It’s The Principle of the Thing!

August 27, 2007 · 9 comments

There should be no room in my diet for worrying about the price of food.  And right now there is and I have to change my ways.  No I’m not talking about not trying to save money, I’m always up for that - like buying my Kind Fruit & Nut Bars on Amazon to save 50 cents per bar.  And I’m not talking about spending too much money on the good stuff either.  I routinely pay $20 per pound for dry sea scallops.

I’m talking about eating simply so that the food doesn’t go to waste.  Even if you know you are full.

Here’s an example from Saturday night.  I bought 2 half-pound prime sirloin steaks for the 4 of us.  That’s about $18 worth of meat.  We enjoyed a delicious meal of sirloin, chopped salad and rice.  I had cleared off my plate and was about to dig into a yogurt when I noticed that on the steak plate in the middle of the table there remained a small piece of sirloin, maybe an ounce worth, that had not been eaten.  I asked someone to eat it and neither my wife nor kids wanted any more.

This is $18 per pound prime sirloin people!

So I ate it.  It was the principle of the thing.  You don’t buy $18 per pound prime sirloin and then not eat it all.  That piece was too small to save; it would have been chucked.  So despite having eaten my share and already being ready to spoon into my yogurt I threw that hunk of meat into my gullet not because I was hungry, but because I couldn’t see throwing it away.  I didn’t need it, we already easily had $18 worth of enjoyment out of those steaks, but my mind just won’t let me see that piece of steak go wasted.

Now for some reason the pieces that were cut up and not eaten on my son’s plate didn’t bother me in the same way.  I had no problem throwing those away, so it’s not like I’m eating all the scraps, but it was the unsullied piece that had yet to be served that I could not let be tossed.

This problem, this obsession, follows me around to fine dining restaurants too.  “We paid good money for that, I’m eating it all.” I’d be more likely to say this at say, La Belle Vie than at Denny’s, so there is a cost component to it - if there is a perceived expense or opulence to the dish I don’t feel right not eating it all.

This is what I mean about not having room in my diet for worrying about the price of food.  I enjoy eating and I will continue to on occasion buy prime sirloin, or dry sea scallops, or visit fine dining restaurants, and when I do so I need to enjoy my food but stop when I’ve had enough - not worry about the principle of the thing.

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Angela August 27, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Ah…a version of “clean plate” syndrome, it seems. My husband and I used to stress over this sort of thing as well. Now, he’ll wrap up even tiny portions of expensive leftovers and slice them up for frittata or omelets or salads….makes us feel better. It’s a good thing to not want to waste it.

john August 27, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Exactly! Trust me, I have all versions of the clean plate syndrome.

Wow, I never thought about this for a frittata (which I have been making for years and LOVE), I’m definetly going to have to try that. I should think that my mind would then be OK with it because it isn’t going to waste. It’s amazing how quickly you can fill up such a dish with a little of this and a little of that, and if the that is prime beef, all the better!

GeorgieGirl August 27, 2007 at 6:52 pm

This sounds all too familiar. I love the fritata idea! A fritata makes a lot more sense than stuffing myself just because I don’t want to waste that last little bit of expensive food on the plate.

Cath August 27, 2007 at 9:21 pm

Hi John
I used to think this way too. But lately, when I find myself in this situation, I think about how much I would pay to be instantly at my ideal weight (thousands) and somehow that releases me to “waste” the much smaller amount of money the food cost me!

john August 27, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for your comment Cath, glad to hear from you and others I’m not the only one with this problem. The big problem for me is that when I ate the piece of meat I wasn’t thinking at all in terms of weight impact, only cost. It didn’t even occur to me there was a relationship. It was all about cost, and of course related to the clean plate idea as well. It’s a habit like any other and recognizing it is half the battle!

Joey August 27, 2007 at 10:44 pm

Wow, great post. It was as if you were sitting at my table. I have had issues all my life with leftovers. If we don’t eat it all and it is one of those things that won’t be good re-heated later I eat it.

You are right about the price aspect to it. I have no problem throwing away a serving of beans or some other vegetable.

john August 27, 2007 at 10:54 pm

Thanks Joey - the more I hear from readers like you the more I realize our issues are not our own. This is all in our head - why is it such a struggle to correct?

Thanks for stopping by and participating in the conversation!

JanB August 31, 2007 at 3:31 pm

I use teeny tiny zip lock bags (they’re called snack size) for teeny tiny leftovers. And I put the food away before I take my plate to the table. I do NOT put the food on the table, nor do I leave the food containers convenient for seconds. It’s all in the planning for me that leads away from overeating.

john August 31, 2007 at 9:29 pm

We have those bags too for the kids’ lunches - good point about using them for leftovers. The big thing I really need to get better at when I eat out is to get half the meals boxed up before they even serve the meal. I have found that many times I eat everything in front of me when I easily could have stopped half way. Why not start out with only half?

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