Q is for Quail

Most of my memories of my family revolve around food. At least, the ones I write about. Our mealtimes were such a visceral process. I can remember with all of my senses. Not only the scent and look and flavor of the food, but the sounds of everyone talking, the clink of glasses and and silverware, the feeling of crab legs or quail bones in my fingers.

Eating as a family has never been dainty. Sure, there might be an array of dipping bowls, chopsticks, napkins, but there were always fingers, and slurping, and talking with our mouths open.

I’d watch my mother eat with her hands in awe. She was incredibly neat. She used her finger tips, and barely touched her napkin, while the table in front of me would be a growing pile of crumpled, soiled napkins.

I take pleasure in those knife-and-fork dinners at restaurants, carefully slicing and composing each bite, eating neatly with utensils, but ah, the hands. I love using my hands.

Put a dark brown, fried quail in front of me, and I can’t wait to grab the little legs with my hands, tear them off, dip them into the requisite white-pepper-and-lime-juice, and rip the flesh off with my teeth. Utensils not required.


word from s