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Food – Touching or No?

How do I say this without sounding like I’m five and I need my mommy to cut up my meat?


I don’t think there’s a way, so I’ll just spit it out (HA! Was that a pun?): I don’t like my food to touch. There are a select few things that can touch, but I’d prefer that I make them touch, not someone else, which is why I don’t like other people to dish up my food.

Let me esplain: Rice and mashed potatoes MAY touch gravy, and in fact if the gravy’s good I want enough gravy for the rice or potatoes. But I’d prefer that everything else remain separate. Salad should not touch other food, ’cause then the salad dressing gets on the food and ICK! You will never see me spearing various kinds of food on my fork and putting it in my mouth. If anything, you’ll see me eat all my vegetables, all my starch, and then all my meat, usually in that order.

If I’m having pasta, I would just as soon have a plate for the pasta, a plate for the veggies, and a plate for bread. Because we all know that bread crumbs have NO PLACE on the plate.

I know you’re all thinking I have (or should have) those partitioned plates. Dude, food can crawl over those tiny little ridges and end up where it DOESN’T BELONG. I’ll take an extra plate to ensure I have enough room. Thanks.

Actually, not wanting my food to touch allows me to take a miniscule amount of food when I’m someplace where the food’s not that great and have a good excuse as to why my portions are so small.

Some people have commented to me on how juvenile it is, but I don’t care. I don’t want my food to touch. Is that such a big deal?


| Tags: 59 comments »

59 Responses to “Food – Touching or No?”

  1. Swapna

    Ha! I’m not so bad on touching food, but what I am bad on is FOOD TEXTURE! Are you squishy? Are you slimy? Then I’m probably not going to enjoy eating you, even if you taste great!


  2. Yasmin

    LOL…I have a few food not touching idiosyncracies…but I have a g/friend who not only does NOT allow her foods to touch but she doesn’t each them together either…everything is separate…she eats veggies…then starches…then protein/meat.


  3. bethany canfield

    sorry. none. I know, if you are planning on going to eat at someone’s home and you are worried about your food could bring one of those plates with segregated sections 🙂 my sis-in-law got several at a store in NY for my boys. the good thing is my boys will never suffer any “food touching” issues because I always put all their food in bowls !!!!hahaha.


  4. softdrink

    Sometimes, it’s very important for foods to touch. As in mashed potatoes and meatloaf. Because mashed potatoes taste good, and meatloaf…not so much. So if enough of the mashed potatoes jump on the meatloaf and overpower it, this is a good thing.

    Also, ice cream and cobbler are also allowed to touch. Same with ice cream and cake. And ice cream and brownies.

    However, sweet and savory things should not touch. Like fruit salad and pretty much anything else.


  5. Becky

    Yes, I am, but only about halfway. I can handle it, but only specific things. Like turkey and stuffing. That’s okay with me.


  6. Meghan

    Sort of. I agree with you about the salad. I think it’s worse when hot food and salad mix, because then the salad gets hot and it just tastes like wilted, warm lettuce. Yuck! But I do think some foods go together, like meat and potatoes.


  7. Ruth

    Food absolutely, positively cannot touch for me. No. No. Just…no. My potatoes and my corn must remain separate. My green beans and macaroni and cheese can’t even share the same plate. My pierogies must not intermingle with my chicken. Bread and pasta can only be friends from afar.

    I relate to Tony Shaloub’s character on Monk very, very well.


  8. Eva

    LOL: I don’t usually worry about it. But then, my favourite foods are Indian, Mexican, and Thai, where the food’s supposed to touch! I do eat my salad seperately, but that’s because I’m OCD about the dressing being evenly distributed so my salad has to be in a container w/ a lid so that I can shake it. Of course, that’s at home!

    As far as I’m concerned, as long as you do the dishes, there isn’t a problem using three plates! 😉

    My niece is two, and she has those divider plates. But she’s a BIG believer in food touching (i.e.: how about dipping my carrots in the apple sauce today?), so the plates are powerless in the face of her determination!


  9. Suey

    I am NOT with you on this! In fact, I often mix my food all up! (Not cold food with hot of course. Ew.) But veggies mixed in with mashed potatoes and gravy are the best!


  10. Susan B. Evans

    My hubby feels the same way, and I used to think it was weird. He does sometimes use separate plates or bowls for his veggies so that they do not touch. When he was a little boy, his dad was one of those “Thou shalt clean your plate” parents, and if he couldn’t (being a small boy with a small stomach,) his dad mashed all the left over food together on his plate and made him eat it. Yuck! Can’t really blame him for having a tiny complex about it now. Besides, it’s the quirks that make us loveable, right?


