This is a true story about gluttony.
In life, we often learn things the hard way. Like the time I made myself really sick on cherries. When we were kids, expensive fruits were a luxury (who am I kidding? they still are for me as an adult). According to the USDA, the average price for a pound of fresh cherries is $3.51! If someone out there knows why they cost so much, please tell me.
One evening, when I was in elementary school, Mom brought cherries home. Jubilation! Brother was still at football practice, and Mom said I could eat a few before dinner. I, being a good sister, decided to split the cherries into two piles – one for myself, one for Brother. The cherries were diligently divided exactly in half. It was not long before my half was gone…and I started delving into Brother’s pile. “He won’t notice one or two missing because he didn’t know how many there were to start!” I reasoned with myself. After a short time, only a handful of cherries remained. I felt like this adorably evil kid who keeps popping up in various memes:
Have you ever eaten too much fruit, of any kind? If not, just use your imagination, keeping in mind that I was a small child. Aside from the usual bowel complications, I swear the cherries fermented in my stomach and made me feel drunk. To this day, I will not eat more than a handful of cherries.
Then there was the time Brother wrapped an atomically hot Thai chili pepper in my chewing gum because I kept swallowing it after the flavor was gone. “It’s bad to swallow gum,” he told me. “Why?” I asked petulantly. “We paid for it already.”
You would think I learned my lesson about greed and eating to excess. But then there was the infamous Ginger Chicken Incident. Before my 10-year vegan run, I enjoyed many of Mom’s meat dishes. One of my favorites was a simple Lao dish made with chicken, shallots, and ginger. She usually cooks it in a deep pan, letting it simmer until the meat almost falls off the bone. We serve it with rice and a spicy sauce, like we do most foods.
That particular evening, Mom let me eat before everyone else came home. She gave me a healthy portion, but I loved ginger chicken so much that I decided I was not satisfied. When she was out of the room, I sneaked into the kitchen and ate another piece. One piece led to two and three more. The next time Mom went into the kitchen, she was furious – there was not enough ginger chicken left for my dad and Brother! Although I don’t remember the spanking, I’m sure there was one.
Taking punishment one step further, she told me I had to eat the rest of the chicken. So there I was, tears streaming down my face, picking at what remained in the pan. She didn’t actually force me to eat all of it in the end, but here is what I learned: even if something is very delicious, don’t be a pig.