Cuisine Fiend https://www.cuisinefiend.com

Chewing over

CuisineFiend's edible news.

Munching, grazing - why do we stuff our faces while watching telly?

Fri, 3 February, 2017

Why do we munch? Why do we eat on the train, in the cinema, while watching telly? It’ must be a sociological phenomenon completely confined to the first world. A first world problem. Or is it a problem?

We eat on the train - or just drink in the morning, thank God for that. I don’t think I could bear the company of a burger and fries in my carriage first thing. Everyone’s clutching paper cups with plastic teats to drink through, increasingly craft coffee shops rather than Starbucks. An odd granola bar or a croissant may be forgiven, smell-wise. On the way home in the evening though it’s full works: a representation of every high street/station food outlet makes an appearance. The smells, the smells!

We eat in the cinema - and though I’m not usually guilty of train-munching, I’m there with the rest at cinema fodder. Why, it’s the only time I get to eat popcorn - sweet of course, you can stuff your healthy savoury variation. It’s always over salted anyway. I’ll confess I even drink at the cinema, being privileged to frequent an incredibly swish establishment with a bar (before everyone pictures brown paper bags with cans of lager).

And the telly - I get munchies like an old stoner, completely capable of going through a bagful of almonds, handfuls of raisins and dried mango to a single episode of The Man in the High Castle. You don’t want to know what happens at a box set binge session… To be fair, at least I try to be reasonably healthy - dried fruit, nuts, pomegranates which I eat almost seed by seed (they’re called arils, I’ve found recently) - and that's much better than bags of crisps, but still hellishly calorific.


In the street - but that’s perhaps excusable as some of the world street foods are better than what you’ll get in a restaurant? And surely ice cream in summer tastes the best when en promenade? Anyway the street phenomenon is (luckily or worryingly?) becoming obsolete - no way can we handle food AND the mobile phone. It really makes you wonder what’s better.

All this has been brought about by quite radical food commandments that I read about: don’t eat unless sitting down, don’t eat looking at a screen of any description, don’t eat anything that contains things you can’t visualise, don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t eat. Makes a lot of sense at a glance, but then - blimey, half the western population would starve to death. And to nit-pick: train ticks the ‘sitting’ box and the visualisation excludes being adventurous in exotic cuisines.

Is it bad then, the munching habit? It’s certainly adding to the obesity epidemic and the types of food people tend to munch are not the healthiest. Why do we do it? Sadly, the most probable explanation is: because we can.

It’s the blessing and the curse of the first world, the abundance of readily available food. As many dieticians point out, humans did not evolve with food aplenty but with the need to hunt and gather in order to eat. Our bodies are in fact designed to go through long periods of fast or little nourishment followed by an occasional feast on a mammoth or a bison. Mind you - the feast would always be meat, not a mountain of cream éclairs - so how deeply do we defy nature stuffing ourselves full of Maltesers?

Another reason - we need constant distraction with our short attention span. We can’t properly focus on one activity any more: we watch Strictly while we tweet, Instagram our new boots, WhatsApp a mate and pop Cheetos into our mouths at the rate of knots.

Bad - that is seriously bad when you think about it. How many of us are guilty of grazing mindlessly when we are not only not hungry but only just finished a main meal? And occupied with an activity that should have nothing to do with eating?

I’m going to try and do without it while - that’s my nastiest habit - watching telly. I’ll get a glass of water. I’ll put something subtitled on. I’ll just quit munching - and tell you all about it soon.

 

Question? Comment?

Characters left 800
Comment*
Name*
Email address*
Web site name

* required

Recent blog posts

Fri, 5 April, 2019 You can't be a scrooge at Easter: it's spring! it's hope! it's chocolate eggs!

Tue, 5 March, 2019 Dietary myths and delusions – the human race has always loved them.

Sun, 3 February, 2019 World cuisines are diverse - or are they?

Mon, 31 December, 2018 Eat well, be well, live well.

Sat, 29 December, 2018 Cuisine Fiend's Christmas Collection

Sun, 4 November, 2018 We are so angry all the time - why not just chill? Cook something?

Thu, 4 October, 2018 Food comes from all over the world – but why so illogically sourced?

Mon, 3 September, 2018 There's no such thing as healthy foods: it's all in the balance.

Thu, 2 August, 2018 Diets – I do it my way.

Mon, 2 July, 2018 Cooking at home - why is it such a chore for so many?

