Last night I went to a friend’s house for a kind-of dinner party.
I had worried about this since I was first invited. It’s not a formal dinner or anything like that – just a dinner party consisting of me, two friends of mine, a friend of theirs I don’t know very well, and that friend’s mother.
I’m passed the point in my life where awkward silences in conversations bother me much – I was concerned because of the food aspect.
On the phone originally, the host had seemed reluctant to decide on the food to be served. Later conversations had suggested pie and chips – there’s not an awful lot to go wrong there. Even if its a pie containing something I don’t like, you just leave the odd ingredient – it would have been a store-bought pie and oven chips. Nobody is offended really, and nobody enjoys it too much. It’s a happy bland medium.
I arrived at the party with some things I was lending the host. This was probably my only saving grace the whole night.
I’d been there, not really making much in the way of conversation with anybody for a short while.
I haven’t really done anything in weeks. Not much to talk about (that’s why this blog hasn’t been updated in so long).
After a while, I casually asked somebody what food we were having tonight.
A slight panic set through me.
If truth be told – I’ve eaten lasagne before in my life, once. It was a Tesco “Finest” one a few years ago, that I’d resorted to when I’d ran out of most other foods. I’d ate about a third of what was probably a one-person’s dish to start with, and then gone to pudding. At the time, I don’t think I’d eaten properly in a day or so, and really it could have been anything and I’d have eaten a bit because I was hungry. That said, I still didn’t eat all of it – so I can’t have enjoyed it much.
Back to the current day, lasagne was served, I tried it – wasn’t really loving it.
To make this worse, the other guests complemented the host on his culinary skills, repeatedly, while I sat there planning what I was going to say when I was eventually found out.
If it had been just me and said host, this would have been a lot less embarrassing.
I picked through the lasagne, and ate the mince.
The host mentioned several times he wasn’t rating the mince in this particular lasagne, and it had been cheap at the butchers and he didn’t know why. Is that a get-out? The truth was, the mince was the only bit I was finding alright. I decided against that particular get-out.
Eventually after it had been mentioned how slowly I eat, and people had asked if I was “struggling” with the meal, I came clean and told aforementioned host that I didn’t really like lasagne.
He apologized a lot, which made me feel rubbish – as he’d done the whole thing from scratch.
I picked out some more mince and ate that, then moved my knife and fork to the 6.30 position.
Now, at this point of my life, I’d like to think I’ve seen everything on the internet, that is ever likely to gross me out. Anything that is going to make me feel uneasy has been done on The Word, Eurotrash, Wudja Cudja, or in close up prosthetic detail on Nip/Tuck. I was wrong.
No sooner had I relocated my knife and fork, talk started from the mother at the meal, of how I couldn’t “waste” that food.
It continued for a few minutes while I resisted the urge to sarcastically mention about starving children in Africa. I got that a lot while I was younger. “There are starving children in Africa, who’d kill for that you know”. My suggestion to post it to them was never met with much appreciation.
We rejoin the party, as the friend of a friend and his mother, agreed to portion up my leftovers on their own plates and eat it.
To coin an American phrase, “Ew”.
I’d eaten around, between, and throughout the remaining food. It’s not like eating half a burger from the other side as someone else, and leaving the “join” in the middle.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve eaten off other people’s plates before, shared spoons, etc. One night I helped out with a computer problem at a house filled with female uni students, and when a cute one (I’d consider her a long way out of my league) had offered me some apple crumble from her spoon, I’d gladly taken it.
That’s the difference. I’ve shared plates, spoons, etc.. with people I’d been sleeping with, or who wanted to sleep with. Not with friends. In the same way I wouldn’t keep their chewing gum warm in my own mouth, I wouldn’t eat off their plates.
There are some circumstances where the “fancying the original owner” rule needn’t necessarily apply. As mentioned before, if you were physically starving and needing nourishment – I’d forgive the above. If you were stranded on a desert island, and it was this or death – fair enough. This was not the case with either of the people fighting for my leftovers.
I sat incredibly uncomfortably as they finished my half-eaten dinner for me, just trying to keep my own down.
After those two had left the party, I mentioned this to the remaining guest at the party. To my surprise, he didn’t see a problem with it!
He went as far as to say he’d trust me not to have any sort of diseases that could be picked up via saliva. To try and force my point across, I said “well how do you know I don’t have any? How do *I* know I don’t have any?”. It’s pretty unlikely really. I’d have to come in contact with other people to pick up any of those diseases, and I’ve not had so much as a kiss in months.
I never thought I’d say it – but restaurants aren’t so bad. When I was the only one who didn’t have a starter at the office Christmas party, nobody really made a big deal out of it. Nobody was fighting for the small amount of rice I left after the main course. At least you get options, and if you don’t like it, you don’t see the chef personally.