Sunday, 4 January 2009

Another twist on the social eating matter

So this is our last day at the SO's parents' place. The SO's mother is Panamanian. For her, cooking for us is a big part of how she shows her affection. My family is not like that, in spite of being Jewish, probably because my mom was a single mom for a while and just didn't have time to cook for us, and my stepfather isn't much of a cook anyway. Affection in our family is expressed in the time we spend together. Neither way is better or worse, per se. But the whole love/food dynamic can be a bit stressful for me.

Most of the time, what the SO's mother cooks includes sufficient options for me to get in a nicely Paleo/CR meal without drawing any attention to myself. I have the protein, like pork loin or lobster, and whatever veggies there are. There is usually salad, plus a nice cruciate, and on this visit, there has also been lots of sauerkraut (yum :) )! 

But then there are times like our upcoming farewell lunch. Shake and Bake. Yup. Bread crumb coated chicken. And it's particularly hard when his mom quite kindly points out that she is baking the chicken, and not pan frying it. It's just one of those crappy situations: do I shut up and eat the nasty preservative filled carbs on the chicken? Do I try to scrape them off? Do I just avoid the chicken altogether and risk offending a very nice and thoughtful lady? 

To be honest, in most situations I would just shut up and eat the chicken. It actually bothers the SO when he sees me do this--eat something I would normally never eat just to make sure I didn't make someone else feel uncomfortable. But like I said, normally I would do it anyway, because I really do appreciate the effort the SO's mom puts into cooking for me, and the sentiment behind the food, and also because I feel it is a question of respect.

But it's been two weeks now that I have been away from my kitchen, my usual foods, and I'm really starting to feel it. Not that I think I've gained weight, I just feel sluggish and gross, and when I saw the package of Shake and Bake this morning my first thought was just 'oh please no.' Shake and Bake is both nutritionally devoid and highly caloric. And maybe this sounds melodramatic, but I've hit my people pleasing limit. 

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. In a way, this is a tempest in a teapot and I know it. But on a macro level, would it really be such a big deal to just say no this time?

Update: Should have known--the wonderful SO stepped in without me mentioning it and told his mom to make some plain chicken for me. I'm a lucky girl :)

1 comment:

Dommi said...

Ohhhh boy... you just summed up the story of my life! Haha. My paternal grandparents are Italian immigrants and my grandmother has all of the qualities you described in your SO's Panamanian mother. Food is her way of showing that she cares about us... it's how she feels she takes on her role as nurturer. Her sentiment is incredibly sweet, but can often be overbearing. On holidays, she always overcooks (and I mean really overcooks) and very enthusiastically encourages everyone to scrape their plate and reach for seconds. As much as I love this side of my family, I just don't agree with these traditions. I'm so glad your SO stepped in for you... so sweet! He knows what's really important to you. I look forward to reading about how you deal with situations like this in the future... it's really supportive to know that someone else experiences this too.