Love at first bite……or not.

I have been married nearly 50 years (next April). I believe one of the things that makes for a long-lasting union is each partner’s ability to accept and/or overlook idiosyncrasies that one of you finds vexatious in the other. I mean, let’s face it, none of us are without little aggravating habits that may peeve the other, even if nothing is said out loud about it. Letting these meaningless yet annoying little visitations pass without comment is often the secret behind flourishing marriages. I think my wife and I have done this quite satisfactorily.

That’s why I was surprised the other day when I unexpectedly let it be known that there was one thing she does that distracts me more than just a bit. I’m sure we are not alone in the habit of couples sharing food with each other. Whether at home or at a restaurant, we often sample each other’s food, especially if the comments about it are inviting. That’s just fine. Where it becomes a problem is when she takes the very first bite of one of my dishes!

I’m all in on share and share alike when it comes to trading bites of delicious food. Heck, the Chinese made it into an art form. But something inside me finds it difficult to give up the first bite, whether it is a delicious sandwich or a luscious steak or a yummy dessert. Maybe it was competing with my older brother for sparse helpings of food as a child. Maybe it was because, growing up in a relatively poor family, getting a good steak or a nice gourmet dessert was a rarity. I relished having it so much, I treated it like a prized possession. For whatever reason, taking that first bite was ethereal to me.

Please, step away from the plate, then no one will get hurt!

The other day, after my having made one of the 10 greatest sandwiches of all time, I turned to pour some milk and when I turned back to retrieve this “mother of all sandwiches”, my sweet wife was enjoying the very first bite! Sadly, this was just another bite of another sandwich in her mind, not realizing that I see that initial mastication as nothing short of an out-of-body experience! It was then that I revealed to her the angst of having suppressed this wanton need in the back of my mind for lo these many years of wedded bliss. I confessed the many times that I suffered internally as she took the first lick of my strawberry ice cream cone or the first spoonful of my beloved peanut soup. Even talking about the time she took the first delectable morsel of my Grasshopper Crème pie causes painful flashbacks.

But probably the most bothersome of all, is when we are out dining and deciding on our selection. She will often think of having what I’m having, but change her mind and order something else. Fine, that’s normal. But when the food comes, whose dish do you think she takes a bite out of first, before either of us has even begun? If you’ve been paying attention, I don’t think I have to go into the appalling details of that scenario.

But as with all unpleasant events, there is always a silver lining. My first-bite fetish is now out in the open and no longer lurking in the recesses of my subconscious. Realizing that it is wrong to internalize this so, I’m in weekly counseling now, and starting to see results. Just last week, I actually offered her first dibs on my chocolate milkshake. Even more gratifying, yesterday I took the first bite of her first pancake at breakfast! God, that felt good. It’s like an albatross has been taken from my neck. And best of all, I believe now there’s a good chance we will make it to 50!

A happy couple after only 3 “first bite” therapy sessions.

My newfound attitude toward this has been so encouraging, I’m thinking of talking to her about how she can possibly, in good conscience, take the last Klondike bar in the freezer without asking me.


38 thoughts on “Love at first bite……or not.

  1. I probably shouldn’t admit this here but confession is good for the soul, right? I used to make lunches for my ex-husband. I knew he hated me touching his food unless it was in the course of preparing it for his consumption but sometimes I just couldn’t help myself. He would make me so mad sometimes…… so I would take a bite out of each sandwich and then stack them so it looked like a giant took a bite. I would wrap them all up and he wouldn’t find them until he was at work. Sure, he would call, but by the time he got home he was usually over it. I also folded the ham in half, nibbled out the middle and made the sandwich with it – all four of them. Oh! And I left the plastic wrap on the cheese slices when he woke me up at 4 in the morning to make sandwiches for all his friends on a kayaking trip. And I pried the top of the pudding open and left a big thumb print in it and then taped it shut. Left a plastic wrapped note in the bottom of his leftover roast beef & potatoes explaining the I licked one piece. I know. It was wrong of me. But I only did things like that when he deserved it. :o)

    • This is hilarious! You may now consider your soul completely cleansed Mrs. Completely. By the way, you are hereby forbidden to ever contact my wife!

