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Don't Chew With Your Mouth Open


God bless dear old mom.  Growing up as a child, she really shaped - or tried to shape - my, and that of my brothers, table manners.  I say tried because it was difficult to convince three energetic boys to keep their elbows off the table, not to talk with their mouths full and not to chew with their mouths open.  We were also told to "eat everything off your plate - think of the poor starving children in Africa".  Of course, I always thought it would be a good idea to send my food to the children of Africa but I guess my mom couldn't afford the postage.  She also hated it when we liquified our jello.  This was a favourite.  We used to swish our jello around in our mouths till it turned to liquid and then gargle with it.  We thought it was hilarious.  My mother not so.  But it is something I've passed on to my children and my children's children.  It's like a time-honoured family tradition.

I came across a story last week that made me think of my mom and her efforts at turning me and my brothers into little gentlemen.  It seems a Japanese restaurant in Sydney Australia, Wafu,  has told it's patrons to eat everything on their plate (you hear that mom?) or don't come back.  I'm serious.  The owner, apparently, is sick and tired of all the food she has to throw away and she has posted a notice that if patrons don't clear their plates they can dine elsewhere next time.  Having grown up on peas and lima beans - which put me off eating vegetables for the rest of my born days (in fact as a kid I'd load up my mouth with all the veggies on my plate, sneak off to the bathroom and spit them into the toilet) - my favourite part of the notice has to be: "Please note that vegetables and salad on the side are NOT decorations; they are part of the meal too."  I swear to Buddha my mom came back to earth as a sushi chef in Australia!

Clean up that plate.  Think of the poor starving children in... 

Another story I saw last week didn't make me think of my mom but it made me wonder if one of the former patrons of Wafu had found another place to eat.  Seems some guy in Wellington New Zealand was kicked out of a funeral home.  Yep.  You see he'd been visiting several funeral homes not for the funeral but for the food.  Uh-huh, he didn't know any of the deceased but I guess he knew what he liked to eat and knew where he could get it for free.

I wonder if that New Zealand fella's heard about this! 

Funeral home staff noticed the man had a back pack in which he carried tupperware containers and he'd fill them when he thought no one was looking.  Before he was caught, the man had been attending up to four funerals a week.

This is the kinda guy that the restaurant in Sydney is looking for.  Somebody that's just dying to eat!  My mom would be proud of this guy.

This post first appeared at Sound Off To America

Comments

00dozo said…
"Think of the starving kids in Africa." With my grandmother, it was always China.

Gargling with jello?! Funny!
Canadian Blend said…
Like 00dozo's mother, mine always said China.

Reading about the liquefied jell-o made me gag... it must have been a lot harder on your mom.
nonamedufus said…
00dozo: Yeah those starving children move around. By the time I had kids I think they were in India.
nonamedufus said…
Cdn Blend: You know, come to think of it, it may have been my Dad who taught us how to do it. Somebody had to have shown us. We couldn't make that up on our own. No.
Scraps said…
Tip for restaurateurs: if the people are leaving food on the plate on a regular basis, serve less food! This isn't rocket science, folks, just don't over-portion. Don't serve a salad if no one is going to eat it, just serve the !@%*^ sushi.

So says the former chef. Grr.

I remember liquefying jell-o, too. Fun as a kid, not as tempting as an adult.
nonamedufus said…
Scraps: I think you've got an excellent point there. And liquified jello as an adult? How else do you think my grandson learned how to do it? It fills me with pride to pass this on to the future generation!
Don said…
Jeez!! Me and my little brother used to do the same thing with our Jello. I don't think we gargled but we did some serious swishing!
My mom used to chew food and talk at the same time. She never did take my advice and keep her rambling mouth closed while eating. It must have been something people did in the '30's because a lot of her old lady friends did the same thing.
Quirkyloon said…
My six year old is still at the blowing bubbles through a straw in his drink stage.

Thank goodness I don't make jello on a regular basis!

hee hee
nonamedufus said…
Don: My God. You mean the jello trick is known beyond the boundaries of Ontario?!

