About a month ago, I remember sitting down in the dining room of my last apartment building by Lindavista of Mexico City.
While sitting down having some pizza by myself, the female neighbor walked into the building after assumingly a long day at work.
It was probably around 8 or 9 PM since that’s usually when she was home most days.
Anyway, I’m enjoying my food.
We make small talk.
Soon enough, she needs to go outside to walk the house dog.
Before she does though, she opens the fridge in front of me and asks me if I “want any cake?”
She then persists.
“Seguro?” she asked.
And I explain that I’m not too hungry given that I was literally almost done eating my meal that night.
“What about for later?” she asked.
And, being honest with her, I explained that I don’t really like sweet tasting things all that much.
Sometimes I’ll eat something sweet once in a blue moon but I simply don’t like it too much.
If I eat too much of something sweet, it starts to taste nasty to me.
So I just said that, simply put, I don’t like sweet stuff too much (didn’t call her cake nasty or anything, it did look nice).
Afterwards, there were a few seconds of silence and she said something to the effect of “oh, well I bought it for everyone in the house. I’m not going to eat it all.”
Almost seemed like she was offended somehow.
Anyway, I told her that I can have a piece tomorrow or something when I’m not hungry.
That put a smile on her face.
Unfortunately, I never did grab a piece though.
So maybe the smile become a frown.
But it’s a minor topic about dealing with Latinos in Latin America.
And that has to do with the topic of accepting food or not when offered.
Let’s dive into a more obvious example of what to do or not to do.
Visiting the Girlfriend’s Family in Colombia
I’ve heard sometimes Latinos say stuff like “you can’t deny grandma’s cooking” or whatever.
If a female family member like mom or grandma offers food, you don’t have a choice but to eat it.
I can’t really relate to that too well.
As we’ll get to, I’ll reflect my own experiences with denying food in the US.
But, one time, I remember going to see the family of a Colombian girlfriend named Marcela in a city called Barranquilla.
They were a pretty nice family overall.
The first time meeting them involved eating together.
After finishing my plate, I was pretty well satisfied.
Despite me shitting all over Colombian food once in a while, her mom did know how to cook some meals nicely.
And her mom was probably proud of her cooking!
For she became insistent on feeding me more because “we have so much food prepared!”
Though I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t overly full either.
So I had no issue with taking a little more.
Though, on the flip side, I did feel a little bit guilty about taking more food.
I don’t really like it that much when people offer me things because I don’t like feeling greedy nor do I want the person coming at me later harassing me about how “I did X for you, now you do Y for me.”
But mostly I just feel a little guilty if I take too much.
Though, as I said, she was insistent
More food on the plate.
Second round done.
By this point, the mom had Round 3 ready for me.
Similar to the Mexican chick before, the offer this time was something sweet?
It wasn’t a cake.
To this day, I have no memory of what the thing was called.
It had to be something local to Colombia.
From my memory, it basically looked like a brown brick that was extremely sugary.
You had to chip or break off pieces one at a time to enjoy it.
Initially, I didn’t want to try it because I was full already and the thing genuinely didn’t look that good.
It looked like a brown brick.
Anyway, my initial refusal of the brown brick had the mom give me an odd look.
To which Marcela teamed up with her to insist I try it.
Seeing the village team up on me, I cave in to the peer pressure.
At first, I was confused as to how to eat it.
I tried biting into it straight with my teeth.
The mom laughed.
As I said, I was taught to chip or break at it.
And the rest is history.
Was it good?
It was fine.
A bit too sugary for me but it was an OK desert.
Not really that pleasant but I was cool with it.
Later on anyway, Marcela remarked to me in private how “in Colombia, you can’t say no” when her parents ask for food.
I explained to her that I was full.
She rolled her eyes.
But, from that moment on, I did try to lave a little extra room in the belly if I knew I was going to be eating at her parent’s place ever again.
And that was it.
How does this all contrast anyway to my life back home?
For the most part, my parents were extremely chill when it came to me not eating all of the food always.
My grandma was, when I was younger, just a tiny bit insistent on having people try her pie on Thanksgiving.
But not in an overly aggressive or assertive way.
She was always cool if I didn’t have a slice of the pumpkin pie right there in front of her.
And the pie was good – I did make sure to have a slice later on usually.
The only time my parents ever got extremely upset about me denying any food was when I was like 11 or 12 and refused to eat the spaghetti that my mom made one time.
For some reason, 11 year old me thought that food “would give me cancer” because of stupid shit I read on the internet.
Suffice to say, my parent’s didn’t taken that too well.
Roll the clock and my dad is home quick.
And I found myself being thrown onto either the sofa or the ground of the garage with my dad on top of me extremely pissed off and saying whatever he said.
I can’t remember where I was thrown around on because he did that a few times in middle school if I made some slight offense.
I think that day with the spaghetti involved being thrown onto the sofa though downstairs if I remember right.
Outside of that though, there were no incidents regarding me not eating all of the food offered.
So, for the most part, they were pretty chill and not as assertive as some Latinos make their grandmas and moms out to be.
Never had 3 portions of food shoved down my throat when I didn’t want to.
Wrapping it Up
But, either way, that’s the point of this article.
Simply to bring to light how, from what I’ve only seen briefly on a few occasions (including a few more not mentioned in this article) and from what I have been told, it can sometimes be seen as rude to “deny food” offered to you.
Though, being honest, I think the context matters here.
The Mexican lady, for example, might’ve been extra sensitive than normal because, in my experience, most Mexicans are understanding if you don’t eat something offered if there was no initial reason to believe that you’d eat it.
And Latina moms and grandmas just might be more insistent in general regardless of the context.
Anyway, I’m not Latino so I can only go off on what I have experienced and heard about this topic down here.
Got nothing else to say at the moment.
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