Category Archives: Meat & Potatoes

That’s Corny

It has been said that you can tell a lot about a person by how they eat an ear of corn. Who needs fancy-schmancy personality inventories or the opinion of some accredited guru to learn the depth and breadth of someone’s quirkiness? Just watch them eat. The proof’s in the puddin’—or in the corn, so to speak. All sorts of dining-related peculiarities surface once those steamy plates of golden-y yellow are set before a hungry crowd. And I’d daresay the oddities are stunningly similar to the ones exhibited when they’re NOT chowing down on anything—least of all, those sweet and succulent kernels of perfection.

Just for fun, I decided to test my theory by conducting a little research of my own—at the kitchen table, of course, where most of life’s important discoveries are made over Spaghetti-O’s, Kool-Aid and tuna casserole. So is it any wonder that such vital data would be best gathered there? Perhaps the only location or event better suited for said clinical study would be at a backyard barbecue or at a mid-summer’s family reunion; but then again, my clipboard and frenzied note-taking might frighten the subjects and skew the results. At our modest dinner table, the variables were controlled as much as humanly possible and the gathering of information was discreet in order to maintain the integrity of the analysis. Needless to say, names were changed to protect the eccentric.

There was the child with buttery elbows who nibbled and gnawed at the cob, slowly and methodically inspecting each and every row upon completion, ensuring that no kernel was left behind. Pun intended. She would then return, typewriter-style, to the left-hand extreme and repeat. She had a system, sound reasoning and a need for logic and order. Naturally, fastidiousness is nothing new to this particular individual. For a long time she got her jollies by stringing a 30-foot procession of plastic cups and saucers, pots and pans across the floor through the kitchen and into the dining room (arranged first by size, then by color). She did the same with Beanie Babies. And Matchbox cars. And books. And pillows. Finally, with animal crackers. So truthfully, it was no surprise to discover how she might tackle an ear of corn. No doubt, a future candidate for OCD.

My other smallish nibbler employed a completely different strategy for the task at hand. She picked and pecked at those plump little nuggets of corn like some deranged bird, striking randomly and fiercely with every pint-sized bite. No identifiable pattern ever emerged. At least none that I could see—except for the flecks of yellow sprinkled on the floor, perfectly outlining her chair. There appeared to be no method to her madness. No logic to her lunacy. Once again, the personality characteristics in question matched uncannily—she’s a veritable live wire, bouncing from one thing to the next, blessed with the attention span of a gnat. Of course her corn would be consumed with haphazard flair. The typewriter thing just wouldn’t fly. Not for this free spirit.

Captain Quirk (not disappointingly) earned his stripes yet again, proving to me (and soon, to many) that his weirdness is without limit. A nonconformist to the core, the man devours corn-on-the-cob in perhaps the most unorthodox manner in existence. He begins by gnawing kernels from left to right, pausing in the center of the cob only to return to the left end again. He rolls it precisely one-quarter turn and follows with the very same action, over and over until exactly one-half of the ear is consumed. He then does the unthinkable. He sets it down on his plate to eat (Gasp!) something else, returning to it later. A heinous crime in most states, I am certain.

I, personally, don’t surface for air until the job is finished, classic type-writer style. And I’d never dream of touching a hamburger or hotdog in the midst of a session with hot, buttery corn-on-the-cob. It’s absurd even to entertain such foolishness. Pass the potato salad? Make idle chit-chat? Fat chance. I’m in a zone.

Quirky? Nah, just passionate about my corn.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live (where napkins are entirely optional).

Copyright 2006 Melinda L. Wentzel



Filed under Captain Quirk, Daily Chaos, Meat & Potatoes, The Chicken Man, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction

Dining with Heathens (Continued)…

(Please recall, if you will, that my motley crew and I happened to be dining in a rather swank establishment, where I was appalled YET AGAIN by the uncouth nature of mealtime discussions). That said, shock value rules…

“Mom, Taylor needs you in the bathroom.”

“Whatdaya mean she needs me?”

“You know, Mom. She neeeeeeeeds you. Plus she said the toilet might overflow.”

