« Fancy A Pigeon? | Main | William Walton »

Pins And Needles: You Are What You Munch

...The healthiest party game of the season might be to simply hang around the snack table, keep our hands in our pockets, and guess who is going to pick what.
Snack Food Psychology...

As the party season progresses Gloria MacKay muses on the findings of Chicago-based researcher Dr Alan Hirsch who says "The munchies you choose tells a lot about who you are."

As we roll slowly, like hefty cheese balls, through the remainder of the holiday parties, the last thing we need is some nutritionist carping, "You are what you eat."

Besides, this might not be true. Other qualified professionals (at least one) puts it this way: you eat what you are. "The munchies you choose tells a lot about who you are," says Dr. Alan Hirsch, the head of the Chicago’s Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. (Yes, Chicago does, indeed, support smell and taste research.) The doctor suggests he can determine personality by the kinds of snack foods one eats—and we Americans do snack, on the average over twenty-two pounds of finger food and sixteen pounds of ice cream a year.

The healthiest party game of the season might be to simply hang around the snack table, keep our hands in our pockets, and guess who is going to pick what. Even when guests are all dressed up and on their best behavior, once they dip a chip or pick a pretzel, they have blown their cover.

Dr. Hirsch claims that aggressive personalities, the go-getters in the crowd, those who usually succeed in whatever they do and enjoy the rewards go for potato chips. And surely, they can't eat just one. Cracker snackers are quite the opposite: contemplative, thoughtful, unemotional, logical. They belong to the hands hovering between the Wheat Thins and the Triscuits while they scope out the platter of cheese.

It is not hard to pick out the carnivores, drooling over buffalo wings, pepperoni sticks and pigs in a blanket. Dr. Hirsch not only describes meat lovers as true and loyal friends, he breaks them down into subsets: those who crave beef jerky, for instance, are often the life of the party, while expect those who go for pork rinds to be more gregarious than most.

With pretzel choosers, what you see is not what you get. "We think of them as ... plain and boring, but they're not; it's exactly the opposite," declares the doctor. "Underneath it all, they are lively and energetic people somewhat bored with their every day life. So, it should be no surprise that pretzel lovers are flirts."

Studies show tortilla chip fanciers are perfectionists. Although they are humanitarians at heart, distressed by the injustice around them, they expect themselves, everyone and everything to be perfect. Research at Smell and Taste reveals the tortilla folks have been known to hold up the line while they dig through the bowl, searching for the perfect chip.

Finally, there are the cheese curls, those who Dr. Hirsch describes with only one word. Integrity. He goes on to say, "Cheese curlers are formal, conscientious, proper people who maintain the moral high ground be it with their family, their work, or their lovers." Personally, a cheese curl has never yellowed my fingers, but they might not be so bad, after all.

After winter does come spring, but the research continues. You’d be surprised how much one can learn about people by sitting at Baskin and Robbins watching the sugar cones drip.

When I was young I wondered why anyone would pick vanilla ice cream when for the same price you could get butter pecan or chocolate chip mint. Now that I’m old, almost without realizing the change, I rarely choose anything but vanilla. According to Dr. Hirsch, "vanilla's" are colorful, impulsive, expressive, yet private. Hey, that's the real me! .

The doc says chocoholics are charming, creative, seductive, well dressed and theatrical; typical chocolate lovers are actresses, very feminine women and macho men. Chocolate chip ice cream fanciers are described as visionaries who want to be catered to. Examples? Donald Trump and all those picked in school to be the most likely to succeed. Strawberry ice cream? Think Andy Rooney, bureaucrats, and those whose job is to manage complaints and deal with returns. I’m not making this up. It's research.

It is not too late for a holiday party diet right about now. I could allot myself one crummy cheese curl, just to remind everyone how honorable I am, and then stand back and watch the pretzels flirt with the tortilla chips while I dream of vanilla ice cream.



Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.