  11. Tara

    Oh my goodness, food CANNOT under any circumstances touch! My family thinks I’m absolutely wacko but I can’t stand food to touch. I have three main gripes when it comes to food touching:

    1) When ordering breakfast in a restaurant, please tell me what is so wrong about wanting my bacon and/or sausage on a plate separate from syrup. Bacon and sausage should never come into contact with syrup!

    2) At Olive Garden, I like to order the Tour of Italy (a little lasagna, chicken parmigiana and fettuccine alfredo), but please, explain to me why they feel the need mix the white and red sauces together?! They need to be separate!!!

    3) When at a Chinese restaurant, they want to put the food on top of the rice … no, no, no, no, no! I do not like rice mixed in with the food, I prefer to eat them separately.

    My family thinks I’m crazy because the first thing that I do when I get my food is separate everything from each other. They always joke with me that I need to have those plates that have separators!

    So no, it is not a big deal when food touches, it’s not juvenile and I am SO WITH YOU!!!!


  12. chartroose

    It all ends up stewing and gurgling and making funny noises and coming out of the the same place (usually, unless you’re saying your porcelain prayers), so what difference does it make?

    I do make one exception: brussels sprouts should never be allowed to touch anything, including my lips!


  13. Ti

    There are rules within my head about this very issue. Some foods are enhanced by other foods. Take creamed corn. It’s not a food that deserves its own space. It is much better next to, and touching my mashed potatoes. However, salad…salad must be by itself preferably in its own bowl or plate. I also do not like french fries to touch anything because then they become soggy. I don’t even like them to touch ketchup until I choose to dip one.

    I feel the opposite of Tara though. I like my syrup to touch my bacon. That is why they make MAPLE bacon. LOL.

    See? You are not the only one but I can go either way depending on the food combo.


  14. Deanna C.

    I agree fully with the food not touching. I get made fun by my friends at pretty much every dinner for freaking out about potatoes touching meat. It’s not okay.

    I’m a glad that other feels the same way!


  15. Jeane

    I used to be really particular about food not touching when I was a kid. My dad always said “it all ends up together in your tummy!”


  16. Ladytink_534

    Don’t worry, I don’t like my food touching each other either. I also eat all of one thing before I eat the other. Used to drive my mom crazy.


  17. Bookfool, aka Nancy

    Everyone is allowed a few idiocyncracies. It’s okay if your food doesn’t mix together on a plate — it doesn’t hurt anyone for you to have that preference, right? I don’t think it’s childish at all. Weird, maybe . . . but then so are my quirks. And, believe me, I have plenty of them.


  18. Bookfool, aka Nancy

    I can’t spell, today, sorry. Sick as a dog, here. I should give up on reading from Google Reader and go straight to bed. Idiosyncracies? Is that right?


  19. Literate Housewife

    I don’t have food touching issues in the same way that you do, but I won’t eat anything that has touched a food I don’t like. For example, anything mixed with raisins – I won’t eat it. It did or at least could have touched the raisin. It won’t touch my lips. Raisins make my skin crawl. I won’t eat a peanut that’s touched a raisin any more than I’d eat something a bug had crawled over. And, when I order my food without tomatoes, I will see the icky tomato seeds left behind when you remember too late. So sorry. I won’t eat it. Take it back to the kitchen.


  20. raych

    I DON’T LIKE MY FOOD TO TOUCH EITHER!!!!!ELEVENTY-ONE! This requires more punctuation than I have at my disposal, but yes, food stays seperate. One time I went camping with a jackass ex-boyfriend (we were dating at the time, but I cannot convey to you how much this guy was a douche) and his family, and they brought one of those partitioned plates for me as a joke. AWESOME JOKE!! It was the nicest thing they ever did for me.

    We are brain-twins.


  21. Heather

    OMG I am TOTALLY with you on this one!!!! No way, not in a million years, can food touch each other… I ALWAYS have separate plates for my salad, because ew, salad dressing on my food just freaks me out.
    Also, I am 24 years old and still eat the crusts off my sandwiches first. so there.


  22. writemeg

    I’m definitely jumping on the FOOD CANNOT TOUCH! bandwagon on this one. I’ve actually been ridiculed — frequently AND to my face! — about this little “quirk,” but I don’t think it’s a big deal at all.

    Except on Thanksgiving, when I require many and frequent trips to the banquet table to avoid having food touching (and must rinse my plate off between helpings — I don’t like any old food residue touching the new food), it doesn’t impact my daily life TOO much . . . except when co-workers take note. And don’t co-workers always take note?!


  23. donstuff

    I don’t tend to like hot and cold foods to touch (or even share a plate), but other than that – no big deal.
    My sister, however, goes way beyond. She will eat a spoonful of peanut butter, then take a bite of bread, then take a (new and clean) spoonful of jelly. Weird, huh?


