“You have to finish everything on your plate or it is considered rude.” My heart began to beat faster as I heard these words from my roommate, Emma. I am the pickiest eater ever, even at home. I knew I would survive; however, my anxiety had my heart racing and my mind thinking about the most absurd and foreign foods that could be served.
Mama Nozolile, my mother for the evening, yelled out the front door to Wong and me. Wong was the Semester at Sea student staying with me at the Tambo Township outside of Cape Town, South Africa. Assuming she was calling us in for dinner, we headed through the crowds of young children. As we entered the house, a tantalizing aroma filled the house. I noticed two enormous plates, about the size of a car steering wheel, on the living room table with a generous amount of plain white rice, with a heaping spoonful of butter plopped on the top. I inched closer, eager to see what else was on the plate. There were two large breasts of chicken and a mountain high pile of dark green, steamed, seasoned broccoli. My mouth salivated as I stared at the plate, anxious to dig in. My stomach began to growl in anticipation. I was still a little scared that I would be disappointed by the flavor and foreign spices, but I was wrong.
This was not just a meal that would satisfy my hunger; this was my all time favorite meal. The meal was what I eat at home on a normal basis. As I was devouring my plate I forgot I was in a township in South Africa. I started to giggle to myself, because even though it is my favorite meal, I have never eaten that much in one sitting. The food had so many different flavors; I did not even know food could consist of that many different flavors. Sometimes I catch myself craving this culinary feast, and I quickly come to the realization, I will never experience this meal again, unless I go back to visit Mama Nozolile.