Anyone who has ever had a meal with me will surely know that I am a slow eater. I know very few people who eat as slowly as I do (maybe only one other person? or two?) Recent conversations, over the last few weeks, have led me to wonder about the origins of this quirk, and to really analyse my penchant for slow eating.
Often I hear people say that eating slowly is a good thing because it gives yourself time to realise when you’re full, and hence not overeat. This might be well and true, but I don’t consciously eat slowly – it’s not a purposeful decision that I’ve made in order to attain some sort of benefit. In fact, I generally feel like I actually eat at a reasonable pace, and perhaps everyone else just eats too quickly, causing me to become an outlier on this bell-curve, and making it seem like I eat really slowly.
Let’s get one thing clear: I do love to eat. I don’t eat slowly because I don’t like food or because I have no appetite. When I was a kid, my mum thought I ate slowly because I lacked appetite, which would indicate that something else was wrong, which may or may not have caused her quite a bit of worry. But it wasn’t that. At least, I don’t think it was ever that.
So I suppose I’ve been eating slowly ever since I was a kid. I don’t think I ever experienced any traumatic choking episodes that subsequently made me compulsively chew my food very thoroughly before swallowing… but I guess I can’t rule out that possibility completely…
These days, I’ve found that I’m more likely to choke on water than anything else, but, don’t worry, I’m not about to start …chewing water…?
Speaking of liquids, I also (not surprisingly) drink rather slowly too – or should I say, slower than average. I simply could not derive any pleasure from sculling a coffee or an alcoholic beverage or even a glass of milk or hot chocolate. All of these things I’d prefer to savour and enjoy slowly, with some consideration for keeping cold beverages cold, and hot beverages hot.
I think someone once suggested that I eat slowly simply because I’m savouring my food, and this is often the justification I cite whenever someone questions my eating speed. After all, I do tend to try to save the best bite for last, so it makes sense to me that I’m savouring my food, and making the most out of the eating experience.
Of course, I’m not in complete denial (at least, I’d like to think that I’m not). I mean, I don’t eat that slowly all of the time – sometimes, believe it or not, I do eat quickly. This leads me to hypothesise that it might be a circumstantial or emotional thing, and it’s just that there are more circumstances in which I eat slowly than when I eat more quickly.
For example, I might eat slowly because I’m feeling a bit down or have a lot on my mind, but I might also eat slowly because I’m feeling relaxed and haven’t a care in the world. Similarly, my eating pace might slow down when I’m moody, but also when I’m feeling chatty (and am too busy talking to focus on eating). Sometimes I might eat fast just because circumstance requires it (not that that happens very often).
You know, I don’t think I’m making much progress on this self-analysis. There’s no satisfactory explanation. But maybe there doesn’t have to be one (?) I feel like a lot of my self-analyses end in this sort of “conclusion of no conclusion”, but it doesn’t stop me from seeking answers…
Well, whatever the reason or the explanation, I am not bothered by my slow eating; and while friends will point out that I’m eating slower than everyone else, no one has actually told me that it bothers them …yet.