September 22nd, 2007 by admin
My stepfather was my mom’s liberator, he was a minister in waiting. My transition from humble foods to fancy foods was a mixed blessing of sorts. I remember the first time we went to a fancy place to eat. I never smelled so many different foods in my life. It made me very happy and excited to be in such a place, there were people everywhere.
As I looked on in wonderment, I began to feel the sadness, “Why are all these people cross with my mom and me?” I thought. We did not even know them, yet they look at us in a scowl as though we were dirty or committed a crime”. My mom could feel their medicine; I felt it and was saddened even more.
My belly was with no regard for my thoughts though. I just kept my mind busy with excitement for a meal like those around me. We sat in a table with many utensils on it. “Wow”, I thought as I looked at their designs. The book of food they brought was also a wonder; I never saw such a variety of victuals in my life.
When the plate of food arrived, I was curious as to why they put a cream on my vegetables. I loved them as they were, sweet and tangy and full of life. If I did not like its flavor I would not have asked for it in the first place, and this cream was so sharp my mouth would have a convulsion of sorts with funny pains at the corner of my jaw.
My stepfather was always angry it seemed, he scolded me for eating like an animal, but I only tasted this cream and made a funny face. I looked for some fry bread, tortilla or any other familiar foods, and only found this sweet white bread on the table. It was like candy or cake to me, but it was not bad, even this tart cream on my vegetables was not so bad after I got used to it. But it took a while though, holay. Never could figure out why people wanted to mask the taste of vegetables in the first place.
At first this cream had a smell similar to vomit to me. It had an after taste like wise, it was called salad dressing. My mother was eating it so I did the same. I was not to sure of this sweet bread either, but I took a hand full and started to place the vegetables on it when I was severely reprimanded for my actions. The noise of step dad’s words echoed throughout the restaurant.
People began to stare at me with the most hateful expressions. I was being called a pig and an animal, “Why?” I wondered fore it was they that had many plates of food in front of them not I. My mom was sad but said nothing, she did not have to. I felt as though I had disgraced her and my step dad somehow. So I tried to correct my actions even though I did not know what I did. After all this was my first time in a place like this.
I ate as much of this sweet bread as I could, there was plenty. It was like candy, just so sweet and soft. Then this man came to us and took our dishes, in return he gave each one of us a gigantic plate filled with fancy meat and more vegetables. The meat was still singing its death song when it arrived, it crackled and popped. It was enormous and it smelled good.
With excitement and glee I tore off a piece of this massive chunk of meat and placed it into my sweet bread and began to enjoy it’s flavor when my step dad struck me on my head, forcing me to loose control of my food, dropping it onto the table. I was ridiculed in the eyes of all who ate at this place. Was there a right way and a wrong way to eat?
I was made to feel quite sad and ashamed. The people at this place were happy at the sight of me being reprimanded. They pointed to me telling their kids how bad I was, and would call me names. I did not want to eat with people that did not like me so I drifted within my thoughts and ignored them. I could not understand what I did that was so wrong. But this was just one of many changes I had to endure as I came to learn the ways of this new culture I was in. For us suppertime was a time of joy and smiles not a time of anger.
It was queer for these people to poke humor at my action. They showed disrespect and waste and would only take a few bites of their food leaving it to be tossed in the trash when they were through. I was not going to waste this food, so I placed it all in my jacket pocket for later on.
People looked in horror as I did this, but I did not care now. Someone commented to my step dad and I was beaten for this terrible thing I did, he emptied out a pocket and I was made to feel ashamed. But I truly did not know why.
Anyway, I did have the last laugh. When we got home I was punished for misbehaving and sent to my room by my stepfather. In his anger he did not empty all my pockets at the restaurant. I still had this fancy meat tucked away in my jacket pocket. I ate with such delight in private and there was no one around to stare at me either, I just wished I had some of that fancy sweet bread for my Indian butter.
Assimilation was definitely a challenge for me as a child. What was once a time of joy and happiness (suppertime) turned into a challenge as I tried in vane to eat and act others in this strange new world. Little did I know the challenges of assimilation had only begun and my life would be changed forever. Innocence lost you could say and sadly anger filled the void.
Recently I ate at a place called Châteaux Marmot in Hollywood California at a business meeting. I ordered salmon and it was good there was no question. But holay, they sure were skimpy with their servings though. Maybe I’ll sneak in a Tupperware container full of beans and fry bread next time I eat there. At least I’ll get a full meal without the need to rush to Carl’s JR just to finish filling my belly afterwards. Man, I was still hungry and them trans fatty acids tasted good too.
Ah, I’ll take the triglyceride burger please and a glass of cholesterol on the rocks eh.