Sunday, March 29, 2009
I've never thought much about it, but our lives here in the South revolve around food. Births, weddings and funerals, all the events of our lives are ushered about with a gift of food. And you're simply not a good hostess if you're not offering something (usually more than the guest wants) to eat.
Yesterday, I visited with my parents. "There's a bite of banana pudding up there," says my Dad. "Yes, I know, Daddy," I tell him. "I've been eyeing it for a while, why don't you eat it to save me the trouble?"
"Oh, I've made myself sick on that banana pudding," replies my Dad, whose diet and exercise plan has been TOO successful, leading in a boost to his metabolism that means now he really has to take in extra calories to keep on a healthy weight. "That little bite of pudding isn't gonna hurt you."
And in all honesty, it wasn't enough to hurt, and I finished off the banana pudding. Got a little potassium in there, and I really don't like bananas all that much, so for me, a little banana pudding here and there isn't a bad thing.
Then, this afternoon, I go to visit a friend and former neighbor. She's just made a lemon cake. She tells me that she has been craving lemon cake for a while, but it's not even cut yet, and I know the real reason. She's a lady in the true southern tradition, and she just can't be caught without something to offer a "guest." Even though we've both told each other often enough that now we're "family," so don't worry about all those little details.
She makes the offer. I tell her to go ahead and have a slice of her cake. Thanks, but I'm trying to cut back, so I don't think I'll have any this time.
About 30 minutes of chat pass.
"Ready for a slice of that cake, yet?" she asks.
It's a battle you're just not going to win here in the South. Leave with an empty stomach, or even one that's not full to overflowing, and you'll offend someone dear to you.
"Ah, I suppose a little piece won't hurt me," I said. What I ended up with was more than a "little" piece, but it sure was good.
What I've learned is that we just have to be prepared for these moments of southern hospitality and leave a little room in both our tummies and our dietary budgets. So far, this time around, I've been managing to do both.