What We Eat When We’re Alone

When no one's looking, I'll eat something absolutely disgusting — and enjoy the hell out of it

Photograph by AP

I’ve been on my own this week, as the person I’m dating has been out of town. He’s in Las Vegas, probably enjoying overpriced steaks amid the tinkling sound of slot machines.

But me? I’ve been having some on-my-own food. Some solo suppers. Some me-time meals. And they are horrific.

I don't know why it is that, if I’m left to my own devices, I will eat something absolutely disgusting and enjoy the hell out of it. If I’m on my own, I’ll open up the green container of Parmesan cheese, and eat said cheese with a spoon. I generally do this while watching something everyone else would make fun of me for watching, such as “Long Island Medium” or “The Dog Whisperer.”

There are not enough positive words in the dictionary to express how ding-dang joyous I am when it’s me, my bad show and my Parmesan-cheese-from-a-green-jar dinner. (Actually, “Long Island Medium” is an excellent show and you know it.)

I also love the taste of nutritional yeast, which is this nutty-flavored, powdery-textured stuff you get at pretentious hippie health-food stores (as opposed to those down-to-earth health-food stores). You can usually find it in the bulk bins, near the dried beans and spices. Technically, I use nutritional yeast to flavor my popcorn (you will not be sorry when you try this), but if no one’s around? I get out the baggie and eat it, sans popcorn. I eat yeast alone. Yeah-ah, with nobody else.

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And don’t think I limit myself to condiments. I’m also not above having some Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts for dinner, either. Toasted or raw. Kind of the sushi of Pop-Tarts, if you will.

Fortunately, I am not alone in this habit. I asked some of my friends, and other than the annoying “When I’m alone, I make a salad, a vegetable and a lean protein and eat it at the dining room table” coworker (why am I friends with her?), every single person I asked does the same thing.

One young, impossibly fit woman I know said, “One time I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store and ate a whole stick of butter like it was a candy bar.”

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Another told me she pours Rice Krispies into a jar lid, and uses her tongue to eat them instead of a spoon.

Not to mention peanut-butter-and-toaster-waffle sandwiches, or slices of cheese eaten only while standing in front of the refrigerator.

Have I mentioned I love my friends?

One wonders, really, why we go to all the bother of making elaborate meals for each other, or spending $150 on dinners out, when we’re clearly happy with hot dogs smothered in chili cheese and slaw (another coworker, a young one, obviously) or peanut butter on a spoon with chocolate sprinkles dusted on each spoonful.

But maybe we go to restaurants or eat homemade bruschetta together because this sort of behavior is only fun when we’re alone, with no one to judge us. Maybe it’s the forbidden part that makes that powdered yeast consumption so much more delicious.

Still, next time a friend suggests you meet for dinner, I dare you to say that instead of trying that trendy restaurant, you stand in front of your fridge and tongue some Rice Krispies together.

Tags: food

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