Dads are abnormal creatures. They laugh at their own jokes, watch endless Taylor Swift YouTube videos, and take naps in their car to avoid being social. Or maybe that’s just my father. He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met – “quirky” is too mild a term and “caring” isn’t kind enough.

The only movies he’ll watch are Dances with Wolves and Lord of the Dance, and normal food habits are not his forte. His personality is as odd as his palette, and I’m sure he’s not alone. Here are a few weird food things the species of dad does, especially mine:

1. Coats everything in salsa and spices.

cereal, pepper, herb, cumin
Sarina Raman

Since my dad is Indian, he douses everything in tongue-numbing spice. He doesn’t try the original, unflavored dish first – he layers on the hot picante and the chili peppers without tasting the food underneath.

This might be an Indian thing, but I think most dads coat their food in spices, whether it be garlic, turmeric, or salt. “Don’t insult the chef” doesn’t exist for them.

2. Doesn’t throw (almost empty) packaging away.

ice
Mackenzie Patel

This isn’t just a dad quirk; it’s an absentminded boy habit in general. To avoid throwing a package away (i.e. bag of Lays, carton of milk, sleeve of biscuits), my dad leaves one or two food items left.

It’s not enough for a whole serving, but it’s enough to avoid the trash duty. I don’t understand! There’s only one tablespoon of Honey Bunches of Oats left in the morning, barely enough for a decent bowl…

3. Mixes all of his food together.

pasta, seafood, garlic
Katie Huang

Dads throw separate foods and distinctive flavors out the window when eating. My dad stirs everything together, mashing his beans with a salad and blackened tuna. What happened to a refined palette?

My dad is oblivious to flavors; he eats just to fill his stomach. Meanwhile, I separate the peas from the carrots and savor every spice like I’m a Bon Appétit columnist.

4. Goes through “food phases.”

beer, alcohol, liquor, juice, wine, soda
Mackenzie Patel

Just how I go through music phases (tbt to Madonna, Tame Impala, and Velvet Underground), my dad goes through beverage phases like liquids are going out of style. Diet Coke (until he got kidney stones), screwdrivers (until he tired of Smirnoff), and Power-Aid were all obsessions; now, it’s a clear bottle of Propel.

This short-term addiction extends to food as well; he’s currently in a Skinny Pop and Goldfish phase, munching on those “low calorie” packets in an attempt to be healthy.

5. Skips breakfast and just snacks all day.

holding popcorn, popcorn bag, snacks, eating popcorn, popcorn, fish, snack
Jocelyn Hsu

My dad goes to work at 5 a.m., snacks on Goldfish and Pringles throughout the day, and arrives home, hangry and grumbling, at 7 p.m. My mom tries to pack him a lunch – but to no avail. Eating a substantial lunch just isn't his thing. He shovels down his dinner of lentil soup and bread, even if he’s eaten it for five nights straight.

6. “Grilling” is the only cooking he does.

steak, meat, beef, pork, barbecue, filling steak on grill, grill, BBQ, Grilling, tongs
Shelby Cohron

My mom is the chef of the household, but my dad is a self-proclaimed "grill master." He loves sparking up the propane and searing chicken, inspecting his freshly-mowed lawn all the while.

He scrunches up the foil – saves the juices from dripping off the salmon – and feels accomplished for the evening. He can’t cook a lick in the inside kitchen. If he’s tasked with dinner, a night out at Outback or Carrabba’s is on the menu.

I will never understand dads, least of all their unusual food habits. Who decided that putting coke in cereal and peanut butter on hamburgers was a good idea? Dads are a species of their own, their high socks and undershirts making nerds out of accountants and engineers. But we love them and couldn’t do without them.