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Friday, June 05, 2009


Contributed by Annie Wright

*Note from Christin: Three years ago, my sister moved to New Zealand to work with Global Partners.  We poked and teased her that she would meet a man in New Zealand and fall in love - and she did.  On July 4th, she and Graeme Els will be married in Aukland, and we'll be there to help celebrate. * 

Two nights ago I enjoyed a nice meal of lamb-chops with mashed potatoes, green beans, squash and gravy.  Immediately following the meal my future mother-in-law began preparing for the following night's meal.  The aroma of which, I'm sorry to say, triggered my gag reflex.

But who am I to doubt her culinary skills?
Rewind a couple of days.  On the night of my arrival I was very gently and lovingly told that my presence in this household meant the absence of all things fish or seafood.  I was very grateful and made sure to thank my host for her accomodation of my appetite.
Fast forward.  The gag reflex was continually put to use yesterday as I made my way around the house, with the unknown ingredients simmering slowly in the crock-pot.  Attempting to be helpful, I stirred the contents to ensure that all would be well marinated, each time surpressing my desire to dispose of this concoction with its medicated meat smell.
What was this unusual smell?  I will call it "stew."
Finally, evening had arrived and with it an unfortunate dilemma.  The table was set and food was steaming, ready to be served and eaten.  Just as my future mother-in-law was heaping a hearty helping of "stew" onto my plate, I courageously asked for a smaller portion.  "I can only manage a little right now.  By the way, what is this that you have prepared?"
Then with three words I was silenced, thrown into sprialing darkness.
"Steak and Kidney..."
S   I   L   E   N   C   E
And here now was my dilemma:  Offend my future mother-in-law in one of two ways.  1. Eat the undesirable "stew" with the possibility of having it reappear on her dining room floor or 2. Eat everything around the "stew" but leave a significant amount of the main course on the plate.
"It's an English meal.  Phillip's favorite."
Again I wanted to vomit, not only was I dealing with the smell that was now penetrating my nose, stomach and gut, not only would I offend my future mother-in-law, but I had to face the horror of alienating myself from my favorite future father-in-law.
"I suppose I should have asked..."  Her words trailed off.  By this point the other three people at the table were face down guzzling the "stew" from their plates.
They ALL liked it.  Not one of them was completely disgusted by the "food."  Did they not know that the kidney is the organ that takes WASTE from BLOOD and turns it into urine?!?  
I was completely and utterly alone in my disgust.  Attempting one bite, the fork flung from my mouth, still loaded with food.
"It's hot."
Blink.  Blink.
M O R E   S I L E N C E
But the torture didn't end.  Because of my choice for dilemma option two, I was the first to be finished eating.  There sat my "stew" staring up at me devilishly.  Threatening to punch my gut if I even looked at the bare rice or peas sitting quietly across the table.  I was forced to stare in agony as the remaining four slopped up their fill greedily.
I fought hard the resentment I felt towards my future husband as he heaped a generous second helping onto his plate.  Knowing he would desire a good night kiss, kidney stained teeth and all. 
Didn't he see the agony I was in?!  Why wasn't he rescuing me?
Under his breath he said, "You alright?"
To which I could give him no words, just a very slight shake of the head.
Tears were sitting just behind the surface of my eyes waiting for anything to give.
Then, quietly, as quickly as my future mother-in-law had thrown me into this tail spin and agony, she gently reached out her hand toward my plate and said,
"Why don't you let me finish that for you, Annie?"
Humbly, I handed her my plate.
I vowed sliently to myself and later to Graeme that I would never be offended if he were to ask his mom to forever make him steak and kidney anything, because he would never receive such a meal from me.


Anonymous Sarah F said...

LOL - Clearly the gift of writing runs in your family. This story reminded me of how my mom always made rump roast for Sunday dinner, and once I learned what it actually was, I refused to touch it.

11:27 AM  

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