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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What Eat's At Me!

We Are Back!

Wow, lots of recipes waiting in the queue - some really great ones too. But as a treat we will start off with this reader submitted humorous story about food in the family.

Wendy Shade of Montreal, Canada sent this one in while I was away. Her email said as follows:

I'm not sure if you would want to include a story not by a single parent, but a distressed wife who's had too many arguments over food with her husband. My story will tell you why.

I hope it will bring you a chuckle...

thanks for your time and consideration.
Of course we want stories from all over. Indeed most of our regular contributors have to deal with the "customs" of their irate spouses all the time! And so without further ado, here is Wendy's story entitled:

What Eat’s at Me!

When I married my husband I knew that our families were different, but no where did this seem more apparent than at our mutual family dinners. My parents being from Eastern Europe believe that food equals survival. My husband’s side is second generation Canadian and that means honestly completely the opposite! In my family eating is something you do with appetite, gusto and relish. On his side of the family, you’re lucky to spot any relish on the table or elsewhere! Condiments are rare, and rarer still is the messy kind of eating where guards are down, and I’m not just talking napkins here, but where you can truly be yourself. At his family functions, dinner time is a place where you sit up straight, position a cloth napkin promptly on your lap, mind your Ps and Qs, and navigate your way through an abundance of unnecessary cutlery. I’ve had no choice but to accept these differences but I thought it would be fun to serve them up here and place them out on the table sort to speak, in the hopes of finally getting them out of my system!

A typical dinner with my husband’s side of the family begins with the announcement that no ingredients went into the food we are about to not eat and enjoy! Yes I’m being sarcastic and mean! His family is extremely calorie count conscious but sometimes I’m not sure if it’s for health benefits or simply about keeping appearances. For fun at a recent gathering, I started counting slowly in my head FOUR…THREE…TWO…ONE…and BINGO!...on cue, someone declared what new food groups they were currently avoiding. Wishing I could avoid dinner, but unable to, I am instead pilfering for whatever food I can find and wolfing it down like a ravenous lunatic. While I search for a dish, the others are dishing about what meals they recently tasted and probably did not finish at a fabulous new restaurant. Usually this entails a most animated description of a sparse meal or something served raw, adorned with a single sprig of chive, on an oversized white plate. Umm sounds simply d e l i c o u s! My stomach continues to gurgle as they continue to talk among themselves.

In contrast dinner with my family involves someone welcoming us at the door with a food stained apron, and the house exploding with mouthwatering comforting aromas. My mother has begun her usual coaxing and badgering battle with my husband about why he won’t sample the entries, have any chicken soup or have seconds of everything! Also heard are the sounds of gulping, slurping, and burping all performed at once and with relative ease and theatrics. It’s my family’s version of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, only here we call it “Chomping Together, Harmful Digestion”. When dessert is offered my husband can be heard once again refusing staunchly my mother’s spiel for a cup of hot tea and homemade warm compote. The poor guy doesn’t stand a chance against my family and their obsession with food, eating it and sharing it above all else.

It’s at this point when I feel completely full! Full of awareness about how different my husband and I are in relation to our upbringing with food and how these experiences have shaped our personalities and who we are today. For instance I tend to be more accommodating and overly eager to make our guests feel at home and doing so with food is what I do best. My husband on the other hand believes that if someone is thirsty they can help themselves to a drink from our fridge. In my parent’s home that would be unheard of, a sacrilege! Back at my parent’s place and my mother is already following us to the door holding out a package of leftovers she insists we take home sparing me from cooking for a few days. Double kisses on the cheek are exchanged and we finally make it out albeit quite satiated. Food binds a family and people together, as it should. It should be a pleasing unpretentious experience leaving you with no bitter aftertaste or craving something more afterwards.


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