The secret language of food

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After a long country walk on Easter Saturday we repaired to a pub for a welcome drink. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the garden was full of people. One couple in particular caught my attention. I became mesmerised by their way of eating. She had ordered a burger, he a pot of mussels. They shared a plate of chips. I watched as she cut her burger in half, handed it to her partner who took a large bite and handed it back. The bun was liberally laced with salad, which dribbled from her mouth as she gobbled it in. Ignoring the cutlery, he plunged his hands into the pot to retrieve mussels, which he slurped greedily, afterwards licking his greasy fingers. The same fingers scrabbled among chips and shovelled them into his mouth.  A horrible sight to behold.

However, as a writer, I began to think that the way a person eats can speak volumes about their personality. Claude Monet who features in my book Monet’s Angels appreciated good food. Someone once asked him which was more important to the artist: his palette or palate. In my book he is expansive about life and eats with gusto, whereas his stepdaughter Blanche, who has sacrificed her own talent as a painter to care for him, often picks at her food. 

Probing further into this relationship between character and food, I found there are behavioural food experts. One of them, Juliet Boghossian who founded Food-ology, says that our eating habits are highly instinctual and even if we try to fake them, the real ones will reveal themselves in the end. All you need to do is carefully look at the way someone eats to reveal a few of their character traits.

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