Of course my mind played worst case scenario (as it does so capably), racing forward to the hideous spectacle we’d become should such a foul catastrophe actually occur. I pictured the crowd, agape and aghast, their satiny napkins clutched in horror, silverware and China clinking and clanking as patrons pushed and shoved to escape the river of repulsiveness snaking its way across the floor where we dined.

Fortunately, it wasn’t our day to be a spectacle. I mumbled a small prayer of thanks into the folds of my napkin upon my return from the restroom. Yet another crisis averted. But the boorish banter at the dinner table continued.

“Dad, Mom took us to see the coolest thing this morning before we got on the bus! It was a DEAD BIRD! A DEAD BABY BIRD! I wanted to touch it, but she wouldn’t let me so I just poked it with a piece of grass. I even blew it a kiss! I could see its little beak and grayish feathers and everything! It was SO cool! Jack tried to eat it, you know. Mom said he rolled around in it later—which is just plain gross. Why do dogs do that anyway?”

Of course, this handily surpassed another mealtime discussion we had had about dog poo in recent months. “Dad, Jack made a little sculpture with his poop today! I call it the Leaning Tower of Poop! I told my art teacher what he did and she laughed so hard she couldn’t breathe. It was SO funny! Mom should really take you to see it before it tips over. It’s like a real tower you know.”

Prior to that, the worm discourse had comfortably held the top spot. “Dad, I’m saving every little wormy I find outside,” one of my weirdish children announced with pride as she delved into a bowl of spaghetti. (Gag me!)

“They’re part of my special collection,” she added. “Just like my rocks (Lord, how could we forget her dear rocks?!). So I’ve started putting my wormies in a big bucket in the garage. It’s their worm bed, Dad.”

“And guess what,” her partner in weirdness chimed in. “One of those guys pooped in my hand and it was DIARRHEA! Ewwwww!”

Like I said, I’m often appalled by that which is deemed newsworthy at the dinner table. Indeed, shock value rules—now and forever.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

Comments Off on Dining with Heathens (Continued)…

Filed under Daily Chaos, Kid-Speak, Meat & Potatoes, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction

Dining with Heathens…

As a general rule, I am appalled by the uncouth nature of the discussions that waft over our dinner table each evening, filling our house with the familiar stench of gaucheness. Last Thursday was no exception. Mind you, my husband and I were dining at a rather swank establishment, living in abject fear that one or both of our heathens would say or do something that would mortify us beyond comprehension.

Not that we’d be surprised.

“Mom, these carrots taste like the inside of a shoe.” Oy! Thank God the waitress had already flitted back to her lair by the time that snippet of speech tumbled forth for the whole fricking world to hear. Out of earshot, as it were. Ostensibly, anyway. I surmised that Grandma and Grandpa, who were also present at said grand and glorious soiree, would then call into question what we had been teaching our dear charges for the past nine years, specifically with regard to table manners (or the lack thereof). But apparently, they remembered well what it was like to be embarrassed by a brood of tactless children—one of whom happened to be me.

“Honey, is that a nice thing to say?! How on earth would you know what the inside of a shoe tastes like anyway?” I scolded, swallowing a melon-sized chortle and glancing around to see if anyone had heard the carrot comment or, worse yet, had detected my shameful amusement with the whole affair.

“I licked Daddy’s shoe once and that’s EXACTLY what these carrots taste like,” she spat, unleashing her inner-food critic upon us all.

Needless to say, at this point in the discussion I fell silent—both stunned and disturbed by the information I had been supplied, as well as indescribably mortified by its implications. I mean, what do you say to a child who has admitted to having tasted a shoe?! Much less, the INSIDE of a shoe?!

I’ve got nothing for that. Zilch. Nada. No pat little responses exist in my repertoire of snappy parental comebacks for such an inane remark.

So we moved on—to the next set of things for which I was unprepared.

To be continued…

Planet Mom: It’s where I live.

Copyright 2010 Melinda L. Wentzel

Comments Off on Dining with Heathens…

Filed under Daily Chaos, Kid-Speak, Meat & Potatoes, We Put the Fun in Dysfunction