Friday, November 26, 2010

It's all about food...except when it's all about other food.

For most of us, yesterday had a singular focus—food—preparing it, eating a whole bunch of it, discreetly spitting an accidentally-eaten giblet into our napkin, packing it up, wiping bits of it off the counter and taking it home for later. During the other 364 non-Thanksgiving days, most people occupy themselves with other interests and pursuits.

Here's the thing, however: My family discusses food incessantly. Not just on Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter or birthdays, but every single day, several times per day. Here's an example:

Fifteen-year-old Daughter, on cell phone: Hey Dad, can you come pick me up from basketball what's for dinner?

Me: Okay. I'll be there in ten minutes cheese quesadillas.

Yesterday, we drove to Auburn to have Thanksgiving dinner at my wife's mom's house. She makes a fantastic, traditional Turkey Day spread, and since Auburn is about forty-five minutes away, that was forty-three minutes for us to spend talking about food. The other two minutes were devoted to deciding how loud to play the radio. We'd barely driven five hundred yards, when the first culinary salvo was fired.

Ten-year-old daughter: Do you think grandma will have shrimp with cocktail sauce?

Me: Yes. She always does.

Ten-year-old daughter: What if she doesn't?

Me: I don't know, but I'd say that chances are greater than eighty percent that she will.

Ten-year-old daughter: Dad, I don't care about percentages. I just need to know if she's having shrimp with cocktail sauce, because I've eaten very, very little today.

Fifteen-year-old daughter: Dad, I don't ask for much (Buzzer which symbolizes gross untruth should sound here). I just ask for shrimp and cocktail sauce on Thanksgiving Day. Don't deny me that simple pleasure.

By the time we had arrived at Grandma's house, each kid had a glazed facial expression representing a singular desire. If Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and a platter of shrimp with cocktail sauce sat in the living room together, my daughters would have screamed, jumped up and down and hugged the prawns.

As my wife joined her mother in the kitchen to help with dinner, I sat and observed my two young lionesses. They sat on the couch, still wearing their coats, and attacked the appetizers.

Me: You guys, save some for the rest of us.

Ten-year-old daughter: How many?

Me: I don't know. A few.

Ten-year-old daughter: What, like two or three?

Me: No. More than that.

Ten-year-old daughter: How many?

It was futile; I was merely talking to the tops of their heads as they bowed to their plates. Time for a different tack.

Me: You guys, finish what's on your plate and stop. Otherwise, I won't share the turkey neck with you.

Fifteen-year-old daughter: Ewwww!

Ten-year-old daughter: Ewwww! Turkeys don't have necks.

Me: Of course they do. What do you think holds their heads to their bodies?

I'd already lost them. Again, all I could see were my children's light and dark brown head crowns. Their plates resembled miniature shrimp Jonestowns, tails strewn about in smears of cocktail sauce. The paper plates had already begun decomposing in their hands as my older daughter wiped her mouth and finally looked at me.

"That was so good when's dinner?"

No comments :

Post a Comment