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Are you making a specialty food?

How many times do you chew a bite of food?

ipsedixit Nov 18, 2013 07:22 PM

Assuming you chew, of course?

Do you pay attention?

Many scientists say the optimal number of chews per average bite of food is around 10 chews.

Personally, I don't think I chew my average bite of food 10 times. Certainly not things like PB&J, and even things like dry cereal, I don't think I go for more than 5 or 6, tops.


  1. KaimukiMan Nov 21, 2013 09:27 AM

    4-6 on many things
    10 would be for a thick steak.
    I definitely under chew, a bad habit from college days when I had 30 minutes to get from one end of campus to the other and squeeze lunch in that same 30 minutes. yes, many many years ago - nothing has since persuaded me to go back to multiple chews.

    6 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan
      Veggo Nov 21, 2013 09:48 AM

      Interesting to hear here how people choose chews.

      1. re: Veggo
        alkapal Nov 21, 2013 10:32 AM

        veggo, you should let everyone know that you have a reticulated jaw and do no chewing at all when you are at katz's deli.

        1. re: alkapal
          Veggo Nov 21, 2013 10:47 AM

          Cool! Your original artwork is prominently displayed on my fridge, securely attached with my 7 Wash Post Style Invitational magnets!

          1. re: Veggo
            alkapal Nov 21, 2013 10:51 AM

            heheh, must be getting a wee bit of weathering on the edges.

            i'm honored (making a deep, theatrical, diva-esque curtsey).

            1. re: Veggo
              Veggo Nov 21, 2013 05:53 PM

              To clarify, magnets are for losing, not winning....!
              But I have the edges covered. Pristine, archive quality.

        2. re: KaimukiMan
          KaimukiMan Nov 21, 2013 07:21 PM

          I actually paid attention to how much I chewed at lunchtime today. it was leftover beef stew, so did require some chewing. Most bites it was between 14-20 chews - far more than I estimated. Some bites of especially tender pieces were more in the 6-8 chew category. Ice cream for dessert - 3-4 chews per bite.

        3. s
          Scrofula Nov 21, 2013 07:58 AM

          I'm a chewer. Never counted, but 10 sounds plausible, depending on what I'm eating.

          1. t
            treb Nov 20, 2013 03:22 PM

            I counted once years ago and failed miserably as I chew as few times as possible. Hey it's expending energy I can use on something else.

            1. b
              beevod Nov 20, 2013 07:59 AM

              I reckon that carefully counting the number of chews greatly enhances the dining experience.

              7 Replies
              1. re: beevod
                Veggo Nov 20, 2013 08:16 AM

                And of course the average number of bites per meal is 34, the average chews per bite is 12, and it's always exciting to see whether you are over or under that magic 408 total, and share it with the dinner guests you are with, probably for the last time....

                1. re: Veggo
                  beevod Nov 20, 2013 10:00 AM

                  The real key is to get a kindly soul to chew your food for you, thus enabling you to better concentrate on the flatware.

                  1. re: beevod
                    ricepad Nov 20, 2013 11:31 AM

                    A visit to Prechew Charlie's is in order!


                  2. re: Veggo
                    ipsedixit Nov 20, 2013 11:38 AM

                    That's why I never leave home without my chewometer.

                  3. re: beevod
                    alkapal Nov 20, 2013 08:22 PM

                    i'd suggest alternatively that carefully counting the number of chews dulls the dining experience, leading one down the path to madness.

                    1. re: alkapal
                      Veggo Nov 21, 2013 07:42 AM

                      "Hey doc, how many times do I chew this Thorazine?"

                      1. re: alkapal
                        Perilagu Khan Nov 21, 2013 07:50 AM

                        Does seem a bit manic, doesn't it?

                    2. melpy Nov 19, 2013 02:46 PM

                      Clifton Webb as Mr. Belvedere in Sitting Pretty said 28 times.

                      I chew maybe 4-6 depending.

                      1. Cherylptw Nov 19, 2013 02:31 PM

                        All I can say is I chew soft foods few times than harder/chewier foods...the BF, on the other hand chews more than I do; I always finish eating before he does. I think he told me that once he almost choked from not chewing his food enough so now he goes overboard.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Cherylptw
                          Veggo Nov 19, 2013 02:35 PM

                          Be sure you know the Hemlock maneuver.

                          1. re: Veggo
                            tcamp Nov 19, 2013 04:12 PM

                            "Hemlock maneuver," ha.

