Exactly one year ago, I wrote – albeit indirectly – about mashed potatoes (Humbled). That post was really about learning from animals to be a better human, and the mashed potatoes were an example of Excess.
But here I am again, using Mashed Potatoes in another metaphor. A metaphor for one of my favorite subjects: Being unashamed of what you like.
On Sunday, my husband and I went out to Sunday dinner. We have done this a couple of times now – had a traditional Sunday Dinner in the middle of the day, like both of our families used to do when we were kids. Not that either of us actually went out to a restaurant for Sunday Dinner – that was something rich people did – but our mothers would put on a nice roast after church, and we’d all stay in our good clothes and eat off the good dishes.
So it feels pretty sweet and nostalgic to have a nice meal on a Sunday afternoon.
This Sunday though, we were busy and it was getting a little late, so instead of a fancier restaurant, we chose one of those big Chinese buffets. Because you can start to eat within 17 seconds of entering.
I have written numerous times that you should be unashamed of what you like, whether it is romance novels or coloring books or fuzzy dice for your car or “Say Yes To The Dress.” You like what you like. That’s okay. That’s more than okay. It’s what makes you YOU. And you are just fine.
So here’s the first part of being unashamed of what you like. Why do I feel the need to explain away our choice of the Chinese buffet?
Because it is not classy enough for classy me? Classy me who likes poetry and opera but also potato chips and YouTube videos with makeup gurus? And… yes, “Say Yes To The Dress.”
A couple of years ago, I said something about the Chinese buffet (I cannot fathom the reason now) to a young man I know and love, and this 14-year-old kind of sneered at me and declared, “Well, if you like that I guess you don’t like REAL Chinese food.”
And I was taken aback. For a moment, I was a bit embarrassed. And ashamed. Fortunately, I recovered quickly by remembering that this kid was fourteen. I leaned over to him and whispered in his ear: “I guess I may NOT like real Chinese food. And I also guess that you might be a little snob.”
And it was his turn to be taken aback.
But you know, his words did get to me a little. They must have, as I rationalize why we went out this Sunday to the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet. Saying we went because we could get our food quickly. Not because we like it. But guess what? We LIKE it. We don’t do it often because of the calorie count, not because it is beneath us. So when we go, it is a TREAT. We don’t just like it. We LOVE it.
Gee, that feels kind of good to say.
And here’s the second part of being unashamed of what you like.
As I wandered over (okay, trotted really quickly) to the copious food laid out for our gluttony (and speaking of gluttony, they had a sign on the door stating they had a three-hour limit), I noticed a woman sitting by herself.
This is not unusual… lots of folks appear to be sitting by themselves, because one person always watches the purses and coats while the others are loading up. What was unusual is what she had on her plate: A HEAPING PILE OF MASHED POTATOES. And just mashed potatoes. Nothing else. Just the potatoes.
And for a second, the inner me was fourteen years old, and I kind of sneered. That this woman would go to a Chinese buffet and eat MASHED POTATOES. How dumb.
But fortunately, I recovered quickly.
For heaven’s sake, if she likes mashed potatoes, she likes mashed potatoes. GOOD FOR HER!
Maybe her friends wanted to go to this place, and she just wanted to be with them. GOOD FOR HER!
Maybe she is allergic to Chinese food, but she wanted to please her kids. GOOD FOR HER!
Maybe someone else took the mashed potatoes but decided not to eat them and she didn’t want good food to go to waste. GOOD FOR HER!
This Chinese Buffet makes the BEST mashed potatoes in the whole world –
And I was the one who was missing out!
The next time I go there, I am going to try the damn mashed potatoes.