Chances are, you don’t eat your food in the exact same way as everyone else. Maybe you always cut your sandwiches into thirds, or maybe you like to peel your apples before snacking—and if you’ve always eaten your food a certain way, we certainly can’t ask you to change your ways.
But some food habits are so strange, or downright disgusting, that they cause an instant backlash when they come to light. When something like “St. Louis-style bagels” starts trending on Twitter, we know we’re in for a wild ride (and some fantastic internet arguments).
We looked into a few of these strange food habits then tried to decide whether or not the backlash was warranted.
1. Some people put ice in their cereal.
In 2015, Twitter user @Vidarrina posted a photo of her bowl of Lucky Charms on the social media site. Normally, a poorly lit photo of some cardboard-like cereal wouldn’t go viral, but Vidarrina’s post quickly spread.
“Am I the only one that can’t eat cereal without ice cubes?!!” she wrote.
Am I the only one that can't eat cereal without ice cubes?!! 😩😩😂 pic.twitter.com/jr0erHJTvu
— Cee♡ (@Vidarrina) June 11, 2015
People quickly jumped on the post, criticizing Vidarrina and questioning the practice.
“What do ice cubes do for it?” user @__careyj asked.
“They keep it warm,” @Lazallana joked.
Weirdly enough, she wasn’t the only person with this strange habit—apparently, there are thousands of people out there who just can’t stand warm cereal. For these people, breakfast just isn’t breakfast unless your cereal bowl is packed with ice cubes. Some of the posts date back to 2012, so this isn’t a new trend.
does anyone else put ice in their cereal ? pic.twitter.com/BrCgPDxT
— spite-erman (@youngDimSum) November 24, 2012
After the uproar, some people say they tried adding ice cubes…and liked it.
“It wasn’t a totally life-changing experience, but it was nice to eat a bowl of cereal where the milk stayed cold the entire time,” wrote Madison Kircher for Business Insider. “Plus, drinking the leftover milk in the bowl was much more enjoyable since it hadn’t warmed to room temperature while I ate.”
Our verdict: Maybe we’re old fashioned, but we think that the only time you should have ice in your cereal is if you’re literally eating it in Antarctica and there’s no other option. Won’t the cereal get watered down? Won’t the ice cubes get in your way as you try to fish out those last few marshmallows?
Still, we tried this out, and we quickly came to a simple conclusion: Adding ice to your cereal makes your cereal slightly colder. If that appeals to you, go for it (and maybe freeze some milk in one of your ice cube trays to avoid watering down your breakfast).
2. “St. Louis-cut” bagels brought the internet to a standstill.
Bagels aren’t exactly complicated. You cut them open, fill them with cream cheese (or avocado, or salmon, or whatever other toppings you want), then eat them. If you’re in St. Louis, however, you might take some liberties with that first step.
In March 2019, a man named Alek Krautmann introduced the internet to the concept of vertically cut bagels, and bagel purists were horrified.
We’ll warn you: If you frequently visit New York bakeries and you have very strong feelings about bagels, you might want to scroll past this next image.
Today I introduced my coworkers to the St Louis secret of ordering bagels bread sliced. It was a hit! pic.twitter.com/XNGbljtpYz
— Alek Krautmann (@AlekKrautmann) March 26, 2019
While Krautmann’s coworkers apparently appreciated his…creativity, Twitter responded negatively.
“I believe this is a Class A felony in New York City,” Justin Brannan, New York City councilman, wrote. “And if it’s not, it should be.”
Our verdict: First of all, we want to make this clear: We live and work in St. Louis, and people here don’t regularly slice their bagels with bread-loaf slicers. This isn’t so much a “St. Louis secret” as it is “something that Panera will do if you ask them nicely.”
With that said, we can see the appeal—if you’re ordering bagels for a business meeting or a large get-together, it’s reasonable to cut bagels like bread loaves so that every person can sample the baked goods without overeating.
But we also understand that the vertical slice feels unnatural and unintuitive, particularly if you’re planning on toasting your bagels. If you’re ordering bagels for yourself, there’s no reason to go all Edward Scissorhands on them. If you’re ordering for a bunch of people, go ahead and give it a try; after all, it’s just bread (sorry, New York).
3. People can’t agree on whether to use a fork or spoon for macaroni and cheese.
Few comfort foods are as universally beloved as mac and cheese. After all, what’s more delicious than a big bowl of fat-covered carbohydrates? You can pretty much use any cheese and any pasta to create a delicious dish, but when you’re ready to sit down and eat, make sure you’ve got a fork in your hand.
Alas, some unfortunate souls seem to believe that the spoon is the best utensil for the job. An unscientific Twitter poll posted by Sam H. Escobar of Delish found that about 21 percent of people use spoons (the rest, presumably, use forks, although we’re sure some people just shovel their mac and cheese into their mouths with their hands like barbarians).
While the poll was still running, @laurenduca tweeted “26% of people are sick. SICK.”
“I’m blocking all the fork people,” @MikeDrucker responded. “Congratulations on being reported to Twitter for spreading hate.”
Our verdict: Spoon users claim their way is superior since the bowl of the spoon is perfect for capturing as much cheese as possible in every bite. However, that assumes the cheese is watery—in any well-made bowl of mac, the cheese should stick to the noodles. The fork lets you easily grab noodles, and more importantly, it allows you to do this:
If you’ve never placed individual noodles on each tine of your fork, you’ve never had a childhood. There’s something ridiculously satisfying about this, and we’re standing firm here: If you’re eating mac and cheese, the fork is the only way to go.
