Confessions of a food-tray recessive

They bridge the Protestant-Catholic-Jewish gaps. Nearly all female church members have a gene in common: the food-tray-competent gene. They all know how to prepare food trays or how to present food trays as though they had prepared them—and indeed, Costco food trays seem now to enjoy equal or higher status than home-prepared food tray presentations.

Occasionally a double recessive shows up, utterly lacking the food-tray trait. She can hide the defect only for so long, but eventually her incompetence, which she fears may be uncharitably interpreted as laziness or cheapness, becomes obvious.

The food-tray recessive can become stressed out for several days at the prospect of having to show up somewhere with a bowl of grapes. In her own frazzled mind, events like weddings, funerals, and even normal church services, only display her incompetence further.

Her failure is three-fold. She can’t take perfectly normal things in stride; she can’t express her love for others in the common parlance of the food tray; and she is stressed out because she can’t do these things without becoming stressed out. She wants desperately to help out, but it makes her sick. She offers to reimburse someone to cover her share. Many will dismiss her offer. But a kind and wise woman will accept her offer to share the cost. Then she feels included without exacerbating her food-bringing stress.

Who knows what causes these things? Perhaps they exist to expand the spheres of acceptance of those for whom these things come naturally, as well as to challenge the limits of those for whom they are uncommonly difficult.

I’m a double recessive, and I’m still working on coping mechanisms. I’m learning to leave the arranging of slices of cheese and apple wedges on a wrapped plate—as I leave Costco—to the test pilots among the ladies. A bag of chips and a container of prepared guacamole is close to thinkable. Every recessive needs to find her own way of diminishing the huge and terrible food-tray abyss.

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2 responses to “Confessions of a food-tray recessive

  1. You are NOT alone! Just to plan a baked potato bar for my third darling’s first birthday celebration on Friday, I had to gird myself for the jungles of pinterest, armed with pen and paper, and call a friend to go over every topping I am thinking about….

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    • You, Rachel?! I never would have guessed! I feel so much closer now to the mean of competency . . .! But I would never dream that I would even consider assembling a baked potato bar. I can’t even imagine feeling responsible for the accessibility of all those little ramekins and things. You are amazing.

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