Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The No-Thank-You Helping

My father was a picky eater. This is amazing considering he was the tenth child in a family of eleven and nine of his older siblings were boys.

My mother ate everything and apparently determined early on that, while she would accommodate my father, her children would not be picky eaters. As soon as her oldest child could eat "grown-up" food she instituted the no-thank-you helping.

When dinner was being served my mother would offer each child whatever was being served. For example, "Would you like some peas?". If the child answered in the affirmative, mom would put a serving of peas on his or her plate.

If you said "No, thank you.", you received a no-thank-you helping. This was a spoonful of the food you had declined. All four of us understood that we were expected to finish the no-thank-you helping.

Apparently it worked. All four children grew up eating just about every food served.

Oh, except for liver and onions.

My father stayed with us for a few months when he was almost 90-years old. I could understand my mother's long-ago frustration as I watched my father pick out every single pea from his mixed vegetables. When grandchildren asked why Grandpa didn't have to eat all his vegetables the only answer we could think of was "When you are as old as Grandpa you can eat whatever you want."

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