There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. -Robert Half

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dinner Conversation 4: Eat to live or live to eat?

Like I've said before, Papa always makes me taste things. Even though I'm 23 years old and have tasted everything that he forces me to try. Whenever I tell him that I've tried something before, he always says: "Well, have you tried this one? Did you try it today? You might like it this time." I usually don't. Sure, I did like Granny's pickles, but I still don't like, among others: pork, cooked carrots, orange marmalade, or meatloaf. So far, we've had meatloaf three times during my stay in Owensville, and I ate it each time. Not because I like it, but because that is what was for dinner and I was hungry. Papa confuses these: hunger vs. liking. On our second meatloaf night, I finished my small portion and Papa said:
Papa: How do you like that meatloaf?
Julie: It was ok.
Papa: Do you want seconds?
Julie: I didn't like it that much.
Papa: But you ate it all.
Julie: That's because I was hungry. Not because I like it.

There's something about mushed up meat mixed with oatmeal and onions that just turns me off. Actually, it's the texture that gets my gag-reflex going. Whenever I talk about the texture of foods, Papa always says: "Oh the texture. I know what you mean. Terrible, terrible. I hope your food isn't touching either. That would be terrible. Terrible, terrible." I don't care. Mock me if you will. I'm a texture eater and there's nothing anyone can do about it. No matter how many times I try it, I will never really like:
-Especially wiggly things, i.e. Jello or fatty meats.
-Most meat textures, i.e. pretty much anything but chicken, turkey or fish.
-Cooked orange vegetables, i.e. sweet potatoes and carrots.
-Tapioca, rice pudding and regular pudding. Though I can handle regular pudding if it has something else mixed in, like Oreo cookies or graham crackers.
-Particularly mushy/soggy things, i.e. bread pudding and meatloaf.

I have found, however, that with a sufficient amount of ketchup (my favorite condiment), meatloaf is tolerable. Who am I kidding? Ketchup makes anything better. When I was in college, I used to base my meals around what I could eat with ketchup, which is another reason I used to eat grilled cheese for every meal. When I told Papa that I used to eat grilled cheese and steamed broccoli for every meal, he told me I must "eat to live." But, there he is wrong. I like grilled cheese and broccoli and if I had any other choice for dinner, I'd probably pick it anyway.

Meatloaf night is one of those nights where I tell Papa that I'm "eating to live," not "living to eat." Kind of like when Grammy makes him oatmeal for breakfast.

Toward the end of our meal each night, the topic of whether we eat to live or live to eat always comes up. Papa always says that he "eats to live," because he's old and only young people and skinny people are allowed to "live to eat." However, Papa's life seems to contradict his statement. Papa is a quite the planner and the moment we get up from the breakfast table he is already planning the next meal. I think dinner is probably the first thing he thinks about when he wakes up and the last thing he thinks about before he goes to bed. Whenever Grammy and I bake or when we have a particularly tasty dinner, Grammy always asks Papa: "Well, are you eating to live right now?" He just laughs. Grammy says that she does both, but Papa says you're not allowed to do both, you have to pick one. Thus, Grammy and I decided we must "live to eat" because people who bake don't "eat to live." Grammy said we'll know when she starts "eating to live" because she's just going to come home and eat a can of tuna for dinner.

On Easter, we had a brunch with friends at my parents' house and we made tons of Yukon Gold cinnamon rolls (aka the greatest cinnamon roll I've ever had. Think potato bread in a roll form filled with lots of butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Unhealthy? Yes, but totally worth the calories), orange rolls, egg casseroles and a honey-glazed ham. Since I tend to like anything that is covered in honey-glaze, Dad found me a "fat-free" piece of ham to try. Yes, I admit, it was okay as long as I didn't look at it, because I can find fat on any piece of meat. When Grammy and Papa showed up, one of the first things Papa asked me was if I tried the ham yet. Luckily, I could say that I had. Though I might have said that anyway because he didn't believe me until Dad came in and vouched for me. Papa loved the ham. And everything else, especially the potato cinnamon rolls. He kept asking me: "You made these?! You're going to make some more sometime, aren't you?" He's just lucky I "live to eat."

I think the closest we get to "eating to live" is our Wednesday night soup and sandwich meal. However, I just found out another reason we have Soup and Sandwich night every Wednesday: it is because Papa goes to Bland for lunch every Wednesday for the chicken and dumpling special and he's not very hungry when dinner time comes around. Therefore, our reasons for having Soup and Sandwich night on Wednesday nights stand as thus:
1) Because Papa needs more free time.
2) So Papa doesn't have to make a big meal by himself while Grammy and I are at Belles.
3) Because I love grilled cheese.
4) Because Papa goes to Bland and eats the chicken and dumpling special for lunch, even though he says it isn't very good and Grammy won't go because the dumplings are too mushy.

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