Greed is good.
Or; food, glorious food. Or; please sir, can I have some more. Or even – surely you’ve heard your mum repeat this to you at some stage in your life when you wanted to grab more cakes and sweets from the kitchen while she was watching – your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
It was Oliver Stone’s character Gordon Gekko who uttered those first words to excuse his penchant for outmaneuvering as many men and women as possible, even putting some out of business, just so he could make more billions for himself.
That idiom or wise saying that you must have heard your mom repeat to you to help you curb your greed for more food is as old as the hills. Now, whether the food was healthy or not, we, as kids, took full advantage of our grandparents, just so that we could eat as much as we could and also amuse ourselves as well. Let’s start with the amusement. Kids, don’t ever repeat this at home.
My grandfather, let’s be honest, made a magnificent but very strong pot of percolated coffee. It was the one night of the week that we, as young kids, were allowed to have a cup of coffee with a saucer to go with it. For the rest of the week, back home, a glass of milk after our tea or supper would have to do. During the day, it would be a glass of juice, never soda.
And if we were thirsty at other times of the day, our mother would say that there’s plenty of water in the tap. But back to the cup and saucer and to our grandfather’s hilarious habit. Our mothers and fathers, most of you will agree, have taught us well in regard to good manners around the table. In fact, in cases of our religion, this is essential etiquette and required custom. But never mind grandpa.
At the traditional head of his table, he’d wait solemnly for grandma to pour the coffee for all of us. And when that was done, he would openly remark to her just how piping hot the coffee was. Doing this next thing was to excuse the effectiveness in cooling the very hot coffee a little bit quicker, never mind actually waiting for it to cool. Grandpa began to pour the contents of his coffee into the saucer.
And from thereon he would noisily slurp the lot, saucer by saucer, to our great amusement. I took advantage of grandma’s firm nod in the direction of my mom or dad whenever they reprimanded me for trying my luck at scooping still more food onto my already busy plate. She would say to her children in turn;
Leave Cara be. She is a growing girl.
Stunning, I thought. Not on, my mother would glare back at me. My father’s eyes were spewing great balls of fire but I was too far gone in my bliss of consuming more of my grandmother’s wonderfully prepared home-cooked and traditional dishes. I guess I was also quite lucky because I enjoyed most of the healthy vegetables and properly prepared meat cuts anyway. Other girls my age sometimes had to be force fed.
Oh, food, glorious food. The song and the plea came from the musical dramatization of Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist.
Have I told you lately that I love you?
That song comes from the Irish folksinger, Van Morrison. I don’t know his music well at all but this is the one