that since I rarely eat dessert, I save the best thing on the plate for last few bites. Be it noted that I do not consider cheese platters as dessert. A seperate course on its' own.

                                                1. B - I will try everything before anything else is finished but I usually decide on a favorite component and will finish that last. I usually always eat my vegetable first because I like them to be quite hot and don't mind lukewarm meat.

                                                  1. (D) Savagely and randomly.

                                                    1. B unless there's something i like significantly less than the other things. then i get that out of the way, and i'm back to the B method.

                                                      ETA the thing i like best i save for the final bite.

                                                      it would make me slightly crazy(ier) to finish my fries before my burger, the opposite is not true. i normally save a few fries for the end.

                                                      1. Mainly B, but not OCD about it. So occasionally edging into C. Another question: One food per bite, or each bite a combination of foods? Mostly the latter for me, a burger bite with a fry is better than a burger bite followed by a fry.

                                                        1. I'm mostly a C, with some B tendencies.

                                                          I think it was Terms of Endearment (book, not movie) that featured a character who had B eating down to a science - it was described lovingly and in great detail. All the other guests would watch eagerly to see how he would make it work, and the hostess would occasionally serve dinners that would challenge the eater to have it come out even in the end.

                                                          1. I eat my veggies first.

                                                            I learned a long time ago that I would not be allowed to leave the table without finishing my veggies, and they were less appetizing when cold, so why not eat them while they are hot.

                                                            If I was given a reprieve, the veggies were served for breakfast the next day, still cold and unappetizing.

                                                            Today I love veggies, and that's the other reason I eat them first.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                              Now that you mention it, I do this sometimes. If the plate has some semi-yucky hot veg, I may eat them first. Because they will surely be more yucky lukewarm. BTW are you *the* Graydon Carter? A semi-fan wants to know.

                                                            2. (B). Not Scientifically though. There may not be enough of something on the plate sometimes to make it to the end. Food should be hot, not cold ;-)
                                                              I, like you, "can't help staring whenever I'm in the presence of an (A)". Burger and fries is a big one. Steak and whatever is another.

                                                              1. C probably describes me the best but with really GOOD fries? I eat them first.

                                                                1. All the A's I know are skinny.

                                                                  All the B's I know are like me, err.... husky.

                                                                  I'm not sure I know any C's.

                                                                  Given the fact that I have few friends, the results of my observations may be due to pure chance. Has anyone else made any similar (or opposite) observations?

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: alarash

                                                                    alarash, I thought about this and I have similar observations. in fact, I have a family member who has, for whatever reasons if any, changed from a (C) or maybe a (B) to an (A) and has slimmed down considerably. this person also seems to eat a lot less now than I have observed in the past, but is quite satisfied at the table.

                                                                    1. re: alarash

                                                                      Interesting observation, I'll be on the lookout. I'm a B most of the time but not too husky.

                                                                      1. re: alarash

                                                                        I wish that were true! I have an hour glass figure w a few extra minutes! And, I'm definitely an A eater

                                                                        1. re: alarash

                                                                          As an A who has struggled to keep myself fit, my B husband is totally skinny. Not a very big observational pool, I know.

                                                                        2. B, generally, but sometimes C. Depends on what I'm eating. Some meals, like Thanksgiving, I like to have a little of everything on my fork for each bite.

                                                                          1. Y'know, I think the only time I am a stickler for "A" is when I used to eat those Swanson's TV dinners.

                                                                            It was always one compartment at a time, e.g. mashed potatoes, then peas and carrots, then cranberry pie dessert, then the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy box.

                                                                            I don't even do that nowadays with bento boxes.

                                                                            1. Usually a C with sometimes being a B when I like everything on the plate.

                                                                                1. Hmmmm...I was taught that B was the polite way to eat. However, I wasn't allowed to leave anything on the plate when I was growing up. So, I tend to do A, starting with my least favorite item. That way, the last bite I have is something I like the most.

                                                                                  1. Here's an interesting take on this subject. (I knew I'd read the birth order thing somewhere, I just had to search for the reference. Mindless Eating is a good book, BTW.) I'm a single child (for birth-order purposes anyway--no offence, big brother) and I do tend to save the best for last.


                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Jeri L

                                                                                      That's a really interesting article