4. Some folk put cheddar cheese on apple pie.
For well over a century, the apple pie has been a major part of American culture. While the dish was actually invented in England sometime in the 14th century, people have described things as “as American as apple pie” since the early 20th century, and today, it’s hard to imagine a Thanksgiving dinner or Independence Day barbecue that doesn’t feature the dessert.
Typical ingredients for an apple pie include flour, cinnamon, sugar, apples, and…uh, sharp cheddar cheese.
Yes, some folk apparently adorn their pie with large slices of cheese, and if that disgusts you, you’re not alone. When Food Network tweeted about the tradition, people responded quickly.
“Love cheddar cheese, but it has no place on an apple pie,” @RobertPWoolford wrote.
However, other people insisted that cheddar works well with all sweet pies.
“Like my sweet grandma used to say…‘pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze,’” @nylasiefert wrote.
The tradition is apparently most popular on the East Coast, and writer Lisa Cericola of Southern Living believes that’s a clue to its origins.
“It’s a Yankee thing,” Cericola wrote. “Or, perhaps a little more accurately, it’s a practice that likely dates back to medieval times that was later brought to the New World by European settlers…”
According to Cericola, medieval pies were often served with custard, which provided a nice, rich counterpoint to the pie’s contents. At some point, cheese stepped in as a substitute for the custard. After all, cheese is still dairy, and its strong flavor contrasts with sweet pies, ostensibly bringing out the flavor of the apples.
Our verdict: To our non-Yankee palates, sharp cheddar cheese seems out of place on a dessert tray, but we tried this out just to see whether we were missing something.
It wasn’t as jarring as we’d expected, but it wasn’t exactly mindblowing, either—if you grew up with cheese on your pie, you probably can’t imagine a dinner without it, but if you eat your pie plain, you’re not missing much.
5. And some people put salted peanuts in their soda.
If you’re traveling through the American South, you might see people putting peanuts in their Coca-Colas. Don’t worry, they’re not going crazy. They’re enjoying a classic Southern snack, and while it looks kind of disgusting, it’s not too hard to see the appeal.
Here’s the thing: Salty and sweet flavors go together well, and it’s hard to find something saltier than a peanut or sweeter than a can of Coke. Still, when we checked a few threads on Twitter, most non-Southern people remained unconvinced.
“Welp this definitely isn’t the first time the South got something wrong,” @demhotjawnz wrote.
welp this definitely isn’t the first time the south got something wrong
— jøn (@demhotjawnz) August 1, 2018
“Where are the police?” wrote @evanrengel.
Others jumped in to defend the practice, with many Twitter users claiming that they’d learned the peanuts-in-cola trick from their grandparents. That’s how many food traditions get started—you think it’s gross until you actually try it.
Our verdict: We tried it out, and this is actually awesome. To do it right, you’ll need to take a few drinks of the soda, then add the peanuts. Be careful when pouring them in to prevent the beverage from losing too much of its carbonation.
The salt makes the soda taste better, and the peanuts stay crunchy. When you’re finished drinking, you’ve got a nice little snack to enjoy while you’re on the go. Because the peanuts are in the bottle, you don’t get salt all over your fingers.
You probably won’t want to add peanuts to your soda every day, but if you’re headed to a baseball game or spending the day at the zoo, give it a try. Granted, if you don’t like peanuts, this probably isn’t for you, but if you’re willing to experiment, this is certainly an interesting way to snack.
We tried a few combinations, and our favorite was Dr. Pepper with honey roasted peanuts. Sure, our coworkers gave us strange looks, but that was part of the fun.
6. People in Rhode Island drink something called “coffee milk.”
Coffee milk is the official state drink of Rhode Island, but if you ask for a big heaping cup of the stuff anywhere else, it’s likely that you’ll be met with a blank stare. It’s exactly what it sounds like: coffee syrup in milk.
What is coffee syrup, you ask? A sugary substance made from instant coffee mixed with a hefty dose of corn syrup. Add a few spoonfuls to a glass of milk, and baby, you’ve got a stew goin’.
According to New England Today, coffee milk was originally marketed toward children as a way to get them to drink their milk (apparently, kids in the 1930s had no problems slurping down cups of black coffee). Various flavors are available, including vanilla and mocha, and the drink is so popular that native Rhode Islanders often order syrup online when they move out of state.
could it be I'm feeling nostalgic for #coffeemilk?
— Micah Chaim Thomas (@micah_chaim) January 7, 2019
Per reviews, coffee milk tastes similar to those bottled Starbucks Frappuccino drinks, so we can see why people love the stuff. Still, if the stuff was really delicious, it would have probably made its way out of Rhode Island by now.
Our verdict: We weren’t able to actually try this one, but conceptually, it’s not too repulsive. People drink chocolate milk all the time, and coffee milk is a logical extension of that concept.
We drink our coffee black, but if you’re into mixed coffee drinks, coffee milk shouldn’t gross you out. If you find yourself in a Rhode Island diner in the near future (or if you’re up for ordering coffee syrup online), go ahead and give it a shot—coffee and milk are never a horrible combination, even when the coffee in question is a thick, viscous syrup.
Okay, we actually grossed ourselves out with that last line. Never mind. Avoid coffee milk at all costs.