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We need to have a very serious discussion about food touching, which sounds awesomely dirty, but is actually a matter of great national importance. I don't mean you touching food, or food touching you. I mean this business of food touching each other.

I am very, very into safe food sex. The potatoes are not allowed to touch the corn, the corn is not allowed to touch the chicken, and if the chicken gets anywhere near the chocolate cake, I will cut you. I've felt this way even before I saw Jim The Small Child Nephew dip a Peep into a pool of ketchup: Food must keep unto itself.

Josh The Pilot, he doesn't care. He mashes the potatoes with the corn with the chicken and he'd throw the cake in, too, if I didn't stop him on behalf of my own gag reflex. "It all goes to the same place anyway," he points out. He also once ate grasshoppers.

But I let my large intestine sort it out. That's what it's for. I don't check in with my digestive system to see what it's up to. I trust it. So I'm just going to fling dinner down to it one food item at a time. Mixin's for cocktails.

chicken and dreams at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (18)

Josh The Pilot, he doesn’t care . . . “It all goes to the same place anyway,” he points out.

While that's true, let's say you wanted a cake. Would you, as an acceptable alternative, just eat a bag of flour, a couple cups of sugar, and half a dozen eggs without mixing them or baking them? No?

Then why would you mix foods that were intended to be eaten differently? It's the same concept, in reverse. If I want to eat a big ol' bowl of mixed-together slop, then I shall do that. My dad makes a mean chili, and it has half the fridge in it. The local short-order breakfast nook has a special where they serve, in lieu of having home fries with your omelette, an omelette with the potatoes in it. If you're really daring, they'll throw sausage gravy in it, too. It's awesome.

But when I want chicken and mashed potatoes and corn, then that's what I eat, not chickorntatermash. I don't have quite the nun-level NO TOUCHY! rule for it like MB does, but then again, I didn't go to Catholic grade school.

JTP, it seems, has a very utilitarian, almost military-style practicality toward food. That doesn't surprise me that much, either.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermike, master chef

I'm kind of in the middle. Corn (or better yet peas! my favorite!) and potatoes were MADE to go together. Mashed potatoes can pretty much go down with most dinner items, but not necessarily purposefully mixed that way.
Condiments, on the other hand, only go on or touch certain things. There will be no ketchup near the eggs. No sour cream near the vegetables. No mustard on anything except cheese and crackers!

Oh, and no brussels sprouts, um, ever.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

I typically agree with just about EVERYTHING you ever say... save this one. Mixing the food together is almost an art form. You get multiple textures and flavors are enhanced. Yum!

And I am fairly certain that Richard Dreyfuss would never have made that mountain of mashed potatoes if he didn't throw in some peas or corn for stability!!

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Bell

Are you sure you're not related to my brother-in-law? After 18 years of marriage to my sister, we've nearly broken him!

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara N

The only thing that *really* disgusts me is that KFC bowl-thing, wherein they lump the chicken with the potatoes and the corn and the cheese.

It's not only wrong, it's borderline unholy.

I can't even stand to watch the commercials.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy P.

On many, in fact, in fact most counts I would side with you MB... regarding the corn in the mashed potatoes, however, I have to side with JTP. I hate mixed together food, but somehow that one passes with flying colors.
What are your feelings on stirfry?

I can only let food touch if (a) it's a complimentary food group, like a meat can touch a potato and a fruit can touch a vegetable, but a meat or potato can't touch a fruit or vegetable cuz that's just weird or (b) it's an extreme circumstance like a church covered dish. If I could find the person who invented the divided plate, I'd probably kiss them full on the lips.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreggy

I thought I was alone in the world! What is it about boys and just throwing everything together... it grosses me out unbelievably. I don't even use a knife that's cut chicken to spread butter on a roll...

"Josh The Pilot, he doesn’t care. He mashes the potatoes with the corn with the chicken and he’d throw the cake in, too, if I didn’t stop him on behalf of my own gag reflex. “It all goes to the same place anyway,” he points out. He also once ate grasshoppers."

I don't see a problem with that. Mixing food of various flavours and consistencies is what mexican cuisine is all about.

Oh! we eat grasshoppers too, they are a delicacy in the state of Oaxaca, along with the http://bp3.blogger.com/_E5TtXXbXd4o/RsBLk0E2-bI/AAAAAAAAAKE/2Bzfz4HMyD4/s1600-h/Gusanos.jpg" rel="nofollow">maguey worms that you eat in a taco and other insects. Mmmmm ;-)

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

I'm in complete agreement here, MB. While, yes, it may all end up in the same place, it's never going to make it to that place if my ridiculously sensitive gag reflex gets triggered by disgusting combinations. Heck, I can't even use regular toothpaste with much success--it's gel all the way for me. (And do you have any idea how hard it is to find gel in travel-size tubes?! My last trip involved desperation and a pastry bag--that's right, I *refilled* a travel-size tube of gel. I have issues.)

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

That was a good laugh.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

Don't go to India. It all touches, you eat it with your hands and a bit of flatbread, and it might be goat.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstarnarcosis

I wholeheartedly agree. I couldn't have said it better myself.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Oh, MB, I just can't see eye to eye with you on this one. I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to eating - short of insects and odd animal body parts.

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Southerner

I am TOTALLY with you on this one!!!

May 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Yeah, RPJ! Don't knock the grasshoppers. We'll get you to try them too one day MB. Just fry them up in some butter, season with a little salt, and eat 'em like popcorn. Only prep is that you gotta pull the legs off so they don't hop out of the pan while cooking. But the legs are good too so just throw them in while the bodies are frying. MMMMMM!!!

May 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDanTheSoldier

Thank you, no. Your brother couldn't even get me to eat pasta salad last night.

May 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

What's so wrong with pasta salad, MB? (I can understand not eating *grasshopper* pasta salad, but I gather that this was just your basic *pasta* pasta salad, right?)

In my opinion, casseroles, salads, etc are complete dishes, the flavors and textures thoughtfully combined to provide the eater a most satisfying meal experience. (They most certainly are not to be confused with a smorgasbord of random leftovers tossed together in a crockpot, sprinkled with cheese and labeled as casserole!) Basically, if it's prepared to be served "mixed together" what's so wrong about it? And where does one draw the line between inappropriate food touching (eggs and ketchup) and acceptable (peanut butter, jelly and bread)?

May 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKayla :-)
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