Each culture has their own unique traditions when it comes to showing appreciation for a tasty meal. In America, we leave a tip. In Japan, you can show your appreciation by buying your sushi chef a beer. In Spain, I’ve heard that it’s not uncommon to burp or fart as an act of gratitude for a wonderful meal.
My youngest son has decided to show his appreciation for my cooking in a way that I could never have imagined.
This past Sunday morning, I got up with Garrett. I changed his diaper (washed my hands afterwards) and together we decided to make breakfast for everyone before they woke up. With Garrett’s help, we decided to make blueberry muffins. I grabbed the muffin mix from the pantry along with some oil, milk, and eggs. (Garrett especially liked touching the eggs. He would rub the top of each egg and then laugh hysterically.) Together, we mixed the batter, poured it into the muffin pan, and then placed them in the oven.
Eight and a half minutes later, Justin emerged from his room with “I smell muffins!!” I decided to have some fun with him. “No, Justin…there are no muffins here. I don’t know what you are talking about.”
He looked on the counter – no muffins. He looked on the table – no muffins. He looked on the stove – no muffins. Perplexed, but confident, he stood his ground. “I smell muffins, daddy!” I smiled and opened the stove to show him that they were still baking.
Patiently, he and Garrett waited until the muffins were out of the oven and cooled down. I placed two on Justin’s plate and one on Garrett’s. I gave Justin his plate and he was pleased. I took Garrett’s plate and sat at the table. I decided to tear his apart for him and hand it to him piece by piece.
This is when I witnessed Garrett’s version of “appreciation.” Garrett took the first piece of muffin and put it up to his mouth. He did not eat it. It was a half sniff/brush-against-the-lips. Bravely, he popped the muffin into his mouth. I saw him smile and say “mmmmm.” And then, after a little chewing, he pulled the piece of muffin out of his mouth, threw it on the ground, and stepped on it with his heel (like he was smashing glass at a Jewish wedding.)
I proceeded to hand him three more pieces. And, three more times, he placed them in his mouth – chewed them – pulled the remnants out of his mouth – tossed them on the floor – and, then stomped on them with the heel of his foot.
I’m not sure if I should take it as a bizarre sign of gratitude or an act of gastronomic defiance. I keep wondering, “What would Bourdain do in this situation? I know his agent. Maybe I’ll call him!”