Friday, November 24, 2006

It’s great to be a grown up

We sit in the restaurant facing each other waiting for dinner to arrive, sweet and sour prawns for me [translation = shrimp] and some kind of noodle mess for her.
“So how’s the food going with him?” she as, referring to my son, the picky eater.
“Oh very well. He’s up to six fruits now.”
“Wow, I’m impressed.”
“Yes he eats grapes, apple, banana, strawberries, blueberries and pineapple every meal time along with 6 wieners.”
“Hey, a real American then!”
“What does he have for his other meals?”
“What other meals?”
“Other than dinner.”
“Oh no you misunderstand, he has that for every meal and every snack.” She blinks and smoothes her napkin over her lap.
“Doesn’t he get sick of eating the same thing all the time?” I consider this carefully, as it’s so difficult to tell, when he is so loathe to eat anything at all apart from goldfish.
“I don’t think so, I think he just feels safer knowing that I’m not going to scare him with something new.” She looks at me but says nothing as dinner arrives.
“You’re hungry! I don’t think I’ve ever seen you order so much? You usually take half of it home anyway.”
“Oh no, this is for now but the second order I’ll take home with me.”
“You’ll eat half of this one and take the other one home?”
“Yes, that way I’ll have the other half for lunch and the other one can be divided into two for another two meals. It’s very economical with these huge helpings.” I dowse my plate with soy sauce. I wonder if they’ll refill it for us?
“What happened to the ‘my body is a temple’ approach?”
“That was just convenient because I was in an avocado phase.”
“So that would make the 'spicy chili tofu' weeks, when that was all you ate, the equivalent of ‘lets party’ phase?”
“If you like.” I scrape the last of the chili sauce out of the jar and smear it over my food. We would pick the table with half full condiments! I look around for a server in the hope of refills.
“Is this going to be a long phase like the tofu, or a short phase like the avocados?”
“How should I know?”
“Have you ever examined your relationship with food?”
“Don’t give me that psychobabble talk, I don’t have a relationship with food I just eat it.” She twirls a revolting, flaccid, anemic noodle on her fork, enough to make the average person vomit.
“All I’m saying is, if you think of all the things that you don’t eat, or rather don’t like, it is odd.” I become defensive.
“Listen here oh American person, when was the last time you ate marmite, curry hot enough to blow your socks off, vinegar sour enough to remove a layer of skin from the roof of your mouth or snails for that matter?” She shivers. I relent as it’s always unfair to mention snails to Americans, very underhand.
“Have you always been like this or is it recent?”
“Don’t try and psycho-analyse me,” I bark and think. “I think it has something to do with boarding school. They had the same menu every week. Three days of just about edible food, skip Thursday due to slime quotient, skip Saturday due to the grit in the spinach, always fish on Friday apart from every fourth Friday for fasting.”
“They made you fast?”
“Of course, though they didn’t really make you.”
“What happened if you didn’t fast?”
“Er, ever lasting hell and damnation I think, too risky to chance it.”
“Well I’m glad we’ve got that all cleared up. Why did they make you fast?”
“I can’t remember. Something to do with the starving millions and cleansing your soul.”
“And you were how old then?”
“Oh I was all grown up then, at least eleven.” She spears something slithery onto her fork without mercy.
“So, you’re going to have the same dinner for the next three nights?”
“Oh no, you misunderstand, they’ll make lunch tomorrow, dinner tomorrow and lunch the next day.”
“What about dinner the next day?”
“Oh I’ll just get another double take out [translation = take away] to cover the next four meals.”
“You’re not going to eat them for breakfast are you?”
I scoff, “of course not, what do you take me for, I never eat breakfast it’s against my religion.” She twiddles with her wedding ring and I realize that I’ve forgotten to put mine on.
“Does he like sweet and sour shrimp as much as you?”
“Oh he’s working late for the foreseeable future so I can just eat whatever I want, no-one else to consider.”
“So let me see if I’ve got this right, you are going to be eating sweet and sour shrimp for the next week?”
“Hmm yes, I suppose so. Perhaps I’m short on something?”
“I don’t think a deficiency of MSG is recognized in the medical field.”

1 comment:

Kim Stagliano said...

Good God that's funny! Boarding school food? I recall "hockey pucks" (hideous mystery meat in puck shapes with bits of pepper) and "air" a dessert of multiple chemicals, artificial color and air, whipped into a frothy splat on the dish. We lived on white rolls and cake. And that was in AMERICA! Thanks for the laugh.