Monday, November 10, 2008
Meat always comes first
Eating disorders run in my family.
My father has one. My mother has one.
Thank goodness they're not the same disorder, or my sisters and I would be screwed by that dominant weird eating gene.
I first recognized my father's eating disorder at a young age: He puts only one item on his plate at a time.
My three sisters and I would gather around the table for a nice meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn and marvel at how my father would fill his plate with one item and finish it before starting another.
The meat always came first. He'd gobble it down, and then plop down a large spoonful of mashed potatoes. The vegetables always followed.
Intermingling of foods was an abomination.
I never asked him why, but I'm sure my mom has had this conversation with him before. Here's how it plays out in my head:
Dad: "You can't mix the corn with the meat."
Mom: "Why not? They all get mixed together in your stomach anyway."
Dad: "But I don't have tastebuds in my stomach."
I don't really consider my father's eating disorder a life-threatening dilemma.
My mother's eating disorder, on the other hand, may get her into trouble. It rears its ugly head during dessert after a holiday dinner. She'll serve up a piece of pie or cake or (insert the specialty sweet here) and reclaim her seat at the table.
But before she eats, she grabs a piece of meat -- ham, turkey, meatloaf, nothing is sacred really -- to eat with it. She claims she can't eat dessert without meat. (Is anyone thinking of a Pink Floyd song right now? How can you have any pudding if you can't eat your meat?) She blames her Dutch heritage. My sisters and I say the Dutch would disown her if they knew she blamed them for such peculiar behavior(especially since she's only 0.00009 percent Dutch.)
I don't doubt, however, that the eating disorders with which my parents are afflicted are hereditary.
I've been told my paternal grandfather used to compartmentalize his food like my dad does.
And holidays with my mom's side of the family is like watching an episode of Fear Factor. No dessert is safe from the unholy union with meat.
And people wonder why I'm obsessive-compulsive.
With the season fast approaching, I've begun preparing myself for the quirks in family holiday dinners. Luckily, my parents, sisters and extended family are comfortable enough to laugh at our own oddities and the poking fun is done on an equal opportunity basis. So, it's actually kind of fun.
Tell me about your holiday dinners.