“Beside myself”…that was Buzz Kill Terri’s (BKT – that is what we so affectionately called her) reaction to our eating itinerary at the WV State Fair.
It was lengthy: London broil sandwich to the crab cakes to the gyro to funnel cake to the strawberry shortcake (I am certainly leaving something out). We had a plan, a line of attack. We ate with purpose and gusto. I knew BKT was not right for my brother. But, now looking back, maybe she was right about one thing (and one thing only!), and that was our eating habits.
We Smiths…we do like to do ourselves in with food.
Consistent overeating is our way of life. We are eating enthusiasts. We have been known to leave one meal and immediately begin discussion on our next. As Geneen Roth presents in Women, Food, and God, we are permitters. We enjoy “glazy-dazy eating, uninterrupted by restriction.” Permitters “merge with chaos.” We are the “fat and jolly” Smiths, appearing to be having fun all the time, and we are, most of the time. Sometimes it might be a little bit of denial, some escape from our daily pressures. I have found myself eating half of a chocolate French silk pie when things are not going my way.
Roth describes permitters as those that eat as if there is not enough to go around. They want to store up for the winter. I am trying, now at midlife, to be some kind of a version of an athlete, and realizing how hard it is when you eat “like a Smith.” I have recently launched a discovery process into my outlook on food and life.
I eat fast and I used to take my plate of food away with me if I had to step away to answer the phone or grab a glass of milk. No way was I leaving it for those other eating maniacs to devour. You eat fast because those same maniacs might just take hold your plate when they are done with theirs. It was all about survival of the fittest.
Thanksgivings in Lewisburg: I have missed only one in my entire life. It is my favorite holiday without a doubt, a moment of joy just before the hectic Christmas frenzy that I have grown to dread more with every passing year.
Most people have not experienced a Thanksgiving like the one we have at Smithover! One year we had close to fifty people (my dad and all his siblings, their spouses, and my 15 first cousins, plus some “outsiders”). And we are all…male, female, big and small… BIG eaters! We all talk loud and none of us listen. Boyfriends or girlfriends often joined us, but there was always a whisper… “Do you think he’ll make it back next year?” “I don’t think she has the temperament for THIS crowd.” “Did you see his face when he walked in?” “Take a look at her plate…who diets around here?”
It was rare for an “outsider” to make it to a second Smithover Thanksgiving. The noise factor alone could run someone off, not to mention the huge amount of food consumption…the seconds and thirds…keep your hands in close and your plate even closer!
Tomorrow: For the Love of Music