I think I feel Hungry.
The displaced Newfoundlander, experiencing his first Christmas alone, was only too pleased to accept the invitation to share Christmas dinner with the Italian family. It would save him from having to warm up the chicken steakette TV dinner, frost burning in his freezer, in order to celebrate Christmas.
The family of the widowed matriarch consisted of her three children, two complete with spouses, and one of those pairs carried her first grandchild in their arms. The woman’s own elderly mom watched over the event from her chair speaking only Italian. The Newfoundlander was glad to have been adopted into her home for that day. His mouth began to water as soon as he walked into the comfortable home and the aroma of the Christmas feast filled his nose.
The Newfoundlander knew that this meal would be different then the Christmas dinners he had celebrated for the last 24 years. Italians were known for their food and he was looking forward to the adventure to come. He took his place at the table when the feast was called, prepared to meet the challenge ahead. He was told beforehand there was no shame in not being to eat everything so not to feel bad if he couldn’t keep up. He was determined to see this through to the end.
A large picture of ice water was placed in the centre of the table, along with several bottles of Italian soda, flavours of which he had never heard before. A jug of orange juice was added along with two bottles of wine, one imported from Italy, the other homemade. No one would be going thirsty during this dinner, the Newfoundlander smiled and filled his glass with water. He figured he could eat more without be blown up with carbonation.
A large plate was place before him with the pasta dish, Cantaloni. The large noodle was rolled into a tube and filled with a meat sauce. There was two on his plate, very large, steaming with the hot tomato sauce and amazingly delicious. Normally this would make a full meal for the displaced Newfoundlander but it being Christmas it was joined by a platter of eggplant cooked with cheese, another platter of sliced tomato and stuffing, a dish with olives, pickles and other garnishings, and finally a large crusty roll with real butter. The Newfoundlander savoured every mouth watering bite as he filled his empty stomach and even accepted a second serving when his plate had been cleaned off. He had enjoyed the feast and felt quite satisfied. It hadn’t been so difficult to keep up with the others after all.
His host excused herself from the table and headed into the kitchen to bring out what the Newfoundlander assumed to be dessert. He was surprised when what she returned with was the dinner’s second course. A plate of sliced, roasted Christmas turkey was placed in the centre of the table. A dish of broccoli in cheese soon followed. Her trips continued to the kitchen and with each return she produced something new for the table, a large bowl of tossed salad, then a plate of cauliflower, a plate of Italian sausage, a dish of potato, carrot and pickles in a favourable mixture. Before returning to her seat she also added a large bowl of stuffing and a large pitcher of steaming gravy. The Newfoundlander held his stomach with his hand as his wide eyes surveyed the banquet feast arrayed on that large table. Every inch of the table’s surface was covered in food. The Newfoundlander questioned his memory and thought, didn’t we just eat?
But it was Christmas so the Newfoundlander ate. He was proud of the fact that he had kept up with the Italians seated around him. His stomach was stretched taunt and even with his pants unbuttoned under the table he felt still the need to expand.
All the jugs were refilled and bottles replaced and opened. Laughter and joy sounded around the table but no one moved from their chair except the mother who had cooked the feast. She cleared some of the dirtied dishes from the table, not because the meal was done, rather she needed more room for what was to come. When the large tray of breaded veal in melted cheese sauce was placed on the table the Newfoundlander admitted defeat. No matter how much the flavours arising from the tray before his tempted his desires, there was no way possible he could force anymore food past his tonsils. So all he could do was smile and watch as this small family of Italians continued to feast, including the little, elderly, Italian great-grandmother.
Two hours after it began, everyone one moved away from the table to take an hour break before dessert was served. Then we all regathered around the table. A large cut of cherry chocolate cheesecake and a huge scope of jello marshmallow dessert was served together on one plate, joined by a platter of melon and grapes and three large trays of assorted homemade cookies.
The Newfoundlander thanked the family for their generosity and with a huge plate of leftovers under his arm returned to his small empty apartment, laid on his bed and dreamed of hibernating till spring arrived and melted the snow.