National Geographic is one of my favorite inspirational sources. Each photograph is a piece of art to me. They are technically beautiful, and also evoke an emotion instantly. Not to mention generally exotic, unusual and anthropological subject matter!
Last month's issue was about food. Ho hum. I decided when I saw the cover that I was going to be bored. Until I came across a photograph of a small child at a table drinking from a bowl. Whoa! I was immediately transported to my own childhood, where drinking the cereal milk after downing a bowl of Quisp was the next best thing to Christmas! It has been probably four decades since I've had Quisp (or Frankenberry) and at least that long since I've had a good slog of cereal milk.
It got me wondering....when was the last time I drank from a bowl? Or ate out of a pan? Or licked a plate? Well the last time I licked a plate was at a restaurant when I was twelve. My parents had taken us out for dinner (it might have been to The Brown Derby - if you're from Cleveland, you'll remember it) which was a rare and magical event. To top it off, they let my sister and me order dessert. Sugary frosting covered fancy cake on a piece of china which wouldn't last a day in our house. It was the most delicious piece of cake I had ever eaten, made even tastier by the dim lighting and cloth napkins and aura of sophistication surrounding us. The problem was, I ate too fast, and it was gone lickety split.
You could see my brain turning, wanting to make sure the last bit of glucose-laden heaven wasn't rinsed off in the back kitchen after we left. I waited, and waited until both of my parents were looking away. And then I picked that plate up and licked it clean like a dog, setting it down quietly before either one of them turned back my way. My tongue was still savoring that last bit of nirvana when I noticed my sister staring straight at me. Uh oh. I hadn't counted on her seeing me do that, and pleaded with my eyes for her to keep my secret. She did, but held it like a super blackmail card for months, wielding her power like only a younger sister with the one-up on you could.
So I probably won't go back to my plate-licking, cereal-drinking ways, but you can be sure the next time my teenage son decides to eat a slice with his hands right off the fancy cake stand, I will look the other way.
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