I like cooking. In particular I enjoy tweaking existing recipes as well as creating originals. When I eat something that was prepared by someone else where I can’t just ask for the recipe – something from a restaurant or grocery store – I automatically begin my usual process of breaking it down into ingredients. When I get something from the grocery store this is very easy, as of course all the ingredients are listed on the package. Still, the biggest question for me about restaurant food is the spice mixture and proportioning. Once I sort out at least the bulk of the ingredients, I then theorize the manner of preparation and then set about recreating the dish at home. My intention isn’t to straight copy the original’s flavor, however, but to make it into my own thing and tailor it more to my specific preferences.
Now, that’s incredibly useful. But it also comes with a funny quirk: I also tend to eat base ingredients by themselves. While this sounds pretty normal insofar as main ingredients are concerned (veggies, fruits, grains etc), when you get to all the little additives that gets pretty weird.
Allow me to state that I don’t do this all the time. It tends to be a brief spat of taste-testing, where I get a taste for the particular thing and eat it a few times, generally in small quantity, before moving on with life. I don’t even pantomime that this is a typical behavior, and I find it pretty funny particularly when I mention it to other people and witness their freaked out reaction.
Fun examples of this oddity:
- Protein powder (as a vegetarian fitness instructor I have a variety of smoothies and shakes that I toss protein into)
- Spices (particularly smoked paprika, which is one of my favorites)
- Dry goods (ex: wheat germ, rolled oats, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc which are added to recipes but not eaten on their own)
That last one happens only once in a great while and not in any great quantity, but much to my parents’ befuddlement I would literally eat butter out of the tub when I was a small child. I also highly coveted single-serving creamers and would drink them. I was apparently born this way. The good news is that insofar as deconstructing and reconstructing recipes is concerned, because I know the taste of the base ingredients so well it makes identification considerably easier.