To Share or Not to Share?

My dad went to work and my mum was a housewife. I know it’s not particularly ‘P.C’ to say that these days, but I make no apology for my family. That’s just how it was from the time I was born until my dads untimely death in 1971. I guess we were the archetypal 50’s-60’s ‘nuclear’ family: two parents and four children. I would have breakfast in the mornings with my dad then, at lunchtime, I would walk all the way along Occupation road from the Boys School to our home in Thoroughsale Road where my mum would have a meal waiting on the table. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’d stay for school dinner. In the evenings we would all sit around the dining table as a family until, that is, I discovered that eating with my evening meal on my lap whilst watching Blue Peter was the way forward. To this day my brother Tom reminds me that I was spoiled in being the only one allowed this privilege. Either way, our meals were always served onto ones plate and that was that. Once served, regardless of what mum had prepared, one was expected to eat it all: to clear ones plate. John Lennon referred to this attitude to food in his song Nobody Told Me when he sang ‘They’re starving back in China so finish what you got’, which just about summed it up beautifully. Individual preferences were not catered for though I suspect that my dad may have been the exception. When it came to food the phrase ‘I don’t like that or this’ simply didn’t feature. That probably explains my eclectic taste in food today and why I still feel it necessary to clear every morsel from my plate. In short, it was bred into me from the beginning that one should simply eat what one is given and, as a result, be thankful for the privilege of a full stomach. I still feel uncomfortable when I’m presented with a row of terrines from which to serve oneself at the table or even at a buffet. One doesn’t wish to appear greedy by taking too much of this or that, especially when it comes to gravy. What if I drop or spill something? I love gravy, but when one considers that one has to share with others I find myself leaving myself a tad short on all foodstuffs for the sake of decorum and consequently unfulfilled: literally. Today eating habits have changed, in particular the more common acceptance of sharing ones food either at home or in a restaurant, though this practice leaves me feeling uncomfortable for reasons I still find difficult to explain. Perhaps it’s a throwback to the time when I was used to being presented with ‘my’ meal: exclusively mine. It may be possible that the amount of perfectly good food that is thrown away these days may have something to do with this gorging-sharing culture. Possibly.


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