Why My Plate is Clean

“Do you have Chinese blood or something?”

A co-worker asked me when we were eating lunch in the canteen.

I wondered where did that question come from. I don’t have small ‘Asian’ eyes nor the skin complexion of the eastern asian race. I’m brown with medium tantalizing  eyes.

“Your plate looks like it has been licked by a dog. “

She sure was giving attention to my way of eating. She explained I must have had those habits presumpting I came from a Chinese family.

Just googled “clean plate” and found this picture amusing. (from rlnaquin.com)

I wanted to tell her the history why I eat every single bit of food leaving only the bones (licked and meat-free to its core). To not feel really weird on narrating my life history to someone I don’t really feel close, I settled with a brief answer.

“No ma’am. I just eat this way.” I answered her, smiling.

In my mind, thoughts raced from the very reason why my plate is clean. It was because of Father. He is a farmer. In my childhood, I have lived seeing how every single kernel of corn and grain of rice is painstakingly made.

My father was a strict disciplinarian. However, formal eating manners like using spoon and forks, washing hands, sitting properly, and making less noise as possible were not on his list. He had just one. EAT WHAT IS SERVED.

Whether you like the food or not, you must eat what’s on the table. It can range from your most hated vegetable or the way the dish was cooked. (They don’t offer us something really exotic or poisonous by the way). You just have to eat or DIE in hunger.

Military style. I liked that. You see, I am grateful for it because now, I almost eat everything else. That means, I can thrive anywhere, at any household. I wont be tagged as the ‘choosy spoiled brat kid whose will is the command.’

He had also this one addition to eating what is served rule: CONSUME WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE. He did not went knocking on our conscience narrating how other kids in some parts of the world do not have food and how lucky we are that we have this. That’s more of mother’s cliches.

Instead, he settled with the argument that food is scarce, and that it is a blessing. (That sounds pretty much the same point but he does not go through the cliche above). This much applies when we are invited in an occasion, say a buffet dinner, we are only to put food we can consume. He adds “Leaving a little bit of food wont make you look more classy. Don’t follow those socialites always leaving a piece of food on your plate. They don’t know real food.”

I don’t really know why some people don’t eat down to the last grain of food. I guess they have there own reasons; whatever that could be, I respect them. They’re lucky they did not have the same father as I have. Or probably not.