To “spill the beans,” the context of the saying has to do with elections and voting. But it is always referring to information not yet revealed. To learn of this or to “spill the beans” meant to reveal information that is not known which may cause harm. It actually refers to a Greek method of voting.
I remember having these late dinners at my aunts and they were usually on school nights. My aunt had three sons of her own, so she always had to cook meals for them. Of course when her two nephews, my brother and I, were over, we would have taco’s, pinto beans, and Spanish rice. My Aunty makes taco’s that are different than my mom and my grandma’s. They’re both good; it’s just that my aunties were associated with a fun night talking up a storm. Her three sons were still older than my brother than I, so we looked up to them and were always excited to be at my aunty’s house. I remember those late night dinners because we always stayed at the table to talk.
I had an instructor tell me one time that if the person you were talking about is not present, then that is gossip. My other cousins had more life experience by then, so they had more interesting things to say and I never spoke. I just would listen, very intrigued because I was young and sometimes I got to hear conversations where assumptions made the story more interesting. A lie? Sometimes. Good stories to tell at the dinner table? Probably, I don’t know because we were only entertaining ourselves.
Food author MFK Fisher of How To Cook A Wolf shares something that was said to her: “Never ruin a good story by sticking to the truth.” I agree with that because that story needs to be amusing for the dinner table. I miss those times when my cousins and I were all young and all had to go to grade school in the morning, and those late taco nights were the highlight of the week in our busy schedule. So gossip is sometimes false information but it is also the stories we tell to amuse the people at the table. So all with good intentions.
I see how this matters now that I am no longer a child at the table. I am now the adult and that doubled edged sword can cut you at the dinner table. So easy for me to forget all the rules that distinguish you from a child. Talking loud, making up ambiguous stories, eating way too many tacos than necessary, and enjoying the company of all my family. Bending the truth at the dinner table, not such a bad thing.
I remember those late nights at Aunty Rachael’s house with Calvin, Clinton, and Joseph (Hush). My brother and I were still in elementary school, and my cousins had to be in middle school, even high school. I remember even back then I knew and everybody else around me knew that I didn’t like cheese. My auntie made a special batch of tacos that were not touched with cheese. I remember how even though people left the table there was still a conversation in motion. I remember feeling young but in the presences of young adults. I remember overhearing conversations that made no sense. I felt like a camcorder documenting long exploited rumors. I soon realized that this knowledge could be not true, or maybe it was true and it just didn’t happen yet. Whatever it was, I just tried to keep my mouth shut because I didn’t want to be the one who spilled the beans.