After I finished my lunch (leftover poutine), I swooped on the Princess’s plate, and ate the remainders of her lunch: basmati rice cooked with a sprinkling of cumin, and lemon-flavoured yogurt. It was nice. I cast on eye on the Golden Boy’s plate to see if there was any leftover ham, so I could eat that too, but he had finished it. Never mind, I had had some of the ham when I was preparing his lunch, a ham sandwich.
I can remember asking my mother to stop eating leftovers in my brother’s plate. “But it will go to waaaaste” she would say. “So?” I would reply, “Is your stomach a trash can?”
But I have the same horror of wasting food, and I am greedy too, I love food and cooking and eating food, and going to restaurants and ordering food and eating more food. So I will eat the leftovers. They are too small to be worth refrigerating, too tasty to be composted with indifference. I have tried to counteract leftover-eating by giving a tiny portion to myself, or even waiting for when they are done, but it doesn’t work. I am hungry, I want my own portion on my own plate. No matter how much I adjust their portions, there will always be a mess of something left on their plate, which I will eat after finishing my own. It tastes delicious: food mushed up with guilt and child spit, the best flavourings in the world.
I have seen other women do this too, surreptitiously reaching over to their child’s plate and scooping off the remains in their own busy hungry maws. Good thing we are always so damn busy all the time, otherwise we would probably eat you, too.