It was a holiday and we were invited to lunch at the home of friends. Surprisingly, mommy was busy in the kitchen cooking. “What are you doing?” I asked. “You forgot we are going out to lunch?” With a brief glance in my direction my mother continued assembling the dish of Macaroni Pie to put in to the oven along with the dish of chicken that benefitted from overnight marinating.
I shook my head and walked off muttering to myself, “Mommy really like to give herself work.” Little did I know of the wisdom of her actions. Returning home from lunch the same afternoon and vowing that we could not eat another morsel, our bellies so full, Mommy laughed knowingly as we walked into the kitchen a few hours later in search of food. We were hungry.
Recently I was at a luncheon. It was a public event and it was crowded. There was no set order of going up to the lone serving station to get one’s meal. Some people at my table started to get agitated as the line grew longer and the clock inched its way to the 2 o’clock hour. Me? I was as calm as ever. One of my dining companions turned to me and asked if I was not hungry, I smiled and explained to her, “My mother always told me to cook my food and eat before I come to things like these.” My friend laughed knowingly.
Mommy’s advice about going out to eat at other people’s homes (friends or relatives), functions etc. was straightforward, here’s what she advised.
If you are going to the home of friends, understand that the food might be served late so eat a little something before you leave home so that if the food is served much later, you are not so hungry that you will overeat or pile way too much food than you can eat on to your plate. Remember your manners! This advice was also given to take care of a scenario where the food served might not be to your liking in terms of what is being served, or taste, this way, you can politely have a little of it to show your appreciation. Be content in the pleasure of knowing that you have your cooked food at home.
This same advice was given if going to functions and occasions such as weddings, birthdays or anniversary celebrations. She said that one should always cater that the food might run short (with an unexpected number of people turning up), or, certain components of the meal finishing by the time you get around to being served. And of course, there is the inevitable queuing up in a long line for food (as was the case recently). The bottom line is to prepare yourself; do not get upset. Hungry people get easily upset.
Mommy would make an exception to this rule if we knew the home at which we would be dining, especially if it was family. Here’s why. With family, even if you arrive and they are not done cooking, there is always the opportunity to find something to nibble on, because, in a way, you’re at home. Secondly, because family “know” one another, one knows what to expect, therefore they would always be way more food than you actually want or need. Finally, you know they are going to pack you up with food to take home so you most likely would not need to cook at home before going to visit them.
I have experienced all the scenarios my mother warned of – food running out at weddings, birthdays, and other celebrations, empty meat stations, rice and salad only stations, food being served hours later and yes, that long line in which sometimes you have to wait for dining plates! However, if I keep following my mother’s advice about these situations, I can always remain calm – I have my food at home, or, it is a good thing I ate before I left home.
These days (at least here in Barbados) it is a very common and popular practice to dine out at restaurants for Sunday lunch. It is nice not to have to cook on Sundays and have someone else do all the work, the only drawback is that you leave the restaurant thinking that you are so full that you can’t eat for the rest of the week, but a few hours later, you’re hungry. In cases like these, I always recommend making a one-pot dish the day before such as Cook-up Rice or Pelau, that way when 6 0’clock comes around and you feel the nibbles, you have something to eat.
A lot of things have changed with parenting these days so I don’t know if this kind of advice is still given, but there is value here, and some things never change.