Funeral Food

It’s dark, and you’re attending the wake of a lady who has passed away along with a couple hundred other people who plan to stay up all night. You’re sitting on a rough bench made of two planks set on top of two cross boards. You can smell the cooking fires and know that there will be food served soon.

They start bringing out the food and placing it on a table in the middle of the large crowd. From a distance you can see that there are large baskets of steaming rice and other dishes, as well as the boiled pork pieces, of course. You know that’s always there.

The question is, will you get to serve your own plate of food, or will someone hand an already filled plate to you? You’re not sure, but you can see a pile of something white and glistening on the table and you wonder what it is, and if you’ll have to taste it. Soon you realize that the food will come to you, preselected. A lady hands you a plate, piled with rice, a piece of pork bone, and two meat dishes. It’s dark, so you start to dig in. No need of a fork, you just pick up the rice with your fingers and drop it in your mouth.

You put your fingers into a meat dish. It’s something tasty, sort of like a really, really thick piece of bacon with a chewy rind in a sweet sauce. You stick your fingers back in another shadowy area of your plate. Ahh, this is the one that will require some creativity. This is the dish that is made with all the leftover parts. There’s an art to discretely flicking it off the side of your plate without looking like you’re doing it.  Make sure the dogs don’t give you away!

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