Well, it finally happened. I got invited to a student’s home for supper.
The house was beautiful. The food was incredible. And I ate more than I could possibly have imagined.
I arrived with the other three invited teachers quite hungry after a full day of teaching art, plus teaching my new after-school yoga class (it’s in its second week. So far so good).
We were invited to sit down and eat almost immediately. My colleague told the mother that I was a vegetarian, to which she replied, no problem, we have plenty of chicken (it’s common here to refer to meat as red meat, whereas chicken and fish fall into a different category. Also, if meat is given to me as a guest in someone’s home, especially in a foreign country, I tend to eat it). The older sister piled a huge amount of diwalie (stuffed grape leaves, served hot) onto my plate, and passed it to the mom, who added two large spoonfuls of rice with chicken, a bunch of tabouli, a big piece of pita bread, and a large blob of baba ganoush.
A few minutes later, one of the sons brought out yogurt and I thought why not, and added a couple of tablespoons to my plate.
The first mistake I made was finishing nearly all of the food on my plate; apparently this signaled that I wanted more. Thus, round two ensued. I did my best to finish, and just about at my limit, I resisted the last few bites. The food was incredible, and I was stuffed. Whew. I made it.
Not so fast. We cleared the table and congregated in the living room. Mom brought out fresh cake and hot tea with mint leaves floating inside. I managed to find some more room in my already-full stomach. Ok. Definitely through now.
Just kidding. Mom brought out a huge plate of fresh fruit and insisted–insisted!–that I eat a strawberry. Fine.
I knew we must be finished now. Mom offered us coffee, and I said yes because the food coma consuming my mind and body was threatening to put me to sleep then and there.
Coffee was served. I was feeling more awake, but still so full. Uh-oh. Mom forgot to serve the huge platter of fresh baked bread with cheese inside. Just one, she begged. Just one. Ok. Ok.
The food adventure reached its conclusion, and I’m home now. If you need anything, I’ll be here, quietly digesting this meal for the next three days.