I remember my Dad taking me to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto when I was a kid. At lunch we sat a table way from an elderly (to me as a 7 year-old) couple eating egg salad sandwiches for lunch. How did I know? Because they chewed with their mouths open. Gross!
nonamedufus said…
Quirks: You remind me of the time my brother laughed while drinking his milk and it shot right out his nose! Funniest thing I ever saw!
Kelly said…
Yeah, my sisters and I did the Jello thing, too. And we'd smile while squishing mashed potatoes through our teeth. We call that one, "glitching." My kids think it's gross and not funny. I think they can't possibly be MY kids with that attitude.

Ok, when my dad was living on his boat (after the divorce) he used to crash weddings held at the nearby yacht club because they always had good food. He'd mingle with the guests, enjoying the food and open bar and if he was feeling daring, he'd dance with the bride whose name he got off the napkins and matchbooks. Other than the wait staff at the yacht club, nobody ever caught on.
Linda said…
Wow, your Mom had it rough. That whole gargling jello thing is gross.

With regard to the "eat everything on your plate", I agree with Scraps - just don't serve so much food. We don't need to eat that much.
nonamedufus said…
Kelly: That story about your Dad is hilarious. I'm sure I've seen something along these lines on TV, like Seinfeld or Two And-A-Half Men or something equally inane.
nonamedufus said…
Linda: Mom was tough. She had to be with Dad and 3 boys!

You know I've noticed recently that some restaurant's portions are immense. It's really hard to eat everything on my plate, and I haven't got a dog, so...
I never got the "starving children in [insert country name here]" thing myself when I was a kid, but many of my friends did. And when I asked how eating the food here was going to help starving kids there, nobody ever had an answer.

"Hey ma, give me another piece of pie. I want to help the starving kids!"

And thank you for mentioning one of my all-time favourite institutions: The CNE. You didn't happen to visit the 100 Year Old Ex back in the late '70s, did you? They brought back rides from the turn of the century, had "freak" shows, and did a whole period thing. One of the best ever.
nonamedufus said…
Frank: The CNE? No I think the last time I was at the CNE WAS at the turn of the century! Actually it was the late 50s. Apart from the open-mouthed egg salad eaters I remember a silhouette artist who cut out our profiles on black paper with scissors and the "Kittens" (I think that's what they were called) female models who posed without moving, looking like mannequins. For some reason my Dad loved them.
I guess I'm wondering how long that demanding restaurant owner will stay open. I mean, can a patron cheat and ask for a doggie bag? Would that still allow them to return?
nonamedufus said…
NGIP: I don't know. They don't serve dog. They're a Japanese restaurant not a Chinese restaurant. The owner sounds like a distant relative of the soup nazi: "No sushi for you, no sushi for you."
River said…
I remember trying to teach my kids table manners while their father was teaching them to flick peas off their forks. I gave up and we all flicked peas. What the heck, I had a vacuum cleaner...and it was much more fun to flick peas than to practise cutting bite sized bits instead of picking up and gnawing...
VetTech said…
I can't imagine paying good money for food and then getting bossed around by the owner. I mean... I bought and paid for my dinner...at that point it's none of her business if I eat it, toss it or juggle it.
nonamedufus said…
VetTech: If I recall the news item correctly the owner/chef was a "save the planet" kind of girl and didn't like the idea of her patrons wasting their food. In my dear mother's words, "I hope your eyes aren't bigger than your stomach!"
Jen said…
I really like this idea. I too am sick of the heaping portions that no one can possibly eat, maybe they will serve smaller portions. There must be a caveat to the veggies unless you are allowed to choose them. Putting lima beans or beets on someone's plate when they didn't ask for them, well, you can't expect anyone to eat those things.
nonamedufus said…
Jen: I'm with you. Especially when it comes to veggies!
I never got the "starving children in [insert country name here]" thing myself when I was a kid, but many of my friends did. And when I asked how eating the food here was going to help starving kids there, nobody ever had an answer.

"Hey ma, give me another piece of pie. I want to help the starving kids!"

And thank you for mentioning one of my all-time favourite institutions: The CNE. You didn't happen to visit the 100 Year Old Ex back in the late '70s, did you? They brought back rides from the turn of the century, had "freak" shows, and did a whole period thing. One of the best ever.
nonamedufus said…
Don: My God. You mean the jello trick is known beyond the boundaries of Ontario?!

I remember my Dad taking me to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto when I was a kid. At lunch we sat a table way from an elderly (to me as a 7 year-old) couple eating egg salad sandwiches for lunch. How did I know? Because they chewed with their mouths open. Gross!

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