Eat Your Chopped Liver

“I cannot be an optimist but I am a prisoner of hope.”
― Cornel West

With all the celebration happening and engagements to attend, eating a meal at home is not always the case. If I’m in Tucson I usually eat out, but now that I’m home, not working, I am cooking dinner at home more often. But as I was saying sometimes when you have things to do away from home and that means you are eating somewhere else. No big deal, but that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy the meal?

Go to one of your favorite restaurant and maybe the chef is not bringing his A game that night. Or you go to someone’s birthday party and the menu is nothing you like or want. I mean it happens once in awhile when the food may not be as tasteful. Maybe I’m just picky, but who am I to judge someone else’s cooking? I’m not a food critic but I could be.

It’s so easy to judge and state your opinion about something wrong with what is being served. How the flavors are not to my liking and I prefer it cooked different. Compare it to other enjoyable meals and say, “I like my Grandma’s better.” But there is a part of me that just wants to say, “just shut up and eat your food.”

Not always easy to bite your tongue especially when your expectations are set high and then your not as satisfied. Disappointed maybe because I been spoiled with good food from my grandma this whole time and in life you want to have good food always. And even though I have that option to state my disapproval or even state a compliment, I must also remember everyone else.

People who may not have that option to choose to like their meals, and then there are people who don’t even have a meal at all. People starving all over the world and I’m complaining because the noodles are too soggy and the beans need salt.

This reminds me off a time when we were growing up and our family was having some big picnic. It might have been for a holiday or some special occasion I can’t remember but I do recall that my mom was bringing a cake to the get-together.

The morning before we head out to the gathering, were getting ready of course running late. My Mom tells my brother and I to load up the car with whatever were bringing. We pack the car with the cake along other items for the picnic. So occupied on other things in the house we rush back inside.

At the time we were living in Sells and our neighbors had these dogs that always hung around the premises.  Rez dogs.

When we are actually ready to leave the house, we go outside and I hear my Mom screaming. I see all these dogs running away from my mom’s car in a rush. In a hurry not paying attention I’ve must have left the trunk door open and that was pretty much an open invitation for the neighbors’ dogs. They ate the entire cake.

There was probably a decent size slice left but my Mom was so mad that she just told me to throw it away. We leave our house without a cake and it was like we each held a piece of the blame. I don’t remember how old I was but it was a minor mistake that just started off the day wrong.

I really don’t remember how the picnic went. I’m pretty sure it went well. The reason why I bring up this moment is that even though our cake was demolished that didn’t necessarily mean our meal was ruined.

I guess what I’m saying is that a meal can be great because the tastes are satisfying and there is plenty to go around. But a meal can also be great only based off of who you’re sharing that meal with, family, friends, or a significant other. Taste is crucial but not always the case if you’re lucky enough to enjoy the company at the dinner table. The taste of the food matters, although so do the stories, the tales behind the food and how they came to be. Food and gossip are like best friends. Food for thought while I’m digesting.

Nobody had cake that day. Well the dogs did. But it didn’t ruin anything in the long run and it was definitely something we always talk about and bring up. I look back on that moment and think even though we didn’t have dessert that day, we still got full of off something. The story of the Rez dogs eating our carrot cake is a snack that I will carry forever.

We didn’t eat cake but the taste of that memory will always be delightful.

I mean that is why I wanted to share this story; it was because I still had a successful meal. It wasn’t ruined because I still had family there and their laughter made up for the sweetness. Not having cake was still important because we laughed about it at the table and that connection was still there. The mystery of the flavors is almost more satisfying than how it actually tasted.

From time to time taste can be secondary to what is important when it comes to food and what really matters is how close the food is bringing people together.

The food could be terrible but I’m still fortunate to have a meal and even more blessed to have people to share it with. The thing that is keeping me alive may not always taste good. But who defines good anyway?

I can already see my food critic career burning.

Be thankful that you get to eat because it might not always taste well; sounds like a good mantra to end on. Peace.

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