                            Sometimes people just aren't quick enough to carry out that final exit and you have to do it for them.

                            1. re: Veggo
                              GraydonCarter Nov 21, 2013 07:36 AM

                              “How’s it coming along, Doctor Heimlich?”

                              “Well, not very well at the moment. It’s... not really a maneuver at the moment. It’s more of a gesture.”

                              1. re: GraydonCarter
                                alkapal Nov 21, 2013 10:34 AM

                                a gesture of ultimate meaning, however.

                          2. tcamp Nov 19, 2013 10:17 AM

                            The perfect number of times.

                            1. Perilagu Khan Nov 19, 2013 09:49 AM

                              The scientists would tut-tut over my chewing. I'm afraid I tend to gulp food down more than I should. This phenomenon is most pronounced--surprise, surprise--when the food is particularly delicious and when I'm especially ravenous.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                Veggo Nov 19, 2013 09:52 AM

                                Slow it down, PK! A nice meal needs a little foreplay and is not a game of beat the clock!
                                Go munch a habanero....:)

                                1. re: Veggo
                                  JayL Nov 19, 2013 04:03 PM

                                  What is ironic is that I just munch on 1/2 a habanero at dinner...my wife had the other 1/2. Green and quite warm...but very tasty.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    Perilagu Khan Nov 20, 2013 07:54 AM

                                    What can I tell ya', Veggo? I'm really just a humble barbarian in emperor's garb.

                                2. r
                                  ricepad Nov 19, 2013 08:39 AM

                                  Not enough. My grandfather used to claim he chewed each bite 32 times.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: ricepad
                                    ipsedixit Nov 19, 2013 08:50 AM

                                    No offense to our elders but 32 times just seems like overkill.

                                    Imagine chewing Mapo Tofu 32 times?!

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      ricepad Nov 19, 2013 09:02 AM

                                      Yeah, I always wondered about that claim, too, especially since he did love his tofu, but he's been gone for 35+ years, so I can't ask him about it.

                                      1. re: ricepad
                                        chompie Nov 19, 2013 09:30 AM

                                        more time on the tastebuds, less on the teeth

                                      2. re: ipsedixit
                                        ferret Nov 19, 2013 10:21 AM

                                        Mapo tofu -- I could really go for some now....

                                    2. Veggo Nov 19, 2013 07:32 AM

                                      soft ripened cheese = 3
                                      oysters = 4
                                      sautéed foie gras =6
                                      mac and cheese =7
                                      ham and cheese sandwich =9
                                      N.Y. strip steak = 13
                                      all else falls between 3 and 13, except one ex's roasts that required 16. As I mentioned, ex.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        ipsedixit Nov 19, 2013 08:05 AM

                                        oysters = 4

                                        So you're a chewer, eh? Interesting.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          Veggo Nov 19, 2013 08:09 AM

                                          Goodness, way too much oyster flavor is never enjoyed by slurping.

                                        2. re: Veggo
                                          SaraAshley Nov 19, 2013 08:05 AM


                                          1. re: SaraAshley
                                            Veggo Nov 19, 2013 08:39 AM

                                            Fret not - I know when to back off with the toofies!

                                            1. re: Veggo
                                              SaraAshley Nov 19, 2013 09:20 AM

                                              Phewwww....thank god!!

                                        3. j
                                          JayL Nov 19, 2013 07:23 AM

                                          As many times as it takes for me to swallow.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: JayL
                                            SaraAshley Nov 19, 2013 08:04 AM


                                            1. re: SaraAshley
                                              ipsedixit Nov 19, 2013 08:09 AM

                                              I think that overthinking -- or concentrating -- on how many times one chews, or has to chew, detracts from the enjoyment of food.

                                              A little vignette. On a flight recently, I was sitting next to a dietitian who insisted that she chew her food a certain number of times (22 if I recall correctly). I had already progressed to my second vanilla sundae before she had even made it through half of her short ribs. By the time the flight attendant came around to ask whether she wanted dessert, we were about to make our initial decent. I asked whether she liked the short ribs (I thought they were quite good for airline food), she said, "kind of chewy." Yeah, no fucking kidding.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                SaraAshley Nov 19, 2013 09:10 AM

                                                Yeah, it's always seemed ridiculous to me to actually count. I think it's definitely good to chew your food and take a little time to enjoy it instead of trying to shove it all down your piehole as fast as you can (my little brother eats like this), but to count? Not enjoyable at all.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                  tcamp Nov 19, 2013 10:16 AM

                                                  That may have been my sister. She is a dietitian and a devotee of excessive chewing.

