A lot of my friends are foodies. A lot of people are foodies, but I mostly eat to survive. There are things I particularly like to eat but I’m not a very picky eater and I don’t frequently have cravings. After I got home from Japan, I was probably most excited to eat quesadillas or some other Mexican food. I missed free re-fills on drinks (coffee) at restaurants. I liked the chocolates from the candy factory in my hometown. I missed homemade sweet potato pie. After a few months, I had naturally re-lived the big holidays—the fireworks on the beach for the 4th of July, family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas, even my own birthday. I loved the barbecue, the turkey, the store-bought Hawaiian bread rolls, and the baked macaroni and cheese by my auntie Cecilia. But nothing was very monumental.
It was one random day at the beginning of February. It was a winter day that felt like Spring. The weather was too warm for the historically spiteful season in our Midwest town. It was a day that didn’t really matter. There were no birthdays nearby and no holidays. It was a day I would normally forget. But my parents were out and I scoured the refrigerator for leftovers before I went to bed, a midnight snack-attack. I found a To-Go box. Whose are these? I thought. Too bad for them because I will eat it. I was very matter-of-fact, even in my unspoken words. I shrugged. The were rib-tips. Good enough. I’ll leave them at least half, though, because that’s only fair. Then I ate one.
I only really wanted one, and the small piece of rib fit perfectly to fill my mouth. One bite was all I needed. The barbecue sauce had a surprisingly enticing flavor, captivating with its smooth, rustic, summery power. It reminded me of the sun in the heat of July. It reminded me of a grill on the 4th and the joy of all the neighbors at the block party. I chewed and savored all the flavors and the meat parted effortlessly from the bone. It was tender, gentle and forgiving. It was delighted to be subdued by the power of my jaw, wrapped in the love of my adoring taste buds. The meat conformed to my mouth and danced with my tongue. My goodness; these are delicious! And I had forgotten all about them. How could I forget about rib tips?
I looked left then right, standing in front of the refrigerator but no one else was there to share in my midnight adventure. But they taste so good! I ate another one and another one, and suddenly I didn’t want to stop. I wanted someone there to eat them with me, to share in my delight. Why hadn’t I thought about these at all while I was in Japan? These were exactly the flavor my life was missing all-along! I wanted to introduce them to someone else. I wanted to see the changing expression on their innocent, unknowing face. But my whole family has already eaten these before. They already know what they taste like. I needed someone new. I needed a new friend. But most black people also already know what they taste like. So I needed someone non-black. I have a lot of non-black friends, but they all live so far away, except for two but they are always too busy for me. Then who?
The experience was too good for me not to share with the world Yes! I got it! Of course! I need to marry outside of my race… If for no other reason than to share in his discovery of the next love of his life—rib tips. And he would eat them and love them and be a step wiser in understanding the depth of small nuances of black culture. And they would change his life forever.
Okay, I’m not going to eat all of them though, I told myself. I placed the small Styrofoam box back on the shelf and left it in the lonely, cold, dark refrigerator. Oh, I really want one more. But that would be more than half. I walked slowly and quietly back to my lonely dark bedroom at midnight and thought about the joys of sharing such an experience with someone else. It would be beautiful. I lied and thought about eating some more rib tips before bed. But I shouldn’t. But I shouldn’t. But I shouldn’t. The command became like a lullaby to my cravings. But I didn’t return to the kitchen for more and soon I fell asleep.