Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sharing Food

I don’t remember the exact date that my boyfriend and I started sharing food, but what I do remember is that HE HATED IT.
My boyfriend is not good with sharing with food, and he made it very clear to me that HE WANTED HIS OWN FOOD.
I can’t remember the first instance, but it was probably when we were ordering ice cream at Coldstone, or buying donuts at the bakery, or choosing candy at the movie theater. I probably wanted a little bit of whatever he was eating, just to try it of course, and he flatly refused.
I found his response to be very hurtful, “Why doesn’t he want to share food with me? What is the big deal? I only want one bite – what’s wrong with that? It’s not like I want the whole thing; I just want a little! Why can’t I just taste it? I only want to taste it!”
BUT NO. I was not allowed a taste, sample, or bite.
All I got was a “Whoa whoa WHOA – GET YOUR OWN!”
I was a very confused girlfriend.
But I quickly moved from hurt to offended.
I couldn’t believe this was happening! Such a small bite was turning into a very big deal!
I looked at my boyfriend with a look of disgust. “Who is this guy? Where is this even coming from? Who is the man behind this façade of niceness that I’ve been seeing until this point? …. In fact - who are you???
When I was little, I always had to share my food. My parents taught me to share everything with my brother. My family is Filipino, and if there’s one thing about Filipinos – we share food.
Filipinos have a communal attitude when it comes to food. If you ever visit the Philippines, or the home of a Filipino American family, you will be offered food. Nay, not just offered food, but FORCED food. Filipinos want to feed you, and they want to feed you THEIR food.
So as a kid, when our family was out, and us kids wanted a soda, or candy, or a bag of chips, or ice cream, of course, we had to share.
It was quite the opposite for my boyfriend. Upon spending more time with his family, and learning more about their home culture, I realized that no one had to share.
If one sibling was snacking on ice cream, and another was drinking soda, and the other was eating candy – they never asked for a nibble of anyone else’s food. “How funny,” I would think to myself.
Because in my family, if anyone was ever eating something from the kitchen, another family member would say, “Oh, what are you eating?” And the response would be, “Oh here, have some. You want some?”
I never observed this kind of dialogue in Nick’s family. Everyone had separate snacks and separate desserts and separate everything. Upon more questioning, I found out that in Nick’s family, sharing was never an issue. As a kid, Nick always got to have his own snacks, and never had to share with his siblings.
I thought this was so bizarre. I could not relate to Nick’s upbringing because it was just so different from mine. Sharing food is such a common practice in my family, that when Nick acted differently about it, I was insulted.
After a string of small arguments over sharing food, we concluded it was a small, but challenging, cultural difference that needed to be overcome between us. I know every interracial couple faces obstacles, and for us – sharing food is one of them.
Since those first stages of dating, we have learned to handle it a little better. I respect the fact that he wants his own portions, (especially if I want more than just a bite) and he respects the fact that I will always want just a little bit of what he’s having.
But I’m not gonna  lie – even now, after years of being in a relationship:
 We STILL argue about sharing food. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Same with my family, we always shared or no one could have it. That's weird that he had all of own separate foods. My old best friend was Filipino, and somehow I always came home with a plate of delicious food. Love the tidbit about your family, it's hard to sometimes understand why people are the way are. And then you hear about their family, oh that may be the reason.