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Remembering Dad: The Rice Salad Standoff

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Dad always sat at the head of the table with Maureen to his left and me to his right. I don’t remember everything we had for dinner that evening, but rice salad was part of the menu.

Dad had the bowl of it in his hand when Maureen spoke saying she didn’t want any. I added, "Me neither! It looks yucky!"

There were two quick plops of it, one on her plate and one on mine. Dad’s instructions were succinct: "Eat it."

Now there were certainly times and places to pick battles with Dad, and this was one of those times! Maureen and I could sit united in defiance of his instructions, and go on a partial hunger strike!

Then the worst possible thing happened: Maureen ate hers!

I was alone in fighting the high injustice of being forced to eat food that did not look good to me.

The rest of the family ate their dinner, and got up to go to the living room to watch The Beverly Hillbillies. Dad told me to stay at the table until I ate my rice salad.

I could hear them talking and laughing with nary a regard for some of my best pouting and sulking while I intentionally made some clanking sounds with my fork on the plate.

"Knock it off, and eat it," was the only response I got from Dad.

Maureen added, "Don’t be a baby. It’s pretty good."

I yelled back at her, "I AM NOT A BABY," as I burst into tears! It was bad enough when she sold out on me, but now she was adding insult to injury!

Neither Dad nor I relinquished our stands. A few shows later, Dad came out, took away my plate, and told me to go to bed.

It was a victory for me, although it was won at the high cost of missing some TV time with the family. Oh well, sometimes retaining such high principles comes at great cost.

Years later I would try Mom’s rice salad. Not only is it not that bad, it is actually really good!

Dad never brought it up when he would see me scoop several spoonfuls on my plate, but the grin he would have when I did let me know that he, too, remembered that rice salad standoff!

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