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Friday, May 16, 2014

You Sure You Can't Eat One More?

Art-A-Whirl looms, my friends, Northeast Minneapolis's spring event luring artists of all artistic bents and abilities from the shadowy depths and into the light, where they are met by people with fat wallets in one hand and, more often than not, a beer in the other.

This is from 2012.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a layered taco dip to make...


I have wandered into the kitchen in search of food.

Some may insist, some of them in this very room!, that the more apt verb would not be "wandered", but“staggered”. These people have all been drinking, of course; and their words should be taken with a grain of salt until they sober up.

In our neck of the woods, wandering into the kitchen is perfectly normal behavior, particularly when the woods you are in are just outside Kathy’s house.

Kathy’s attitude is “mi casa es su casa”, which is Spanish, I believe, for “there's food on the counters”.

As you can imagine, we all firmly support Kathy in this attitude.

I have wandered in from the deck, where brisk political conversations are causing peals of laughter, in search of a paper plate and interesting foods to place upon it. In true Northeast Minneapolis form, even as late in the evening as it is, there is still food left.

And also true to form, many of the platters have but one piece remaining.

That big luscious cake with those obscenely juicy berries clustered on top? A lone piece remains.

The Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps? One left.

The taco dip (my one-trick pony party offering)? Enough, in a corner, for a good chip’s worth.

There is also one sloppy joe, one pickle.

In other words, there is enough left for me. I open another beer as I contemplate food that starts out as elaborately planned platters and ends as abstract art.

“What do you suppose this is all about?”

Diana hiccups gently. “It’s a phemonana —a phenolama – it’s an observable event.” Diana has a way with words. “Do you think it happens in other parts of the world?”

“What,” I say. “Like there is one piece of leftover fried chicken somewhere at a party in Kentucky? One fried grasshopper on a plate at a get-together somewhere in, um, one of the grasshopper-eating states?”

“Look around.” Hic! “Please note there’s never only one beer left.”

We both observe a moment of silence as we look around the kitchen. There is truth in her words, and by grinning, tacit agreement we clink our beer bottles and drink to our powers of observation.

And the question remains. What is it about that last piece? Did someone run their tongue along that last piece of cake in some sort of territorial claim that I wasn’t made privy to? If I eat that last chip full of taco dip, will someone come in from the porch yelling, “Hey! Who ate the last of the dip? I was saving that!” In a bowl that once held at least 100 of those Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps, what was offensive about that last one?

Why can't we finish that last piece?

20 comments:

vanilla said...

It is their "mama's manners." Mama taught us that it is unseemly, nay, piggy, to take the last piece.

the walking man said...

In large Michigan families people have been hacked, shot at and generally derided for taking the last serving of anything before the person next to them grabbed it. My favorite(if that is the correct adjective)happened about 30 Thanksgiving's ago when a father killed his adult son for eating the last turkey leg before his aged self could grab it first.

The rule is he who is still chewing while the others are putting on their coats to seek out another buffet--wins.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
could these be the sacrificial offerings to the gods and goddesses of the house? Those very same small gods who swear next morning to never host such a pig-swill shindig ever again... until the next time? YAM xx

joeh said...

Here in NJ, we will eat the last chicken, the last pig in a blanket, even the last clam, but no one ever eats the last shrimp.

We will flip a coin for the last Buffalo wing.

jenny_o said...

Vanilla said it - it's what we were taught, that it's greedy somehow to take the last piece. So no one takes it, and then it dries out, shrivels up, turns green/black/white and gets wasted. Manners are good, but I could cry over wasted good stuff.

Have an awesome Art-A-Whirl, Pearl! And how's that book o' recipes coming along? I'm thinking layered taco dip would be a mighty fine page in it.

Daisy said...

Around here, those last pieces of everything get wrapped up or boxed up and sent home with anyone they can be foisted upon. :-) Sounds like a fun get-together.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It's really funny, but I think that phenomenon must take place worldwide. Unless there's a teenager around. They don't give a good diddle about looking piggy. Now then, now that we've figured that one out, maybe you can tell me what drives some people to put a gallon-sized container back in the fridge with a teaspoon of liquid in it...

Elephant's Child said...

All of those people are being generous to Ron. Too many things get saved for 'ron here, and both he and Miss Manners are very, very wasteful.

Silliyak said...

From my years in firehouses, it was the last person has to clean the dish...

Suldog said...

I think there is a certain segment of society who won't eat the last thing and another (smaller) bunch who will. It depends upon how much guilt was instilled during our youth. From my own experiences - as one of one and boyfriend of the others - I know that Catholics and Jews are lost causes. We are riddled with guilt. Without knowing your own background, I'm going to guess much the same applies to the predominant religious groups (Lutherans?) around Minnesota.

I won't hazard a guess as to the religious/non-religious make-up of the group that cheerfully eats the last piece of everything. I know of their existence only because every so often I see that the last piece has, indeed, disappeared. Somebody did it; maybe a cat.

River said...

We have no such qualms about leaving the last piece in my family. We were encouraged to "eat up". Whoever reached it first got it. Saves all that wrapping and storing in the fridge for a week until garbage day.

Z said...

I'll take the last piece if there's still plenty left on other plates for the others. And later on I'll probably help clear up anyway, so will (reasonably neatly) put similar sorts of food together on one plate so I can wash up the rest of them.

I don't think it's rude to take the last piece, what I do think is rude is to pile your own plate high when there's a load of people waiting behind you and there might not be enough to go round unless everyone isn't greedy. I once was so busy that, by the time I came to eat, there was nothing left. A while later, I fainted from hunger. It was awkward.

Linda O'Connell said...

The remainders get sent home when the party's at our house, because I will nibble till it's gone. Now I want food.

Daisy said...

I was always taught to "be considerate of others" and not take the last piece. There might be a starving person crawling to the table on the other side. For many years I was a "good, considerate, girl". There's a joke about this but I can't remember it. Maybe that's best! :-)

Leenie B said...

Coming from a grasshopper eating state (not Utah, they eat crickets,) there is no problem with one remaining grasshopper. There are ALWAYS more.

Eva Gallant said...

Funny how we were taught "not to take the last one," and to "always clean out plate."

Drake Sigar said...

I never trust the last piece, in my mind it was almost certainly left there for a reason.

Drake Sigar said...

I just imagine someone taking a nice piece of cake, lots of cream, fruit, maybe a cherry on the top, and then they start rubbing their buttocks on there. I’m not eating that, there’s ass on that cake. It’s ass-cake.

Indigo Roth said...

Left over FOOD?! Man, what's that all about?

*tummy rumbles*

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I am one of those people who has no problem taking the last piece of anything