Tag Archives: dinner

Dining like a squirrel in prison

I think sometimes when I’m around other people I eat like a squirrel or an inmate. If I’m at a gathering, a party or a wedding or a cook-out for instance, and there’s a buffet where guests can “fix themselves a plate” (isn’t that the best expression?), I have a inclination to take mine off to a corner alone, if at all possible. Especially when the food is really good. I see squirrels do this all the time; they grab food and run away a bit, behaving as if someone – perhaps even the kindly person who might have given them the food – is going to take it back. I don’t know that I think somebody is going to take back my plate if I don’t keep a close eye, so much that, in part, I want to be one with my meal. I really don’t like it if I have to balance food on my lap or worse, stand somewhere – that takes away from my enjoyment.

It’s not that I can’t dine with a group of others around a table – eating & talking with an interesting companion is one of my favorite things in life – it’s that I know oftentimes I’ll be distracted and not give the food its due. I’ll look down and my plate will be empty and I won’t know where the food went or have appreciated it the same way (as if I partook like the squirrel in the corner). Pretty much the opposite of mindful eating.

I also occasionally catch myself “guarding” my plate when dining, arms flanking either side protectively. What is that?? Am I going to stick my fork into the hand of someone who looks like they might try to take a morsel off my plate?! Maybe it goes back to inherited DNA from primitive ancestors, who really would stick somebody who tried to mess with their meal. Or maybe it’s just from growing up in a large family where it was necessary to make sure you got your fair share of the vittles. Still, I want to be a nice member of society, so when I notice I’m doing it, I try to make an effort to bring my arms away from my plate and act like a civilized person who wouldn’t knock silly any hapless person getting too close to her food.

“FOOD for the family with young children” (1961 style)

Several years back, I found a couple old pamphlets while rummaging around a book sale. They amused me. It’s fun to look at outdated information to see how things used to be. This government publication from 1961 is one of my finds.

P_20140921_140519

Here we’re introduced to the Wright family.

Note the "jolly, lively youngsters"

Note the “jolly, lively youngsters”


Two adults get 1.5 lbs of fats & oils, and 2.5 lbs of sugars & sweets a week. Milk, cheese & ice cream none too shabby either. Hot diggity, 1961 here I come!

Two adults get 1.5 lbs of fats & oils, and 2.5 lbs of sugars & sweets a week. Milk, cheese & ice cream none too shabby either. Hot diggity, 1961 here I come!


Let's hit the grocery store and load up on pertaters and lard.

Let’s hit the grocery store and load up on pertaters and lard.


"Mrs. Wright, thank you so kindly for inviting me to supper. More mashed potatoes? Don't mind if I do! Say, what's for dessert?"

“Mrs. Wright, thank you so kindly for inviting me to supper. More mashed potatoes? Don’t mind if I do! Say, what’s for dessert tonight?”

A dating story from the ancient history vault

This story occurred many years ago when I was quite young, not even 20. I met him at a party in the group house I was moving into and he was vacating. He was cute and out-going (in retrospect the latter attribute may have been Budweiser-induced, but at the time, well…). We hit it off.

Later, some days after the party, he called at the last minute and asked me out. I cancelled another date in order to accept. Oh don’t worry – the gods punished me for this etiquette transgression. First and last time I ever did that.

When I saw him again, he didn’t seem quite so extroverted or entertaining as he had on the first meeting. Somber and humorless might actually be a more apt description. We went out to dinner, where, during the entrees, he volunteered how he’d wanted to become a priest but couldn’t because of his voracious
sex drive. Not knowing how to respond to this tidbit – remember, I was very young and it was a first date – I focused on my plate and attempted not to choke.

After dinner he took me to a sorority party at the local university. I was generally unfamiliar with sororities (still true) and perhaps had I been a little more knowledgeable, could have headed off the next derailment. As soon as we arrived, we were taken aside by one of the girls and asked to leave. Whaaa?? It turned out the theme was a “crush” party, meaning the sisters invited only guys. I don’t know if they necessarily needed to have an actual “crush” on the guy or if the idea was just to flood the house with men. Why my date didn’t know that bringing a woman with him might be frowned upon, I couldn’t say. I thought that being kicked out was pretty shabby (for one, it wasn’t like I was going to hit on the other invited guests), but my date found the demand reasonable. Not that I wanted to stay after getting that treatment, but I’d have appreciated a littttle indignation on his part or maybe, I dunno, an apology to me?

To top off this laugh-fest, we dropped by his new group home where a coupla listless bachelor housemates were lounging in front of the TV. He showed me his room. It was a monk’s cell. Twin bed and a cross on the wall. Little else. Between his professed sex drive (which I assure you I did NOT want to have heard about) and this spartan religious-themed abode, it was clear my date might just have a few unsorted ISSUES. To this day, I have no clue why he even wanted me to see the room. We were not clicking and he made no moves, so trust me, it wasn’t that.

The date ended with a whimper. We never went out again.