Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 25 October |
Saint of the Day: Sts Gavin, Protus, and Januarius
Aleteia logo
home iconVoices & Views
line break icon

Foods Touching at Thanksgiving…The Horror!

Chowhound

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 11/25/15

Be kind to the mild brumotactillophobiacs present at the holiday table. We put up with so much!

Have you seen “The Horror?”

Thanksgiving Dinner … in a Cake!

There is a formal name for this phobia some people have about the foods on their plate … touching. It’s called Brumotactillophobia.

It is common to see children squirm and pout when a piece of meat overlaps onto their green beans. Kids seem to instinctively understand that beans go here and potatoes go there and never the twain shall meet.

Some adults lose that wisdom as they grow older and less attentive. I do not count myself among their number.

I may not eat at their table, but I am nevertheless with the food-aphephobic kids in spirit: the different foods on the plate should not touch! The foods in that Thanksgiving Turkey Cake should not be touching.

Every Thanksgiving, as my mother-in-law’s groaning table sends around turkey, stuffing, artichokes, eggplant parmesan, broccoli, spinach, stuffed mushrooms, sweet potatoes and all the rest of that particular post-pasta course, my grown nephew, my preschool-aged nieces and I must deal with the logistics of the plate, and the thoughtless teasing of family-members who cannot muster up a bit of inclusive sensitivity for the “Food-No-Touchees” in their midst.

Although the preschoolers are still imperfect in their discipline, we Food-No-Touchees are silent sufferers; we observe our rituals as discreetly as possible, so as not to make ourselves targets of familial ridicule and flying dinner rolls. We do not partake of gravy, which never stays where you put it and ends up touching other foods that were never meant to be gravified. A slice of cranberry on the meat does nicely, as turkey and cranberries are permitted to touch. Peas, however, roll into other foods, so they are banished, along with creamed carrots.

We are not food snobs; our quest is to maintain food-space-integrity, not to get to heaven through our guts. Food-No-Touchees find something both comforting and aesthetically pleasing in having constructed minimal foodgroup barriers on our plates. Yes, we’re a little neurotic, but it’s a victimless obsession.

Unfortunately, the sheer amount of dishes at the Thanksgiving entree—far, far too many, and all contributed by Italian-Americans who will be insulted if you don’t at least “taste” their offering—simply defeats a Food-No-Touchee. At some point, someone who thinks they are “helping” takes a spoonful of sweet potato and slops it onto one’s dish, cheerfully suggesting that “it all goes to the same place.” When that happens, the children scream and we adult No-Touchees, accustomed to this overt, socially-permitted FoodAphephobiaPhobicism (the last acceptable prejudice!) stare silently at our plates with stricken eyes.

My nephew and I exchange knowing glances. At this point, the only way to save Thanksgiving is to make sure that we discreetly eat the now-despoiled foods in their correct order; for him that means starting at the top of the plate and eating around in a clockwise fashion; for me it is all about heat density. Potatoes are consumed first. Then meat. Then vegetables. To have a bite of turkey, followed by a forkful of spinach, and then some eggplant, with another bite of turkey would be unthinkable for either of us.

Fortunately, the family has never caught on to what my younger son refers to as our “single-file eating,” or we’d never live it down.

It’s bad enough that they’ve figured out that we’re also crumb-phobics; my nephew and I cannot tolerate crumbs on the table, and are very quick to help clear the dishes and sweep the tablecloth. Now that we are discovered, the cruelest people will call our names and—when they’ve gotten our attention—smile as they crumble breadcrumbs beside (not on) their plates.

Sadists. We are learning to shudder in silence, “offer it up” and keep smiling.

Elizabeth Scalia is Editor-in-Chief of the English edition of Aleteia

Tags:
FamilyThanksgiving
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
VENERABLE SANDRA SABATTINI
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
2
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
3
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
4
Theresa Civantos Barber
St. John Paul II’s perfect advice for lasting love in marriage
5
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Steps of prayer to learn from today’s Gospel
6
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Cerith Gardiner
A collection of Pope John Paul II’s quotes on some of life’s most...
7
THE CONJURING
David Ives
5 More horror movies with Catholic sensibilities
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.