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

kaleokahu May 27, 2013 07:02 PM

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?


  1. w
    wattacetti May 27, 2013 07:12 PM

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

    1. westsidegal May 27, 2013 07:14 PM

      A all the way

      1. Jay F May 27, 2013 07:22 PM

        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. cookie monster May 27, 2013 07:31 PM

          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
            Pwmfan May 28, 2013 08:07 AM

            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
              Kontxesi Jun 4, 2013 04:33 AM

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

              1. re: Kontxesi
                sandylc Jun 4, 2013 05:25 PM

                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. juliejulez May 27, 2013 07:52 PM

              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
                Jay F May 28, 2013 05:47 AM

                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
                  hyacinthgirl May 28, 2013 09:40 AM

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

                2. h
                  hilltowner May 27, 2013 07:54 PM

                  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. Atomic76 May 27, 2013 08:06 PM

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

                    1. j
                      jlhinwa May 27, 2013 08:29 PM

                      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
                        tcamp May 28, 2013 08:38 AM

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

                      2. h
                        Hecetamom May 27, 2013 08:33 PM

                        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. Caroline1 May 27, 2013 08:34 PM

                          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. PotatoHouse May 28, 2013 03:57 AM

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

                            1. ipsedixit May 28, 2013 04:50 AM


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                Sooeygun May 28, 2013 06:16 AM

                                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. j
                                jbsiegel May 28, 2013 05:09 AM

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

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jbsiegel
                                  pinehurst May 28, 2013 09:23 AM

                                  This is my style, too.

                                2. bagelman01 May 28, 2013 07:46 AM

                                  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. BiscuitBoy May 28, 2013 08:02 AM

                                    (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
                                      ttoommyy May 28, 2013 01:43 PM

                                      "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
                                        kaleokahu May 29, 2013 07:14 AM

                                        Hi, ttoommyy:

                                        Exactly what I meant.


                                    2. b
                                      Bkeats May 28, 2013 09:19 AM

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

                                      1. r
                                        Reston May 28, 2013 09:25 AM

                                        Definitely B for me.

                                        1. suzigirl May 28, 2013 09:42 AM

                                          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. Gastronomos May 28, 2013 09:42 AM

                                            do the results say something about zodiac sign?

                                            1. i
                                              INDIANRIVERFL May 28, 2013 10:18 AM

                                              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. h
                                                Harters May 28, 2013 10:39 AM

                                                I'm definitely a (C).

                                                1. fldhkybnva May 28, 2013 03:38 PM

                                                  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. f
                                                    flavrmeistr May 29, 2013 08:17 AM

                                                    (D) Savagely and randomly.

                                                    1. eLizard May 29, 2013 01:20 PM

                                                      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. m
                                                        mwhitmore May 30, 2013 05:54 AM

                                                        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. NonnieMuss May 30, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                          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. GraydonCarter May 30, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                            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
                                                              mwhitmore Jun 4, 2013 07:12 PM

                                                              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. Gastronomos May 30, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                              (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. f
                                                                foodieX2 May 30, 2013 03:12 PM

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

                                                                1. alarash Jun 3, 2013 09:48 PM

                                                                  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
                                                                    Gastronomos Jun 4, 2013 09:57 AM

                                                                    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
                                                                      fldhkybnva Jun 4, 2013 05:10 PM

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

                                                                      1. re: alarash
                                                                        Kalivs Jun 4, 2013 10:14 PM

                                                                        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
                                                                          hyacinthgirl Jun 5, 2013 06:41 AM

                                                                          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. k
                                                                          Kontxesi Jun 4, 2013 04:33 AM

                                                                          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. ipsedixit Jun 4, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                                            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. v
                                                                              vttp926 Jun 4, 2013 12:13 PM

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

                                                                              1. s
                                                                                sandylc Jun 4, 2013 05:26 PM


                                                                                1. k
                                                                                  Kalivs Jun 4, 2013 10:06 PM

                                                                                  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. j
                                                                                    Jeri L Jun 4, 2013 10:25 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      Kalivs Jun 4, 2013 11:25 PM

                                                                                      That's a really interesting article

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