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Eating styles show your true colors

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Are you one of those people who can’t stand to have the different foods on your plate touching, or do you mix them all together? Do you eat fast or slow? Do you cut your meat up all at once? You would be surprised what your eating habits reveal about your personality.

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Juliet A. Boghossian, founder of Food-Ology. (Courtesy Photo)

More than 20 years ago, behavioral food expert Juliet A. Boghossian devised Food-Ology, a “belief that eating styles are related to character traits, so we aren’t only what we eat, but how we eat as well.” She uses it to determine personality traits by observing how and what people eat, how they cook, make buffet choices and even clean up the dishes.

EATING STYLES
Don’t be surprised if you fit into more than one category.

Speed eater: If you eat fast, you are likely ambitious, and successful, a quick study, practical and methodical. Your task-oriented nature may prevent you from enjoying certain stages and experiences of your life once you have achieved them. And even though you are dynamic and have lots of associations, you tend to have time for only two or three close friends.

Chameleon: If you adapt your eating pace based upon that of your companions, you can adapt to almost any environment comfortably and be open to whatever comes your way. Although you cultivate and are known for an easy-going nature, you can reach a breaking point. You have a diverse group of friends, most of whom run in different circles. You are seldom the priority for changes you make in your life. You depend on others to capitalize on your spontaneity by nudging you out of your comfort zone.

Regimented: If your eating pace is determined by your schedule, you are reliable and always get the job done. However, you may not have time to enjoy your life. You may find yourself feeling satisfied at all you have accomplished by the end of the day while at the same time wondering where the day has gone. While you may want to take some relaxing "me" time, you tend instead to find enjoyment with friends in a coffee shop, meeting someone new at a business meeting or striking up a conversation with a stranger in an airport.

Slow eater: If you eat slowly, you pride yourself on being in control and believe there is never a good reason to get rattled. Because you don't bend to peer pressure, and instead do what is right for you, you are sometimes thought of as selfish. In fact you may alienate yourself from others who are not like you. This can limit your scope of life experiences. But when you are with friends, you are totally present and attentive. You are grounded and able to appreciate the simple things in life.

To mix or not to mix food: In an excerpt from divinecaroline.com, Boghossian says that people who mix foods can take on responsibilities efficiently, but might have trouble deciding what is most important to accomplish. He or she can also have trouble concentrating on a particular task. People who eat foods one at a time are “task-oriented” and “methodical,” but less flexible when it comes to adapting to situations that they are not used to.

Boghossian believes that certain eating traits can provide insight into how well a prospective employee might fit into a particular job opening. A person who cuts his or her meat all at one time is usually methodical, strategic and forward thinking. This person would be well-suited for positions in the scientific field that require logical thinking and precision, such as engineering, accounting or computer technology.

A prospective candidate who is excited about sampling new foods and different cuisines would do well in creative positions because they are willing to explore new paths and will likely be open to new and unorthodox ideas. Asking questions about the menu is indicative of an open mind as well.

Folks who season food before tasting it or who order without looking at the menu are less likely to embrace change.
Boghossian offers many more observations about the traits revealed by eating habits. Besides more workplace observations, Boghossian’s Web site, food-ology.com, offers insight into personal relationships as well. And while it is often helpful and always fun to match eating habits to personality traits, Boghossian reminds readers that Food-ology does not provide answers or make decisions for you, but challenges you to consider issues you may not have thought of.

SNACK FOOD REVELATIONS
And while we are on the subject, in, forbes.com, contributor Jennifer Cohen wrote a delightful article about a study by psychiatrist/neurologist Dr. Alan Hirsch in which he not only profiles personalities of snack food eaters, but suggests the best partners for each.

Tortilla-chip eaters are perfectionists and humanitarians who are often distressed by social inequities and injustice. They tend to be organized, dependable and self-disciplined. Best partner: another tortilla chip eater.

Cheese Doodle eaters share an affinity for proper manners and high morality. They have a deep sense of right and wrong and treat people based on merit not status. Best partner: potato chip snackers.

People whose preferred snacks are meat-based, such as Slim Jims or pork rinds are fiercely loyal.

They are fun-loving and like being the life of the party, but along with their trusting nature may have a predisposion to emotional turmoil, especially in romantic break-ups. Best partner: other meat eaters and potato chip eaters.

If potato chips are your snack of choice, you are likely successful in business and personal life. Potato chip eaters may be competitive in good and bad ways and may be frustrated at slight inconveniences. Best partners: pretzel eaters and other potato chip eaters, as long as they don’t compete.

Cracker eaters are shy, contemplative and thoughtful, basing their decisions on logic rather than emotions. They value private time and are most creative when they are allowed to think without interruption. Best partner: pretzel eaters.

Pretzels may not be the most exciting snack in the world, but folks who choose them tend to be lively and energetic, seeking novelty and thriving in a world of abstract concepts. They love being part of groups, but may over-commit causing personal and business relationships to suffer. Best partner: cheese curl lovers.

What, no popcorn or salted nuts?

TODAY’S RECIPES
After that, what could be more fitting than a recipe for Potato Chip Cookies with pretzel and tortilla chip variations? These are from "Crazy About Cookies" by Krystina Castella (Sterling, 2010).

POTATO CHIP COOKIES
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups coarsely crushed potato chips

Method:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla, flour and 1 cup potato chips; mix well.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in remaining potato ships. Place on cookie sheets, 2 1/2-inches apart, and press to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Makes 36 cookies.
VARIATIONS
Chocolate Pretzel Cookies: Replace the potato chips with crushed pretzels and add 3/4 cup chocolate chips to the dough after the wet and dry ingredients have been combined.

Peanut Butter Cheesy Cracker Cookies: Replace potato chips with crushed cheese crackers. Add 3/4 cup peanut butter chips to the dough after the wet and dry ingredients have been combined.

Spicy Tortilla Chip Cookies: Replace potato chips with spicy tortilla chips and add 1/8 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno peppers to the dough after the wet and dry ingredients have been combined.

BUTTER RUM POPCORN COOKIES
Ingredients:
2 1/2 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter cut into pieces
2 tablespoons rum

Method:

Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper.

Put popcorn and almonds in a large heatproof bowl; set aside.

Combine corn syrup, water, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches the hard-ball stage (255 F). Remove from heat.

Add butter and stir until melted. Add rum.

Pour syrup over the popcorn and almonds, stirring until coated.

Spread mixture on baking sheets and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Shape into 3-inch rounds. Let cool for 20 minutes to harden slightly before serving.
VARIATIONS
Cherry Popcorn Cookies: Replace almonds with 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries. Replace rum with 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. If desired, add 3 drops red food coloring to wet ingredients.

Peanut Popcorn Cookies:Replace almonds with peanuts and the rum with 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
Observations of a behavioral food expert

Last modified: September 13, 2013
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