Sun, 27 May, 2018 The number of obese people is terrifying - and that's just Home Counties.

Tue, 24 April, 2018 Food fads, or the impossible things to eat: our unhealthy health obsessions.

Mon, 26 March, 2018 Kitchen disasters, or how I blowtorched the turkey.

Mon, 12 March, 2018 They know a thing or two about food in Shropshire.

Wed, 17 January, 2018 Deadly avocados, flying knives and golfer's elbow: kitchen is a dangerous place.

Tue, 19 December, 2017 Diets on hold: time for twinkling lights and brandy butter.

Fri, 24 November, 2017 Eating nose-to-tail - make mine a steak.

Thu, 2 November, 2017 Eat yourself to sleep - or not, actually.

Fri, 15 September, 2017 Everything in moderation - damn hard to achieve where food is concerned.

Sun, 13 August, 2017 Food on screen: they never eat properly on TV.

Wed, 5 July, 2017 Summer gluttony: does food always taste better when we're on holidays?

Thu, 18 May, 2017 Taste, likes and dislikes - unique to first world?

Wed, 19 April, 2017 Spring is here and so is spring food.

Mon, 3 April, 2017 Signature dish? I want to cook everything well!

Fri, 3 March, 2017 British strawberries in March? I think I'll wait till May.

Fri, 17 February, 2017 Making birthday cakes is fun, unless it all goes terribly wrong.

Fri, 3 February, 2017 Munching, grazing - why do we stuff our faces while watching telly?

Fri, 27 January, 2017 Winter warmers: what's the best comfort food when the weather's cold?

Fri, 20 January, 2017 Sugar is the public enemy now. But should we go cold turkey?

Fri, 6 January, 2017 What's really good and bad for us, nutrition-wise?

Sat, 29 December, 2018 Post-Christmas, or how to lose weight on leftovers.

Thu, 15 December, 2016 Post-truth, let's put up more twinkling Christmas lights!

Fri, 9 December, 2016 A cook's block, or how induction is a toy hob.

Fri, 2 December, 2016 Fasting is good, every now and then. It makes us appreciate taste and flavours.

Thu, 24 November, 2016 Boringly tidy or artistically messy in the kitchen? It might be boring, but order helps you focus.

Fri, 11 November, 2016 Gas or electrics - I'm trying hard not to hate my new induction hob.

Fri, 4 November, 2016 New kitchen - caveat emptor, and don't expect a dream come true.

Fri, 28 October, 2016 The rise of the hipster salad.

Fri, 21 October, 2016 No kitchen for two months - what shall I cook first in the new one?

Fri, 14 October, 2016 Cooking is easier, cheaper and more varied than eating out.

Wed, 5 October, 2016 Kitchen designers - my own Great Kitchen Design Off.

Tue, 27 September, 2016 Life without kitchen. Or bathroom, most of the time.

Wed, 21 September, 2016 British cakes - let's not forget the classics.

Thu, 15 September, 2016 Going out for breakfast? Just don't order scrambled eggs.

Wed, 7 September, 2016 Great British Bake Off - now I know why I'd never watched it.

Wed, 31 August, 2016 Eating out: posh nosh or good & simple? I go for value these days.

Thu, 10 August, 2017 Eat food. Not too much. Some of it raw.

Thu, 11 August, 2016 Is a steam oven THE must-have appliance? I'll stick to my stock pot with a steamer insert.

Thu, 4 August, 2016 How to lose weight: the Food Fascist and I

Thu, 28 July, 2016 Eating whilst sprawled on the sofa? Not for me.

Thu, 21 July, 2016 How to live and what to eat on a building site.

Thu, 14 July, 2016 Weird dietary trends - the pseudo-nutritional nonsense

Fri, 8 July, 2016 What are the most useful tools in cooking and baking life?

Thu, 30 June, 2016 The aftermath of the referendum - time to cook some bacon.

Thu, 23 June, 2016 'Easy recipe' - it's an oxymoron!

Fri, 17 June, 2016 Common currency? Don't know, but I know about Common Food!

Fri, 10 June, 2016 How to NOT EAT - totally non-expert advice on weight loss

Thu, 2 June, 2016 Rain, thunder and floods, but summer berries are arriving

Thu, 26 May, 2016 Pancakes are the nation's favourite food

Tue, 17 May, 2016 Spring is here

Fri, 13 May, 2016 It's a hard life being a food blogger

fiendishly...