Monday, April 19, 2010
I had to sing at an event recently. It was lovely. Afterward, there was lunch. I sat with a thin friend of mine and his children. The daughter saw something on her dad's plate and asked if she could have it. His answer was, "Eat with your stomach, not with your eyes."
For a moment, I was transported back to when I was a kid, and my dad said, “Get what you want, but eat what you get.” That sounds a whole lot different than what my friend said to his child. To me this sounded like permission to load up your plate as long as you could get it all down. I remember sitting at the table for what seemed like hours, because I didn’t want to eat the peas. I’d hide them in the napkin one by one until they were gone. But eventually I was found out and had to eat the cold peas in the napkin.
Growing up there was no attention paid to portion sizes, it was just spooned into the plate until it was gone. Every get-together provided an opportunity to eat – a lot. Nearly everyone in the family could cook … really cook … so we had to eat … really eat. If someone got married, there were meals for days. We all looked forward to the quarterly event at church where we’d get to eat everything we wanted and then go home and sleep it off. If there was a funeral, there’d be a repast for family and friends; graduation, lots of hotdogs and hamburgers; after church, hit the local all-you-can eat buffet and eat all you can.
The one small voice that I remember now as I’m writing this belongs to my grandmother, who always said, “eat to live, don’t leave to eat.” It has taken a while, but I now know what this means.