  2. What a beautiful story! I’m so glad you felt it was time. Love that you see your food as sacred. Rich or poor it truly is sacred. This blog party stuff is fun. Nice to read your stuff.

    • Thanks for commenting, Julia. The worst part of this is that sometimes it is the very food she herself prepared for me. What can I say other than what a cruel irony.

  3. This post really made me laugh Al. Though I am with Margy and suffer more from last bite syndrome. If the husband asks if I want some of the last bar, the last piece of pie, the last anything I am okay with letting him have it. When I open the Tupperware and discover I didn’t even have an option…that is so sad.
    Perhaps it is not last bite syndrome as control over last bite syndrome? Are there levels and/or categories, do you think, for this issue?

    • Yes, Faye, and based on the responses to this post, it’s obvious that first bite/last bite syndrome is approaching epidemic proportions. I’m thinking of touring the country speaking about this. It’s the only humanitarian thing to do.

  4. Communication is the key to less stressful relationships! Good for you telling her how you felt.
    Thanks for bringing this to the party! It’s always great to “see” you!

  5. Hello Al. I am still smiling after reading your post! You made me giggle out loud! I too sympathize with you! I love sharing food, and me and my boyfriend often order a few dishes and share them. But…..
    …when we have our ‘own plates’ (one meal each that we have decided we want, and might possibly share a few bites of)…I cannot bear the thought of my boyfriend even moving his fork over to my plate until i have had the first taste!!! How could he even contemplate this?! I’m pretty sure i didn’t ever hold back this issue of mine, and he’s knows very well, that doing so would mean hours of having to make it up to me!! …I also have a problem with him eating something I may have been ‘saving’ till the end of the meal on my plate…like a last potato…or the last black olive in a pasta dish…I’m shuddering at the thought!! …Maybe I should start attending a support group too 😛
    Take care Al
    keep posting, and giving us all a good chance for a giggle!

    • Good for you, Carly. I’m sure Barcelona is teeming with suppressed first-biters like yourself. Starting a support group is a good first step. If it only helps one person overcome this savage affliction it will have been worth your time.

      Buenas dias!
      Tu amigo, Al

  6. Too funny! Yes, you are brave after all these years to confront and confess so that you might make it to 50! And early congratulations! I confess that Husband of 40 years does a few things that annoy me that I have not had to courage to tell him about. Nothing big, of course, but it always just seems better to let it go. Perhaps you have inspired me. Good post!

    • Yes, I think silence is golden definitely applies here. Now I will have to do penance for humiliating my wife to 379 followers. This could involve jewelry.

  7. So glad you two lanced the festering boil of first-bite angst. I foresee nothing but smooth sailing ahead.

    I definitely see where you’re coming from. In fact, I thought the “first-experience-goes-to-the-owner” rule could remain an unwritten rule precisely because it was understood by all. Like as a teenager when you got a new piece of clothing, woe to the sister who would snatch it from your closet before you ever wore it. My husband and I don’t have that problem, though, FYI.

    • The first experience goes to the owner rule. I like that. But it obviously needs to move from the ranks of “unwritten laws” to a bold type Amendment to the Constitution!

      P.S. Relieved to hear your hubby is not a cross dresser. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my best friends……… (well, you know the rest of the PC wording.)

  8. Very funny and I am glad you are receiving help…me thinks your lovely Missus was wise to this all along.. ❤ hugs for you both and much love ❤ xXx

  9. Al, this just made me chuckle the whole way through. I can just picture the look on your face each time your wife helps herself to that first bite. Glad you are receiving therapy to help you through!😂

  10. Timely topic, Al. First bite has never been an issue at our house, but the last bite – how can the man I’ve been married to for almost 48 years eat the last bite of the chocolate bar I stashed in the cupboard!?

  11. So funny. I have the same problem, but it goes behind the first bite. Whenever I am making a special dish or something for the church, etc., he has to have some. Drives me nuts! I like this article and plan to share it with others. Good one, Al!

    • Thanks, Karen. I must admit, I have been in a bit of trouble over eating goodies that were meant for her book club pot luck supper. Must be a guys thing, Ed!

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