Smarties: How do you Eat Yours?

The girls’ school PTA handed out tubes of Smarties last week with the invitation to “eat the contents, then return the tube filled with 20ps.” They’ve worked out that each tube holds £9.60 in 20p pieces, so ten-out-of-ten for the fundraising idea!
“Ooh, Smarties!” I said (being a lover all chocolate). “Can I have a tube?”
“Only if you promise to fill it up with 20ps.”
I duly promised, and was handed a tube.
“The question is…” someone said. “Are you going to eat them yourself, or share them with your children?” [Laughter]
“Eat them myself!” I replied. “I love Smarties. I line them all up by colour, and…”
But I got no further; they had frozen, like rabbits in the headlights.

In an age when it’s socially acceptable to talk about how you eat your Creme Egg (I bite the top off mine), the lining-up of Smarties is still enough to reduce three grown women to a state of abject terror.

Er… why?

Okay, I don’t know why, and it seemed I’d discovered yet another invisible line by jumping over it, both feet stuffed into my mouth as I went. (And this was despite two of the three women in question knowing I’m autistic, thus – presumably – expecting me to be a bit… odd.)

Now, I can tip a tube of Smarties into my mouth with the best of them, but lining them up by colour (then eating the extras until there are the same number of each ;o) is a simple pastime that amuses me, and harms no one. If you said you liked throwing your Smarties into the air and catching them one by one in your mouth, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid; people do that with popcorn, and they eat Creme Eggs in all kinds of ways. So, is it that I ventured to say that I lined them up? Or was is the lining-up that bothered them? I’m confused. Why is lining up Smarties such a social deviance?

Answers in the comments box, please!


20 thoughts on “Smarties: How do you Eat Yours?”

  1. I used to eat my smarties like this too! Although I don’t think I lined them up, just put them in groups and then ate two at a time, I believe I had an order to eating the colours too (same with skittles) but I can’t remember it now
    Also with almost every meal I normally eat one thing at a time, starting with the food I like least (for example tonight I’m having carrots, chips and meat pie, and I’ll eat it in that order) …does anyone else do this? (I’ve recently been told I /may/ have a form of autism and I’m curious about all the ‘funny habits’ I’ve always had and whether that’s the cause of them)

  2. I think it’s because there are still some things that freaks them out some hard-wired thing that tells them that lining up smarties is wrong. I expect they’ll get over this instinct in about 10 or 20 years. The same way they got over racism. Just sit tight! :)

  3. Loving the resources on this website, as a late-life diagnosed Aspie (I say late im only 27, but it’s late enough!) I am finding this website a huge help!

    In regards to the Smarties, I tend to group them by colour, work out if there is a pattern/ratio between colours and eat them in a particular order until there are the same amount of each colour Smartie.

    On a slightly annoying side note (annoying for you because someone is pointing it out, annoying for me because I feel I cannot leave this comment without mentioning what I am about to)

    Line 6 of this blog, where it reads,” “Ooh, Smarties!” I said (being a lover all chocolate). ”
    in the brackets between the words “lover” and “all” I believe you are missing the word “of”. Sorry :)

  4. Okay, first: What’s a smartie? In the US they are sour hard candies–sometimes called Sweet-Tarts. Is that what they are for you, too? Second, lol, to answer the question, I eat things by color too, not really number. Except pepperonis. Those I count out and yes it does annoy e if they’re not in lines of four or five. I like lining things up in rows, and I tend to eat things one thing aat a time, regarrdless of what it is. :) I have tons of frozen food in my freezer that it takes forever for me to go through because I eat all of the chicken spaghetti first, then the soup, then the taco meat, etc. :)

    I love this blog!


    • A Smartie (as pictured) is a chocolate with a hard-sugar coating, a bit like a chocolate M&M. I think what you describe as a US Smartie, is what we call Skittles in the UK. They look similar, but have no chocolate and are chewy. I’m interested that you eat one thing at a time – I do the same! Glad you like the blog! And thanks for your comment; it is helping to improve communication in every sense!

  5. I always eat Skittles down so there’s one of each color left too. How funny. I also like to invent 3-color combinations of Skittles that are good to eat together, and I name them.

  6. Oh, I have to sort out my M&Ms and then eat them by colour:
    brown first
    then green

    And then I eat them in 2s or 3s.

    Doesn’t everyone???

  7. Leigh, they can’t take the time to check out the colours, they just chuck their head back and down they go,
    but they miss out on all the pleasure of counting and colour blocking, oh well….

  8. Yep, I eat things like this too!

    I like odd numbers – not even – so would count out an odd number of each colour and have to eat separately any that were left, but they’d be odd too. So if in total there were 16 purple ones, I’d have to separate them into 15, which would then leave 1 – still odd :)

    I am SO glad I’m not the only one who does things like this – in fact I have a HUGE smile on my face as I’m typing this :)

  9. I have AS and I often eat mine that way too. The only problem is that I do get rather upset that there are different numbers of each colour, and also a little bothered if they don’t end up as multiples of four…!

  10. I eat things like this all the time, especially Skittles. I eat the colors with the most in them first, to get them all to the same number. Then I eat them one by one based on what comes closest to a rainbow order (red, orange, yellow, etc.). I’m not on the spectrum, but I have a daughter that is. I am very Type-A, though. :)

  11. That brings back memories! I always did that as a child. Can’t say I’ve eaten Smarties for a long time now.

    And I bet you never bite through both fingers of a kit-kat at the same time, do you?

  12. I’d forgotten that I used to eat them like this too!
    It’s interesting you said they displayed a sort of terror. I wonder whether it was terror of the unconventional, of your passion about it, of the part of them that patterns other things if not smarties, or something else.
    Very different thing to zoning out or confusion or boredom. Interesting.

  13. Um…. ya… I thought that was how you were supposed to eat them. It brings order to the universe!!

    I am a bit shaken that this is considered unusual…

    Oh man!!

  14. Yes yes yes yes!!!!!!! That is exactly how I eat mine too. (Well, I live in the US, so its M&Ms and skittles, but that’s how I do it – line em up in rainbow order like the picture then eat them down by the extras…) :D :D Silly people, don’t they know that is the only way to eat small rainbow-colored candies?

  15. I don’t find that weird at all.
    In fact we were at a school function about self esteem around valentines day where they had us lining up the candy hearts by color.

  16. Just discussed this with my 10 year old daughter who said she would line hers up and eat the colour with the most smarties in first. For me, I’d just stuff them in my mouth because I’m a chocaholic but I see your point Leigh, why is this such an issue? I bet if these women really thought about it, they would have some rituals that they enjoy like dunking a biscuit into a hot drink or nibbling chocolate off a chocolate bar or dissecting a jaffa cake (the latter two are my favourites). I think with the creme egg thing, Cadburys have really gone to town asking people how they eat it so its become the norm to eat an egg in unusual ways. And that’s the hub of it for me; there are so many norms about doing things that people are not comfortable with things that are slightly different. Deb

    £9.60 worth of 20ps in a smarties tube – that’s amazing – is it one of those small tubes? I’m going to challenge my children with this one.

  17. Wait, what??? That’s a weird thing to do????????
    I haven’t done it in years but to be fair that’s because I haven’t eaten them in a long long time.
    I always feel cheated if there aren’t ‘enough’ of my favourite colour.
    I think the people who think it’s weird are the weirdos.

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