Thursday, November 23, 2006

As Long As We're Talking Turkey...

Firstly, to all my blogging friends living in America, or American expats living elsewhere, I want to wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Canada is a step ahead of you, and so Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. Interestingly enough, though, I really don't know any Jewish Canadians who celebrate the day. Why is it a bigger deal in the U.S., for Jews and others?

In any case, I'm sure you'll fill up with chicken and turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and pecan pie and roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes and whatever else makes us your family's or friends' traditional Thanksgiving meal.

So, as long as we're talking about food...

It occurred to me the other day that I display certain habits when I eat certain foods. Not necessarily GOOD habits, mind you, but more like quirky ways to eat these foods. Let me illustrate.

I was eating shelled sunflower seeds -- not right out of the pack, but I put them in a small bowl, and proceeded to eat them like an anteater attacking his enemies, seeing how many I could stick on my tongue at once, my face in the bowl.

Of course, it was rather late at night, and nobody in the family was around to watch me. I don't imagine I would eat sunflower seeds this way with an audience.

I began to think of other foods I eat in particular -- read: PECULIAR -- ways.

Pizza. I love pizza, and the cheesier it is, the better! I will bite into a piece, then start wrapping the cheese 'round and 'round my finger. Again, not usually done in public.

Back when I was in junior high, I sometimes would go to a bakery near my school after school, or even during lunch hour. I'd buy an eclair. In those days, the eclairs were filled with whipped cream, not custard or just plain vanilla-type pudding. I would not, could not share my eclair. It was a special treat just for me, and when I'd get home I'd rip open the paper bag it was in, and use it like an underplate. I'd take one bite out of the yummy pastry, and then I'd start dipping my finger into the whipped cream -- over and over again -- until the cream was gone and just the flaky-dough dessert remained. Again, nobody could watch me eat like this. I was aware of how King Henry VIIIth I must've looked, being gluttonous and eating my pastry in an uncouth way.

As a kid, I'd often put Cheerios on each finger and eat them that way, one at a time.

And of course, I'd swish Jell-O type desserts in my mouth and then proceed to gargle, which angered my lovely, "yekke" mother.

I'd bite the ends off of licorice sticks and use the licorice as a straw.

And it was always a treat -- still is -- to get a beef bone with marrow in a bowl of soup. The soup would disappear quickly, and I'd gnaw on the bone and noisily suck up as much marrow as I could.

And yes, when I was young...and still very SKINNY...I used to take the ends of a challah loaf and sop up the sauce/gravy from veal roasts and roast beef that my mother would prepare, the sauce dripping onto fingers and chins and kitchen counters. Not a pretty sight!

I do know how to eat nicely, regardless of what you may think, based on the above information. Invite me for a meal and I'll prove it to you. Just don't give me chopsticks; I am still a shlemazel when it comes to using those, and simply can't.

Many of you may be saying "Ewww, what else does Pearl make a spectacle of when she eats?"

And I ask, "What food/drink items do YOU have a weird way of eating? Do you eat that way in public, or only in private?"


Anonymous said...

Hee hee- are you and my husband related?
The only weird thing I can say as far as my eating habits go is that I have to eat one thing at a time. Like, I can only eat one M&M at a time- no big handfuls in mouth. This may have something to do with a fear of choking to death- nice, hmm?
Also, I only like to eat one food at a time, like if I have 3 different things n my plate, there shall be no mixing of said 3 things. One. At. A. Time.
Oh, yes, I do it in public!

Rhea said...

I find it interesting that Jewish Canadians don't really to Thanksgiving up there. Here in Boston, I have friends who are ENGLISH and Jewish and they adore Thanksgiving. Kind of ironic, huh?

cruisin-mom said...

Pearl, you had me ROTFLMAO! I used to eat olives like you ate cheerios when I was a kid. I think the weirdest thing I do is eat an entire apple...core and all.

torontopearl said...

I was afraid that nobody would comment, that people would be embarrassed to reveal their eating idiosyncracies!

RCJ: The one at a time is interesting...almost anal, like little kids who don't like their peas touching their potatoes or their chicken. I'm guessing it's a carryover trait from childhood for you.

Rhea: Guess I shouldn't speak for everyone, but I personally know of no Jews, unless they're ex-Americans, in Toronto who celebrate Cdn. Thanksgiving.

CM: My daughter does the olive thing these days, and she's 9 years old. Can't say I've eaten an apple that way, though. But I did eat Kleenex as a kid--did you do that?

Neil said...

What is the story behind Canadian Thanksgiving? We have that story about the pilgrims, etc....

torontopearl said...

Neil, I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't even know the origins of the holiday, or for most people, "the long weekend." I just GOOGLED it -- here's a link to some explanation:

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

if you suck jello-like deserts through a straw they make cool scifi movie sound effects. :-)

Shira Salamone said...

I'm an expert at creating "ice cream soup." I just mash and stir the ice cream (real or parve) until it's an extremely thick liquid, rather than solid scoops. I do this in public, too, much to my husband's amusement.

torontopearl said...

Steg: thanks for the tip. If I'm ever called upon for making sci-fi sound effects for a movie, I'll say "Steg taught me!"

Shira: I like ice cream "soup" too!

pobody's nerfect. said...

i make licorice straws. i drink jello with a straw to make silly noises, and if it's thick enough jello you can fill the straw up then let the jello out to make worms. i blow bubbles in my milk. when i eat ice cream with little reeses cups in it (i think it's called moose tracks?) i spit out all the reeses so i can have em at the end. i eat the whole apple, minus the tiny stem and seeds. i peel grapes with my teeth before eating them. i pick out the good parts out of salads with my fingers. but not in public, only in front of friends and family. i'm sure there are more, but i cant remember.
and shira- my mom MICROWAVES her ice cream to get it soupy. MICROWAVES.

torontopearl said...

PN: Thanks for visiting; guess you typed your comment as I typed mine above yours!

You reminded me about the blowing bubbles in milk...something I also used to be guilty of. Yet, I reprimand my three children when they do the same. Talk about double standards...!

Microwaving ice cream? That's a new one. Guess she's trying to speed up the thawing process.

Ezzie said...


I'm actually pretty "normal". :) But I'm obsessed with not having crumbs, so I cup cookies in my hand, put the entire cookie in my mouth, and then start chewing. Actually, I think I eat a lot of things whole. That's bad, right?

Sharon from NY said...

Hi Pearl - We just got back from visiting my parents in Florida for Thanksgiving and I've been catching up on my blog reading. Shortly after my husband and I were married he expressed surprise that I was busily making plans for Thanksgiving. ( my hubby is a Torontonian and I am from the US - we live in the US). He asked me the same question you posed in your post. These are my reasons why we in the US celebrate the holiday so enthusiatically:
a)I come from a family of Rabbonim - Thanksgiving was the one "yom tov" that one could travel on - so we could all get together - not easily done otherwise! b) you can cook from the night before through the day!
c) the traditional foods are all kosher and side dishes with milchig ingredients are either easily made pareve or
d)no extra davening (OK, a lot more of a draw when I was an impatient kid) Anyway - for us, it was always, similar to Pesach, also a way to include in a warm, inviting family atmosphere (with plenty to eat)those who might not have a happy place to go and be with family. I also learned that it was a way of giving thanks for the fact that we lived in ( in my case born in) a country that was such a safe place to be Jewish. Just my two cents

torontopearl said...

Ezzie: Are you a "yekke"?

Sharon: I like your reasons!