The meat platter, please~!

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This was a time consuming prompt, since I had to write page one and two of my biography first, so I could finally make it to page three (yeah right).

-3-

….so I remember my first years here in the United States of America very well, most of all the fight with the new language I was suppose to use 24/7. I was 23 years old, fluent in a few languages and English wasn’t one of them. I went to college and understood only 50% of what they were saying, remarkably enough, that still made me one of the best students in class. Maybe that was the whole secret to successful learning in the first place. Learn what is needed and disregard the rest, what is about 50% of what you hear.

Learning a language is actually not that hard, if you sit down and learn word after word, until you remember it even in your sleep. But there are some words and meanings, that are really hard to learn, ordering food is one of them.

You can learn the words for the ingredients, like “beef”, “egg” or “potato”, but you don’t find the name for the dishes in any dictionary. So, ordering food was always an adventure for me. My husband tried to help me at first, until I told him not to. I guess I got tired of eating what he thought I would might like. 🙂

One day we went to a different restaurant, it was one of these old fashioned Diners they had way back then and I couldn’t wait to order my meal. I didn’t want a burger or spaghetti’s, no this time I was going to be adventurous. I would order something new and I would order it all by myself.

I looked at the menu and it threw some challenges on me. I didn’t have my dictionary with me, so I solely relied on my memory. I read it slowly and translated in my head. Then I saw it “Chicken fried Steak”. Oh my Gosh, a meat platter, that sounded good. I haven’t had one of these since a very long time.

The waitress came and I was first to give the order.

I sat up proud and ordered “the meat platter”.

She looked at me funny and I repeated “I want to order the meat platter, please”.

She looked at me rather annoyed “We don’t have a meat platter”.

I showed her the menu and pointed to the chicken fried steak. “There it is, the chicken and the steak, please”.

My husband wanted to say something and I just gave him the look…I wanted to do this on my own.

The waitress facial impression changed, she looked at me with pity “Honey it’s a steak, but it’s fried like a chicken.”

“Then why don’t you just call it a fried steak?” This was more complicated than I thought it would be. I was convinced she just tried to cheat me out of the chicken and I wouldn’t settle for it.

“What do you call a fried chicken then?” “Steak fried chicken”. I swear to God, some things in this language just don’t ad up.

That day I learned a few things about fried food:

a) It’s not always what I think it was.

b) They have some screwed up names for their food.

Friends invited us for breakfast months later and we met downtown at a nice place. We ordered coffee and studied the menu. They had a wide variety of food and I couldn’t wait…we all were out the night before and I felt hungover and hungry.

It was my first American breakfast away from home, were we always just had cereals. Although we were poor students and eating out was a special treat.

I knew what I wanted, I wanted the “Cowboy Breakfast“. A chicken fried steak with gravy, eggs, biscuit and potatoes.

The waitress came and it was my turn to order my food “I want the Cowboy breakfast, please.”

“How do you want your eggs Sweetie?”

“Fried please” oh that sounded good and would probably settle my icky stomach from the night before.

“How do you want you eggs fried”

(WHAT????????????????)

I just looked at her. So far it was easy, but what does she mean with “how do want your eggs fried”. I mean there is only one way to fry an egg where I come from, you crack the egg and fry it in a pan. Is that what she wants me to say “fried in a pan, please”.

Ordering food in this country is some tricky business. I remembered the “meat platter” story. A steak fried like a chicken, there was my solution. I knew what she wanted to hear.

I sat up tall and said “I want my eggs fried like sausage please”.

She looked at me funny, my husband and our friends exploded with laughter. This story comes up all the time when we go out for breakfast and I am afraid they will tell it one day at my memorial service.

-End of page 3-

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The Early Years

Write page three of your autobiography.

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16 thoughts on “The meat platter, please~!

  1. I suspect your husband and friends have had many good belly laughs at your expense over the years 😀 Yes, you can be certain those stories are going to resurface in your eulogy 😉

    To make you feel better, english is my only language and I didn’t know what chicken fried steak was until very recently 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am afraid you are right, my eulogy might be very entertaining in 50 years when I died in the old age of 101. Oh my I wish we could sit down with a glass of wine in your beautiful yard and I would have you and your husband rolling (cat too) with my anecdotes about learning this damn language 🙂

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  2. I studied Linguistics in college, and learning another language is hard!, especially as an adult. I feel nothing but awe for anyone who knows more than one language, and I have special admiration for those who master more than one as adults. It’s not easy. I tried twice and I couldn’t do it. But I had no other motivation than getting a good grade, so there’s that. ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    • I honestly believe there is only one way to learn a language and that’s actually living there..or at least spend some time there. Using the language beside learning it is the key. Thank you for your kind words. Always great to see you

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re right. Half the time the English language makes no sense at all. I figured that out when I was teaching a phonics program to my kindergarteners. There was ALWAYS an exception to the rules!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Remember my first visit to Washington DC…
    The last day , quite short of money, we had to find a non-expensive diner , and when we read on the menu , at a rather low price , “hot turkey sandwiches”, we ordered that speciality for the entire group .
    What we had figured , was some turkey-breast between two hot toast….Instead they gave us some bread and some pieces of turkey ,but soaked in hot stock…!

    I loved the first pages of your biography….
    And look forward to reading the rest of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hate to say it, but it sounds disgusting..yikes. I would assume that a “hot turkey sandwich” is a toasted sandwich with turkey meat or turkey breast. It’s interesting what we eat or order in a different country isn’t it?

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  5. I lived in Israel for 9 years and never got fluent in Hebrew. Not even close to fluent. It isn’t all that easy and I think it helps to be (a) young — my son got fluent in six months, and (b) motivated. I wasn’t motivated because I really LOVE English and as a writer, am rather more attached to my words than other people. I was always more afraid of losing my English than concerned with learning Hebrew. I’m always very admiring of anyone who learns a new language in adulthood and can speak fluently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned the other languages as a child and early on in school and never had a big problem with any of them. I never made so many mistakes or “haha’s” in any other language either. Motivation has a lot to do with it as well. I had my head full with other “stuff” as well and really didn’t concentrate 100% on English.

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  6. I moved to Switzerland and married a Swiss who spoke perfect business english. So in our first days together in life I asked him if he liked brussel sprouts. He had no idea what I was talking about and then I discovered that the daily necessities of the english language were not in his vocabulary. Today we speak mainly Swiss German together, with a tinge of english now and again.
    On the other hand I learnt to speak fluent Swiss German, the problem being that there are no “How to lear Swiss German” books available, so I learnt it be joining in. I don’t remember how, it was many years ago, but it seemed to work. Hochdeutsch – that’s another story. Of course I can speak it, if you don’t count the grammatical mistakes (mainly with der, die and das and all the variations), but I am understood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The first years were very entertaining for my husband, mainly because I was so stubborn and wanted to try things on my own. I always laugh when I see a commercial for the so called “language programs” promising you can learn a language in just 2 weeks and I always hope nobody falls for it. It takes years to be fluent in a language and the mistakes we make “in the making” are worth writing a book :-).

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