Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Clean Plate Club

Yesterday I went out to lunch because I had a headache, my peanut butter sandwich didn't appeal and I wanted a break. What I ordered was good (a turkey-dill omelet) but not quite to my liking--there was something sweet in it although I never discovered what it was.

But being raised to eat everything on my plate, I ate it all. And told the waitress it was good. Why? Because I've been a lifelong member of The Clean Plate Club. I am betting there are quite a few members of the same club who read this blog.

Rules for membership in this not-so-exclusive club are simple. You were born sometime between 1945 and 1970; your parents or grandparents remember the Great Wars and/or the Great Depression. You were one of the babies born to replace the men killed in the war (thus the Baby Boom generation). Your family ate dinner at a specified time, together, every day.

You probably had some dinner rules similar to those that governed our evening meal:

1. Children should be seen and not heard
2. Children should not speak unless spoken to
3. Children should eat everything on their plate!

And with that last rule was born the Clean Plate Club.

To this day I follow Rule #3. I feel uncomfortable when I scrape something off my plate into the trash (starving children in China rise up before my eyes), and I feel guiltily wasteful (do I think money grows on trees?) and like I've been inconsiderate of someone's feelings (someone slaved over a hot stove to prepare that food).

Are there any members of the Club out there? Raise your hands!

13 comments:

Virginia said...

So happy to see you commenting at BlogHer, Granny Sue!

I'm of that generation all right, but sometimes I'm not willing to eat something that's just awful. I ate at a Mexican food place this week. Big ol' chicken burrito that I divided into two meals: one for there, one for home. But the greasy sopaipilla (or the honey I squeezed into it) was just plain nasty. Some things are just too much to expect a person to eat.

WendyTheWanderer said...

I avoid this problem by always having a dog at my side. He's a service dog and goes wherever I do. Zeke is a great pre-wash system and scrap cleaner-upper :-)

ELLOUISESTORY said...

Ah, yes. I know the Clean Plate Club - my parents were also Depression Parents - and I was taught by Catholic nuns. Lasting lessons - Loved your post - shows how those early dos and don'ts hang on. Ellouise

Janet, said...

My parents always told me that there were starving kids in India that would give anything to have my food. But of course, the chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits were so good on Sunday that we always ate it and the pinto beans, cornbread and fried potatoes the rest of the week were also good.

Anonymous said...

Nope, not me! I am to picky to be on the Clean Plate Club. I never realized how picky I am until I started saying what I didn't like...amazing how long the list gets. So, I guess I could start a new club...the Cat's Meow Club...since our cat is picky also!
tm

Juli said...

Goodness ! Besides being born in the 60's we didn't have any of that. but we did go hungry now and then and ate like pigs when we did have food. Well, except for me, I was terribly picky and did go hungy a lot because of it.

Now we do usually eat everything but what we leave is never wasted. If we eat out we always ask for doggy bags and take everything. If it's not something we would eat then it either gets composted or goes to the animals.

Tracey said...

Count me in!

Nance said...

oh yes! here I am; one of those "plate cleaners. My folks, too, came through the Great Depression. And taught their children to clean up their plates.

Deborah Wilson said...

Count me in too. My parents didn't go through the depression but my grandparents did. We always had to clean our plates or at least give it an earnest try. Now, I still do it - I just don't pile it on the way my grandmothers and Mom did.

Bubbasgotgas said...

I fall out of the age group but I was required to eat everything on my plate. I still do except when I eat out and they put 4 servings of rice and beans on the plate. How is it I order one meal and have at least two.

can-can said...

If you saw my hips you'd know that I'm a member of the clean plate club. I also was not heart but learned to eavesdrop by keeping my head in a book.
I learned to do my chores quickly and then get from underfoot or else my mother would come up with a chore like cleaning all the "what-nots" on the shelf.

earth heart said...

My hand is raised, too. I remember hearing rule #1 quite often. That's just how it was and we didn't even think of leaving food on our plates for the same reasons: starving children and money not growing on trees.

PriscillaHowe said...

Yup. For some of us, it's also a function of being part of a big family. I've been training myself out of the club, but I do take doggy bags often.

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