“Girl doesn’t eat”

When I first started speaking at the late little age of around 2, I spoke a mix of English and Toisan at the same time. Everyone spoke to me in both, but my grandma, my dad’s mother, only knew Toisan, so that’s the language we spoke together. One of the first things she said about me as I was growing was, in Toisan, “That girl doesn’t eat!” I don’t really speak Toisan anymore since she died in 1995, but I can understand basic everyday conversation, and sadly, this is one phrase I can still hear ringing in my head in her voice as though she were standing in front of me yelling it. When I was young, I rarely finished my plate or bowl of food. I was the kid who picked at the food and always said I wasn’t hungry or was full. They used to force feed me because they thought I was too skinny.

My dad loves to remind me this, and I always hate it. He loves to say that I still don’t have much of an appetite, and he especially loves commenting when I’m about half way done with a meal when out, and asks if I will be at the restaurant until midnight to finish my food. In my family, no food should go to waste. There shouldn’t even be half a bite of food on your plate when you are done because then you are just a spoiled child who doesn’t even know what it’s like to go hungry through a night or not have enough dinner to eat. The irony here is that my parents tend to always over buy and cook too much food, so a lot in the end gets thrown out by them. I suppose this is the classic situation of, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

I thought about this because this situation’s already happened twice during this trip, and if it happened once more, I probably would have ended up snapping at him. No one should be eating the full portions you get in these Westernized restaurants, and if you are eating it all, it very likely isn’t that good for you. He doesn’t get that, though.

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