I was nervous the first time I had Sunday lunch at my future in-laws in Madrid. Their flat was immaculate, the food was perfection, they were kindness personified but I knew I was being watched. I wanted to make a good impression so I dressed in what I considered a proper “Spanish uniform”, a sweater, skirt, and flats.
I think everyone was a bit on edge so during lunch we talked about the safest topic: food.
“What is your favorite food?”
“Corn and potatoes.” I answered without hesitation, “And squash. I really like squash, too.”
My boyfriend put his napkin over his mouth and looked at his mother. She looked at her plate and pushed some food to one side and glanced back to her son, then her eyes moved to her husband, a quiet man, he had ducked his head at an odd angle to hide his smile.
I sensed their attempts at self-suppression.
“Corn, potatoes, and squash – are they funny?” I asked maybe a bit too primly.
My boyfriend’s laugh broke the tension.
“Corn, potatoes, and squash – that’s what pigs are fed!”
So much for being prim and proper.