“Get it away! Get it away! What is wrong with you?” Now at this point we could play a guessing game as to why my wife, Red, was barking these instructions at me. You could easily be forgiven for thinking I was carrying out some debauched act on a par with Alan Partidge’s mix up over the chocolate mouse. I can even feel you thinking of stopping reading now and reporting me to a variety of law enforcement agencies and on such evidence, who could blame you?
“The bean juice is touching my egg!”
So what hideous crime against humanity had I committed in order to be the target of such vehement rebuke? Well I will let Red’s next sentence explain all. “The bean juice is touching my egg!” Now I know for those of you with a slightly impure mind you may still be considering whether this is some sort of exotic euphemism, but let me assure you it is not.
My sole crime was to serve her dinner in such a way that two of the ingredients, namely the juice from the baked beans and the fried egg, had come into contact. Is this really such an act of barbarous inhumanity, placing me in the ranks of Attila the Hun, Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson and Jim Davidson?
Well, after some research, the answer would appear to be yes. it turns out that there are legions of you who have your own food peculiarities, it is just that we all see our own as normal. It turns out that food ‘weirdness’ is as common amongst your average Joe as a penchant for black bin bags and oranges with Tory ministers. Here are just a few of the most common ones I unearthed:
- the aforesaid bean juice touching any other item on the plate.
- Not being able to eat the ends of sausages (no sniggering at the back please!).
- Only ever eating one food item at a time off your plate ie not mixing things up in your mouth.
- Not liking white food (apparently only being able to eat foods of a certain darkness).
- Only eat food out of bowls not plates.
- Needing to eat small things in multiples of even numbers eg chips.
- Eating the outer layer of things before eating the middle eg twix or maltesers.
- Only able to eat square ended chips.
These are just some of the ones people have happily shared with me, and why are they so happy to share with me? The answer is simple, everyone I have spoken to thinks their food ‘thing’ is normal. This led my research even deeper. Were there even odder examples of food behaviour? The more I researched this topic the more unnerved I became, as some of the obsessions were truly bizarre. So, missing out the sick and illegal ones, here then is a list of the top 3 weird and wonderful food fetishes that are out there.
- Xylophagia – involving the consumption of wood (right that is the last time, one more snigger and you are out!). People suffering from this usually eat things like paper, pencils or tree bark.
- Hyalophogia – the desire to eat glass. This, I do not need to point out, is extremely dangerous and so DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!
- Trichophagia – the compulsive eating of hair.Most often it is women with long hair who eat it directly from their own heads. It can often induce a hairball. In 2007 one teen girl needed a 4.5kg hairball removing from her stomach.
“Whose is it? What colour is it? Is it one of mine? Is it from a head or some other part of the anatomy?”
Now I am sure we have all had that horrific moment when we discover a hair in our food. Hopefully on the plate rather than being pulled from our mouths a la Paul Daniels and his flags on a string. It is sickening! As are the questions racing through our minds: whose is it? What colour is it? Is it one of mine? Is it from a head or some other part of the anatomy? I am sure you can feel yourself starting to baulk already. So, even though it was self-inflicted, pity that poor girl having the equivalent of a small family pet being removed from her stomach.
So what have I learnt through this spate of culinary fetish research? Well firstly, there are plenty of extreme food fetishes out there. Secondly, that we all seem to have our own peculiarities. Thirdly, we think our own food peculiarities are normal and everyone else is weird! The clearest example of this is my wife, Red, who cannot eat the ends of sausages (sausage knots as she calls them) whilst her brother, Alby, would see a plate of sausage knots as a gourmet delight on a par with the finest caviar! The only conclusion I can reach, apart from being tied by marriage to a family of the insane, is that the old saying is true: one man’s meat truly is another man’s poison.
If you have been affected by any of the issues above please call ….. No seriously if you have your own weird food ‘thing’ let us know in the comments section below – no need to leave an email address, just a name.