Food seem to always be at the center of most of the things I have experienced in my life. It shocks me when I look back to my youth to a time when I had to be forced to eat. Upon my arrival in this country, food was probably the thing that I had the biggest aversion to.
At first I thought that I was not used to the kind food, but it wasn’t about the type of food, it was simply what I have come to understand now as homesickness.
I didn’t want to be here in this vast world called New York. I missed the coziness of aux cayes and our place in matissant. I wanted the comfort of plying with my friends, eating pistache griye after school, and eating wayale in the evenings. The summer of 1989, I was not impressed by no McDonalds, KFC or any 5 star restaurant, I couldn’t keep anything down. I wanted to be home.
Later upon my father seeing this, he got very upset. Haitian parents take everything as a personal offense. so not eating was me rejecting him and the home he had made for me. So in an attempt to end the “silliness” once and for all, I was ordered to eat breakfast every morning.
I tried, but most times I didn’t want to eat. On one of those mornings I decided not to eat, my dad came in from working nights, and caught me right before I headed to school. He asked me of course if I ate breakfast. I said of course I did, knowing well I did not.
My dad was never one to let anything go (a trait I seem to have acquired), so he went on to ask, what did I eat. I told him Cereal and Banana as he had instructed me to do. I was shaking inside, but even as a child I was bold. I always maintained my cool even when I was scared to death.
As my dad went on to grab the banana bunch from on top of the fridge, and inspected it, he went on to explain that when you grab a banana from the bunch, the area in which you just pulled off the banana would be lighter than the rest. Since it was black all around, he concluded that no banana had been removed recently.
He continued to ask me if I ate, but it was too late to turn back, so I kept saying yes. Then he asked the ultimate question. “Nadege where did you throw the banana peel”. I wasn’t as sharp or as quick as I am now.
Now I would have answered, “dad I read somewhere that the bulk of the calcium is concentrated in the skin, so I ate the whole banana, peel and all.” But I was not so savvy then, I simply said in the trash. As he headed towards the garbage can, I simply closed my eyes and said a prayer. I knew I was dead.
What events like that taught me was: if you are going to lie, lie well. Lie extremely well. Take yourself outside of the lie you plan on telling and look at it from every direction to ensure you cover all corners that one may choose to penetrate and be ready. Understanding all this, I am an extremely good lie, but ask anyone that knows me.
I rarely lie! Honest! The reason being is mainly because of the second lesson I learned that day and probably more important then the first lesson is: Lying really is not worth the aggravation.
If I had simply said, no I did not eat breakfast, that whole 20 minute ordeal would have lasted probably a minute. Third lesson is simple: breakfast indeed is the most important meal of the day, eat it and you can avoid so much headache.
Nadege Fleurimond is the owner & business manager of Fleurimond Catering, Inc., www.fgcatering.com, an off-premise catering firm serving the NY/NJ/CT/MA areas. For questions and comments you may write her at email@example.com. Please submit thoughts and questions pertaining to the column via email.