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Slow eater…

I have a thing that bugs me from time to time but annoys the hell out of other people: I eat way too slowly. And I mean snail-like slowly. Sometime in my childhood, my mom instilled into me the practice of chewing one bite up to 18 times. According to a study, that would be the best way to a healthy digestion. Somehow, I took this suggestion to heart and seemingly even extended this thought. This doesn’t mean that I eat more than other people, I just eat up to ten times slower than other people. Strangely, my sister must have passed on this one, because she is always the fastest to clear a plate of food and can finish a pizza in two bites. When I was young, me and my granddad were always the last to finish our meal. Considering that he only had two teeth left at that time, I think you get the picture of how slowly I really ate. When he died that left me and my Grandma to be the slowest. Within the realm of my family it didn’t even strike me that I had a “problem”. In boarding school I suddenly became aware of it when me and my friend were the last everyday to finish our meal out of a hundred of students. And when people finally shook their head over my eating habits, I realized that I was, what is out of the norm, a slow eater. Actually for me, this isn’t a problem and it only sometimes occurs to be one. Besides this “thing” I also like to save the best for last, which means I preserve my strawberries in my ice-cream sundae for the last bite or the cheese on my lasagne or my eggplants side-dish… You get the picture. This habit already led to a few quarrels with my boyfriend where he thought I was finished and ate my precious “reserves”. We straightened that one out quickly and now he only dares to pick at my food when I explicitly allow it. Oh my, that sounds like I am very bossy, which I am not…but considering that I need over half an hour for every meal, he is never sure how far along I am…

Yesterday this “thing” occurred again when me and my boyfriend were having dinner at my aunt’s and uncle’s house. I am always the last one to finish a meal there, so it didn’t come as a surprise that I was the last one yesterday either. It was only the scale of how much slower I was yesterday that made a new-time record. As a side dish, my aunt made huge dumplings. And I mean really huge. When she brought them in I already knew that this could be a problem. Besides the dumplings, there was so much other stuff. The plate was loaded and I already planned a strategy how to eat this while not looking pathetic. I decided to give up my chewing rule and really dig in. Half through the meal I thought that I held up brilliantly. But suddenly everybody was finished and me and my dumpling were left alone. The sad thing is, not even my uncle shows any hint of solidarity with me even if he is over 70. That is kind of embarrassing that I even eat slower than him…The last part of my meal I was alone with my plate while the others already held a conversation over my head and I think I still needed half an hour. The good thing is, I got out of the “having no prospect whatsoever for my future” talks and discussing the plans that I have after finishing my thesis. Still it bugs me that I am this slow. I am all for the promotion of “slow food” campaigns and everything, and now I think there should be more awareness campaigns on this subject… Besides, I ate way too much and still have a bloated stomach which doesn’t sound very inviting, but I think everybody has their experiences with aunts who mean way too well… Luckily, those visits only come around every other three months. I can take a little embarrassment once in a while 😉

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