Monday, November 21, 2005

Eat up!

When I was growing up, there were two hardcore schools of plate thought, with subschools in each.

1. The Clean Plate Club
    A) That food cost money.
    B) There are starving children in Africa.
2. Never Eat Every Bite on Your Plate

    A) It's rude to the person who served the food, because it insinuates you weren't offered enough.
    B) It insinuates that your mother starves you at home.
My mother, always comfortable straddling issues, was a member of both camps. At home, we were expected to clean our plates, if possible. When invited out, we were expected to leave a bite or two on our plates, if possible. There was never any grief about it, but we knew well what was expected of us, and, generally, we delivered.

The exception for me was Mrs. Murray's grilled cheese sandwiches. Invited to play with her daughters, I couldn't resist savoring every last bite. When she offered seconds, I tossed my upbringing to the wind and readily accepted.

They were, and remain today, the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had in my life. I went to the Murray house many times, and Mrs. Murray always served us grilled cheeses. I never left so much as an

1. A small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed. Often used in the plural.
2. A scrap; a bit.
"ort." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 22 Nov. 2005.