                                                  1. re: tcamp
                                                    ferret Nov 19, 2013 10:20 AM

                                                    It's a brute force approach to portion control.

                                            2. m
                                              magiesmom Nov 19, 2013 06:41 AM

                                              28 times. , old habit from macrobiotic days.
                                              It is a good tool for me to slow down my too fast eating tendency.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: magiesmom
                                                SaraAshley Nov 19, 2013 07:22 AM

                                                My Dad used to follow a macrobiotic diet, and when I was a kid, he always stressed the importance of "chewing your food up well." I never paid much attention to it and have no idea how many times I chew my food now.

                                                1. re: SaraAshley
                                                  ferret Nov 19, 2013 07:53 AM

                                                  Makes no difference nutritionally (you can conceivably swallow big bites whole and they'll break down effectively in your stomach - although I'd never recommend it), may make a difference in terms of how much you ultimately consume.

                                                2. re: magiesmom
                                                  fldhkybnva Nov 20, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                  Does the food turn to mush? That sounds tiring.

                                                3. p
                                                  Puffin3 Nov 19, 2013 06:18 AM

                                                  My son when he stared going to school came home and started to chew his food a certain number of times. He told me he had learned that he must chew his food that many times. I told him to not worry so much about it but he kept doing it. Eventually he stopped counting his 'chews' but still 'chewed' his food many more times than the rest of us. I'm certain when he ate by himself he counted every 'chew'. Drove me NUTS!

                                                  1. y
                                                    youareabunny Nov 19, 2013 12:42 AM

                                                    Not nearly enough. Sometimes I eat like a crocodile.

                                                    1. f
                                                      fourunder Nov 18, 2013 09:37 PM

                                                      That would depend on what I'm eating specifically. If I enjoy something...then I try to savor for as long as possible with more chews.. ...If it's something not very interesting to begin with, then not so much.

                                                      Think FOF as opposed to simple steamed fish without aromatics.

                                                      1. emglow101 Nov 18, 2013 09:19 PM

                                                        Six.Then I gulp it down like a labrador. In between bites, less than a minute.Depends if I'm eating with someone.It may take longer.

                                                        1. cayjohan Nov 18, 2013 09:17 PM

                                                          Well, I just did pay attention upon seeing this while eating a rice cake with lemon curd. Each bite was chewed twenty-five to thirty times, with the longer chew times a result of more little rice husks in the bite, and the husks are sort of pleasant to chew. The rest of my food? I'd guess I rarely chew anything fewer than ten times (and likely longer) given the food I eat tends to need that. I am also on the slower side of the spectrum of eaters, so that plays in. But really, I just like chewing my food a little longer. It...tastes good.

                                                          1. f
                                                            ferret Nov 18, 2013 09:09 PM

                                                            I fletcherize my food. Can't chew too much, I always say.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: ferret
                                                              DonShirer Nov 20, 2013 06:56 PM

                                                              Read what Mary Roach has to say about Fletcher and his endless chewing in "Gulp-Adventures on the Alimentary Canal".

                                                              1. re: DonShirer
                                                                Veggo Nov 20, 2013 07:06 PM

                                                                Is this like counting sheep to fall asleep?

                                                                1. re: Veggo
                                                                  alkapal Nov 20, 2013 08:18 PM

                                                                  i'm pretty sure it is like chewing like sheep.

                                                                2. re: DonShirer
                                                                  ferret Nov 21, 2013 06:12 AM

                                                                  I did. Just wondering if anyone would catch teh obscure reference.

                                                                  1. re: ferret
                                                                    GraydonCarter Nov 21, 2013 07:30 AM

                                                                    So you masticate in public?

                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                      Perilagu Khan Nov 21, 2013 07:49 AM

                                                                      Diogenes did.

                                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter
                                                                        alkapal Nov 21, 2013 10:34 AM

                                                                        i have received fundraising pleas from the anti-mastication league, but i yet have to fork over any dough.

                                                                        i may have to ruminate on that decision, though.

                                                                        1. re: alkapal
                                                                          Perilagu Khan Nov 21, 2013 12:14 PM

                                                                          I've contributed to the American Civil Mastication Union a time or two.

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