throwback thursday

Thursday, November 29, 2012


ale // harley // jane. 
photo taken march 2011.
we look like babies.

Surviving Dinner With Frau {A Vienna Memoir by Jane}

The electric whisk buzzes from the kitchen. “What is she still doing in there?” Jess asks Ale. “We were supposed to eat 45 minutes ago!” I am with two friends from my in their host mother’s house, and we are anxiously awaiting their weekly Viennese meal. Elizabeth Eppel peeks her head into the room and summons us to dinner.

“Good thing you’re here; we wouldn’t be able to eat everything. You better be hungry,” Jess whispers in my ear on the way to the table. My stomach growls.

We arrange ourselves around the table when Elizabeth walks across the hall to the kitchen  to get the first course. Europeans eat four-course meals, something we Americans are unaccustomed to. The little 60-year-old woman comes back with a pot of zucchini soup and sets it down. “So,” she says, clasping her hands together, “How are you?” We make small talk for a few minutes; I listen to my stomach rumble while Ale and Jess tell her about German class and an upcoming weekend trip. Ale prays over the food, and then it begins. 

I inhale my bowl of soup and notice the other girls taking each bite slowly. Jess eventually finishes, and with both of us done, Elizabeth picks up the pot of soup, “You want more?” she asks and dishes up our bowls with another helping before ambling out to the kitchen with the empty pot. 
“Ugh, I am so full already,” Jess mumbles. 

“You did that all yourself,” Ale says between giggles. “You volunteered to take seconds.”
“You should be thanking me; it was me or you!”

Elizabeth returns with her arms full. She sets down a large bowl of rice and a pan of meat and vegetables and reaches for our plates. Elizabeth dishes each of our plates with five scoops of rice and topping, and puts a squirrel-size portion on her own plate. She goes to the kitchen with our empty soup bowls, and Jess looks at me with large eyes. “Are you okay with all this meat?” Up until this summer I had been a strict vegetarian. 

Before I have a chance to respond, Ale whispers frantically, “Quick, put it back in the pan! Go, keep going!” I clumsily spear chunks of turkey and shake them off the fork into the pan.

“More! You still have time!” Jess says. I manage to clear my plate of most of the meat and compose my poker face before Elizabeth comes back into the room and sits at her place and chats to us in her German-glazed accent while we slowly spoon each bite to our mouth. The mound of rice on my plate seems to be getting larger. Elizabeth leaves again and heads to the kitchen to retrieve more food. 

“There is so much meat,” Jess says quietly.

“So many vegetables,” Ale says back.

“I think you want my meat. Here you go, take some of my meat.”

“No, I’m so full! Fine. Take my vegetables.”

The girls swap food and stir the piles around their plates.

After we have somehow cleared the rice, turkey, and vegetables from our plates, Elizabeth appears with bowls of chocolate mousse and a plate of dense chocolate cakes. She chatters animatedly on about her job, oblivious to our increasing discomfort and the tightening waistbands on our jeans. I wonder what I should name the food baby in my stomach and hardly notice as she refills mine and Jess’s dishes, brushing aside our weak protests. 

The meal is over, and hunger is a forgotten concept. We three girls carry our dishes to the kitchen, dragging our feet and feeling less like ourselves and more like beach balls. 

Jess grips my shoulders and looks at me with tired eyes, 

“Congratulations,” she says. “You’re alive.”


  1. Oh my gosh, this is hilarious. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love your blog! Thanks for the lovely comment and that's sad about your pie... I would say, the cream cheese makes a big difference!


  3. hahaha i love this!! but...why am i not in this picture!? when are you home from virginia?! also, I facebook messaged you awhile ago another one of your old articles i had on my computer for some funny.

  4. Great blog! Love the leopard and stripes :) Thanks for your lovely comment, hope to see you again soon xx

  5. YAY! (: You survived!!

    Cute blog!

    -Alynne Leigh