  24. Natasha @ Maw Books

    Wow, there are a lot of adamant no touching food people here. I personally don’t care but I do have to admit that watching the way my husband combines food grossing me out.


  25. Debbie

    I’m with you. Have been since I was a little child. I’ve even been know to put a knife or something under one side of my plate to tilt it a little if there was a salad dressing risk, etc.


  26. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    I have no preference about food touching, but my husband eats food in the same order you do!


  27. Food (not touching) — something I can believe in « write meg!

    […] 24, 2008 After reading a very thought-provoking post by Trish, I’ve decided the time has come for me to voice my opinion on quite a serious matter […]

  28. The University Princess

    AHAHAHA! Brilliant.

    I just hate it when really odd things touch, like mashed potatoes and… ketchup. (and yes, I know some of you like potatoes with BBQ sauce.)


  29. gentle reader

    Sorry, this isn’t my idiosyncrasy…however, it might be a good dieting tool, so I might take it up!

    I have plenty of other idiosyncrasies, most of which don’t have to do with food, though 🙂


  30. mellymel

    i don’t like hot & cold to touch. but i do love when Thanksgiving food touches.
    and pretty much anything & mashed potatoes can touch.
    i feel for you, girl.


  31. Jenn

    Ok, I don’t remember how I ended up here but I found your page and have to say I am 100% on board with you and the not touching thing! I HATE when my food touches! I’m with you on the gravy and potatoes/rice thing but anything else, stay away!


  32. Tara

    I am so with you!!!!!! You get me! Salad dressing can also only touch salad in my world! I have an issue with hot and cold too, warm food can touch warm food, but cannot touch cold food. What can I say….it’s a thing!


  33. Melody

    I guess it depends on what kind of food for me… but mixing hot and cold food is definitely out for me.
    BTW, I’ve passed you two awards! 😉


  34. oraizan

    I’m with you on this! I cant stand food touching. I’m a vegetarian and I have my salad getting in my pasta or my carrots mixxing into my pickles and juice. Its just so gross tasting.


  35. erika

    I have texture issues, to the point that someone asked me to shut my eyes, so they could surprise me. They put a sardine in my mouth and those GOD AWFUL things are hairy. I spit it on the floor, like I lost my manners. I didn’t mean to, it was a gut reaction. I offended them, but truly, I just had to get that out of my mouth.

    Also, metal touching metal, makes me really queasy, to the point that I will get sick, if it goes on too long. I have to cover me ears.

    Really….how weird is that.


    Lucy Reply:

    Do you mean when the knife gets stuck in the fork? I HATE THAT. It’s enough to actually make me cry!!


  36. Well, That Was Different - BTT « Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

    […] Oh, and have you weighed in on the food issue? […]

  37. Lisa

    Most things can touch and I don’t mind. In fact, shove it all inside a tortilla and wrap it all up and that’s good too! I will grant you cold salad on a hot plate or with hot foods can be iffy, but it’s on a case by case basis.


  38. bybee

    I salute you and rejoice in your quirks.

    I like my food to be in separate little piles, but some things are allowed to touch if they’re not too disparate or juicy or saucy.

    I’m the type that eats all of one thing, then the next, and the next. I got shit about this from my folks, and these days, my husband, who is a little too amused (get a life, chump!) The funniest one was a skinny little Korean grandmother wearing stripes and plaids together who was sitting near me at a Korean restaurant. I was busy eating my lotus root and hadn’t mixed my rice and curry together yet. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore and leaned over and grabbed my spoon and mixed that curry for all she was worth!


  39. I *heart* Your Blog! « The Book Lady’s Blog

    […] Trish @ Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? Keeps me entertained.  Did you see her post about food […]

  40. Shelly Burns

    Never did I realize that there were that many people out there like me…my husband thinks I’m NUTS!!! He even pokes fun at me if we go out somewhere and my food is touching when they serve it. The standing joke is “if you can mix your rice and beans at the Mexican restaurant, then why can’t you mix other things?” Some things are just “meant” to be mixed; mashed potatoes and gravy for one!

    I too eat my food one item at a time and in order – clockwise on my plate.

    Glad to know I’m not the only one! 🙂


  41. icedtea

    😀 I’m not quite as bad as you, but I do prefer my foods with sauces and dressings not to mix with each other. Buffet meals always are a challenge – I go for more trips to the table and using more plates rather than pile everything on in one go.


  42. lisamm

    You would get along with my kids. They are like that too and use a separate plate or bowl for everything. My daughter even puts syrup in a bowl to dip her pancakes into- it’s kinda ridiculous. I do not have this particular quirk. The only thing I don’t want to touch is a pickle. If there has been a pickle on something, even after it’s been removed, I will not eat it. The pickle smell makes me gag too.


