She is full. She feels like she will burst if she eats even one more bite, but still. Her plate is not clean yet.
“It’s hardly worth dirtying a leftover container,” she tells herself by way of an excuse, but really, out of a sense of necessity, she forces the last few bites of food down her throat.
It wasn’t always this way. More than once, she felt the gnawing ache of hunger in her stomach. More than once she went without food so that her children could eat, and even then sometimes, they’d gone without eating too. And burning with humiliation, even all these years later, she remembers that more than once she had to rely on the generosity of others to feed her family. She laughs. Generosity indeed. Often she had to take handouts that were practically garbage, and act grateful about it too.
These days, she has plenty of food. She always makes sure that her cupboards are full, and she hides packages of cookies, or bags of candy here and there, just to be safe.
No one who visits her can ever accuse her of sending a person away hungry. She keeps three tins in her kitchen- perpetually full of baked goods. And when you sit down for a meal at her table, you are guaranteed to be well fed. This “light” cooking and eating trend is for the birds, in her opinion.
Always on the lookout for new menu ideas, she often peruses her large collection of cookbooks, and she cuts out interesting recipes from her women's’ magazines. Her favorite topic of conversation is food-and she is eager to hear about the dishes her friends have prepared, anxious to try them herself.
70 some years may be a long time in the past, but her memories of those leaner days are still as fresh in her mind as the loaf of bread she has just baked. Even now, living a life of plenty, the specter of starvation she faced during the Depression is always with her.
“Don’t waste!” it admonishes her.
“The day could come again when you will have only potatoes to eat!” it reminds her.
“You just never know!”
A clean plate. Not an empty plate. She can appreciate the difference.