Belle and I brought beans and rice to a "global foods" theme potluck at our church. I put considerable effort into this dish, only to serve it to diners who had never even heard of or seen beans and rice simmered together. Very few actually tried my beans and rice. To make matters worse, our pastor had advised gatherers against piling their plates and returning for seconds until everyone had been served. This was surely based on past potluck dinners, when free food became a "free for all." New rules may have put people off of truly enjoying our buffet style dinner.
I fed Belle breakfast, lunch and snacks prior to our church dinner. Being well-fed didn't curb Belle's enthusiasm at the buffet. I had a very difficult time keeping Belle away from the coffee maker and the food before and during dinner. When we finally got our turn at the buffet table, I filled two plates and a bowl full of food for us to share. Belle had to sit in my lap because she wouldn't sit in her push chair and the church does not provide high chairs. I had a very hard time balancing a curious toddler and our food. Someone finally asked if we were getting enough food to eat at home. They interpreted Belle's magnetic pull toward the buffet, and me filling a plate of food for both of us, as signs of a hunger problem. I lost my appetite pretty soon afterward.
I do not feel at home inside our church. I like our pastor. I like a few of the families we have befriended. I appreciate being able to walk to church. I feel I often rub some people the wrong way, like I am a woman with a child, just showing up and hanging out to get a free lunch. A few folks don't even think I am a baptized Catholic (Ha! I am a confirmed Catholic with twelve years of Catholic school under my belt.). I don't appreciate being misunderstood. The grandmothers who made the financial sacrifices to keep me in Catholic school all those years wouldn't appreciate it either. This isn't the first time a comment has been made about our food consumption at a potluck. I get the feeling I am meant to contribute to the meal without appearing to take pleasure in actually eating the meal. I was sensually savoring a barbecued rib when asked if food was an issue at home. I feel food is an issue at this church. This isn't the right church for us.