  43. Kim L

    I felt similarly growing up, but I’ve gotten less picky about it over time. It’s easier to load up a plate of food if you don’t mid the items touching. But there is an art to it, because baked beans and fruit salad taste nasty when mixed, but corn and mashed potatoes could almost be combined from the start.


  44. Jill Pinheiro

    This post made me think of my husband, who won’t let his food touch in a dish (like a casserole). He doesn’t like anything that combines meat, vegetables and/or starches in one form. I’m a casserole kind of girl, so this is hard sometimes!


  45. Carrie K

    I have strict rules about fruits and vegetables mixing. In that they SHOULD NOT!

    Salads with fruit?? Ummm…no
    Warm fruit?? Ummm…no (pies the exception of course…)
    Fruit with meat?? are you serious?? ugh…

    I like to take bites of everything on my plate so that when i get to the last bite it all comes out even.

    and syrup touching my eggs or bacon makes me gag!!


  46. Sam

    Wow. I am so, so happy that there are other people who don’t like their food touching. I have never met anyone like me who does it and my family and friends tease me about it all the time. I am extremely bad. I cant have food touching that shouldn’t be and I only ever have gravy on my meat. I eat all my foods separately always meat first. I hate cassoroles and things like that, it just isn’t right. I even make my sandwiches and wraps a certain way because I don’t like certain things touching others. it really is ridiculous but I just can’t help it! lol


  47. Lisa

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!
    I am not alone!!!! What a relief!!
    Mashed potatoes should taste like mashed potatoes…corn should taste like corn…rice should taste like rice! When you mix up everything together it creates a different taste.not the way it was meant to be!! Not to mention the color of the food changes…ewwww!! I thought I would have to seek therapy for this strange disorder I have, now I know I’m not the only one! Gravy on mashed potatoes is fine but if it leaks into anything else, like the green beans…dinner is over for me!!! I don’t mind using 4 different plates at dinner since I am the one who washes the dishes anyway! Oh, just for the record, dried ketchup on a plate makes me have a seizure!! Don’t even go there!!


  48. What Are You Doing Here? Part 2 « Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

    […] dont kids like foods touching each o – BECAUSE THEY’RE SMARTER THAN ADULTS, THAT’S WHY. Don’t be […]

  49. Janis

    Totally agree, food should not touch and be eaten separately. This causes my husband great distress as he is a chef and says that i don’t get the full flavour of food.
    Can cope with casseroles, spag bog and risotto but will eat meat then pasta/potatoes. Hate having people except my mam dish up my food as they make it touch.
    It’s not right!!!


  50. Rebecca

    I’m the same! For me baked beans is the worst when it touches things. When I went to a friends house a few weeks ago for dinner, she put everything on the table in seperate bowls and gave me two little plates so things didn’t touch!


  51. Sarah

    YES! I’m not alone! My family and friends have always railed on me for being SO picky about my food and what can and cannot touch on my plate. Those paper plates with separators are my best friends at potlock/buffet style dinners.


  52. Sarah

    And now reading all the above comments, I think it’s safe to say that we are not weird. We are normal. Those that let their food touch are the weird ones…


  53. brandy

    Im glad I am not the only one who can not have food touching. I will litteraly break down and cry or have a panic attack if I see a piece of corn in my potatoes or the pork in beans liquid start to run towards my meat. Ive always had this problem since I was 5 yrs old and gotten steadily worse over the years… I will use multiple plates if need be depending on the food and I will grab another fork or at least wipe it clean before I start eatting something else… Has to be clock wise too….


  54. jon

    Your out of your mind


  55. jon

    You must all have ocd or some extreme phobia.


  56. Lucy

    Yes!! Exactly!! I don’t understand why others believe it there right to call us weird or fussy! One of my worst situations: peas in rice. And another one I find tricky is sweet and sour or curry. I usually spoon out the meat, I can’t deal with the sauce.

    Say I’m eating a roast dinner. I have to eat all the vegetables first before I can even think of gravy. And it’s only in the last few years I have started to manage gravy, I’m still wary around it.

    Ketchup always has to have a designated area on the side of the plate so it’s not touching.

    I don’t know why we’re like this, but I’m just glad I’m not alone! Xx


    Lucy Reply:


    You’re all lucky with your plate dividers, I’m still living with normal plates. I’ve always been like this, ever since I can remember.

    I used to refuse to eat some things when I was younger if it was touching and it would usually end in tears. My tears.

    Now I’m older I can handle my reaction to the situation better, but it still makes me have an odd mix of emotions anger, annoyance, sadness etc.


  57. Emma

    YES! Every single thing you said is me completely! I even eat my food in the same order! And the thing about the breadcrumbs!! My family thinks that I am so strange, so it’s good to know that there are others out there like me!


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