Wednesday, October 16, 2013

For Emma, forever ago.

To the Huang’s—the hungriest family I know.

Three years ago, Julie and I went to visit Aunt Mary, Uncle Chris, Edythe, Seth, and Emma in Southern California. Of all the fantastic and favorite memories I have of this trip—including, but not limited to, tandem biking for the first and last time ever— there is one that makes me smile the biggest: Julie’s and my date with Uncle Chris for dinner*.

I feel, looking back, that I was woefully unprepared for a dinner date with my Uncle. Had I been better prepared (or just prepared in general) for this day, I could have trained;

I could have prepared;


 I could have prepped myself mentally.



But, I did none of those things. I was simply ready for dinner*.

Before I start this story, allow me to provide you with a brief background.
I come from Loeffler stock. Born and bred to eat.


 Ne’er a plate un-filled; ne’er a stomach un-full. That’s our motto.


Also, I hail from Buffalo, NY: home to the second biggest eaters in this country.


Our dinner date was set a day in advance. The date was day-long and would start with Julie and me joining Uncle Chris and a business partner for a lunch meeting, would include a visit to Huntington Beach for some R&R, and would cap with dinner, and possibly dessert!, at a restaurant of Uncle Chris’ choosing (a favorite restaurant of his, I believe?).  Excellent, I’ve eaten lunch and dinner thousands of times. No sweat.

It was a nice lunch. Julie and I had a decent sized meal. Nothing to write home about, but also not a side salad. I left feeling comfortable, and I left feeling ready for some immediate R&R.

(note: there is nothing immediate about getting anywhere in LA. Or Boston. But definitely not in LA).

We were on our way to spend a few hours in Huntington Beach before dinner: a little rest, a little walk on the beach, a little sticking our feet in the Pacific. And a little snack.
Immediately after leaving lunch, and on the way to Huntington Beach, Uncle Chris wanted to stop at KFC for a chicken sandwich. Julie and I were confused, but thought.. hmm, Uncle Chris must have been so busy discussing business at lunch that he didn't eat much. Poor guy.

Turns out he ate his lunch. He just wanted us all to have a snack on our way to the beach.
So, KFC it was. And three chicken sandwiches it was. Right after lunch.... Right after lunch.

But we ate, because who doesn't eat when the cutest Uncle in the world offers you a chicken sandwich right after lunch.
It was a beautiful day, and perfect weather for a slow, slow walk down the beach. Uncle Chris took a nap while Julie and I were out, and I'm pretty sure it's because he ate lunch. And then ate lunch again. Eating can be exhausting.

Eventually it was time to leave Huntington Beach for dinner. We stopped at a nature conservatory for a short walk and some quick site seeing first which was nice.
Then we were on the road. At a snail's pace.

And no sooner were we on the road than was Uncle Chris asking if we were hungry.

So, Dominos it was. And a whole pizza it was. Because who doesn't need a pizza in the car on the way to dinner? "Just in case we get hungry" (on the way to dinner) was Uncle Chris' reasoning for the pizza. Pizza almost never needs a reason. Almost never.
But we ate, because who doesn't help eat a whole pizza when the cutest Uncle in the world puts a pizza in the car.
Finally we made it to dinner. Some perspective: lunch was at noon, and we were at dinner by 7pm. In case you need a recap: we ate a full lunch, a chicken sandwich, and split a whole pizza within seven hours. If that doesn't seem like a lot of food to you, then you're probably from Buffalo. Or Mississippi. Possibly Alabama.
Julie and I rolled into dinner. Straight from the car, onto the parking lot, and into the front door.

I was ready to keep it light.
Uncle Chris had other ideas. Many plates worth of other ideas. And who doesn't eat many plates when the cutest Uncle in the world has ideas.
I don't even remember what we ate, but what I do remember is that Julie got the stink eye from the server when she asked for a fork (we were in a nice Chinese restaurant).
Listen lady, you don't know the kind of day we've had. That's what I wanted to tell the server, only I was too full and so I did nothing but smirk and put more food into my mouth with chopsticks.
Julie and I could see the light. Dinner was over.

Oh wait. Dessert.

Never. NEVER. Have I been more regretful of my food choices than at the moment when dessert came out and I started eating. Again.


Finally. It was time to go back home.


I'm pretty sure I was black out from Dominos on. If not from Dominos, definitely from the parking lot on. Sorry I just ended two sentences with prepositions. I'm sure bedtime was more of a comatime. I don't remember but I'm sure it was.

What's amazing to me is that this is, unbeknownst to me at the time, standard practice in the Huang Household. (Yet each remains perfectly beautiful and fit. I wish Nancy Drew were around for this mystery.)

When Alan visits my family, he thinks he eats big (ne'er a plate un-filled!) and in excess (ne'er a stomach un-full!), but it really is miniature golf compared to the Food Olympics as sponsored by the Huang Family.

I wish everyone could know Uncle Chris. He really has as big a heart as he has an appetite.