Sons are the perfect eating machines


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By Lori Clinch

If there is one thing I have learned from our four sons, it is the amount of food it takes to keep them going.

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In one sitting they can put away a pound of meat (each), a plethora of vegetables, they are all about pasta and potatoes, and “Whoa! Is that garlic bread?!”

When our sons plan to return from their campus homes for the weekend, I stock up big time. I purchase cereal in bulk, produce by the bushel and milk by the barrel.

Before serving their favorite meals (which I cook in abundance), I take out my own measly portion, carefully wrap it and then I hide it. That is a trick I learned from my dearly beloved mother-in-law who advised me to buttonhole something for myself as a form of self-preservation.

This advice came on the Sunday morning when I sat down to the breakfast table, only to learn our sons had consumed the 3 pounds of sausage I had just cooked, before the meal was even served.

Buttonhole. Word to the wise!

During a recent visit from our hungry children, my husband, Pat, and I decided to take the family out for dinner. Talk about taking a hit to the ole wallet!

Our sons ordered enough appetizers to feed a football team, salads all around the house and the family’s all-time favorite, cheeseburgers and French fries.

One would think they would have been full long before the meal arrived, but it just wasn’t so.

“What are these?” they asked as they looked at their average size cheeseburger. “Sliders?”

As they gobbled down their meal, I sat and truly enjoyed my Cobb salad. The chicken was wonderful, the sunflower seeds plentiful, and the chef wasn’t shy about piling on the bacon.

I had only eaten half my meal when I decided I was full and asked for a “to-go” container.

“Dibs!” one of my darling off-spring called out as if he was on a game show.

“No way!” exclaimed another. “You got her salad last time!”

I looked up and across the table at what appeared to be a pack of hungry wolves salivating at my leftovers. Loving all of our sons the same, as I do, and unable to choose between them, I did the only thing I could – I gave the salad to Pat. He gratefully gobbled it down and promised to share the remainders of “Mom’s” meal the next time we dined.

Sadly enough for Jeannie, a darling little lady who has a space at our antique shop, she was unaware of a young male’s ability to put away food. Loving sweets, as she does, Jeannie brought out a bag of peanut clusters and cookies just last week.

Jeannie is a generous person, but she is used to sharing with the female gender and people who indulge in sweets in moderation.

Therefore, she was taken aback when she offered her bounty to one of our sons.  “Here, Huey,” she said with all the sweetness that ignorance would allow. “Help yourself!”

“Girl,” I called out as I looked up from a chafing dish.

“Nooooo!” exclaimed Terrie, who works in our antique shop and is quite aware of the ferocious appetite of the young male gender.

From that point on, everything happened in slow motion. I hurdled over the counter, Terrie sprung from her chair, and like defensive players in a football game trying to prevent a hand-off, we did our personal best.

Unfortunately for Jeannie, she never knew what hit her until it was too late.

“Why, thank you!” Huey said politely as he happily took the entire bag from her.  “You are really a nice person.”

With that he walked off quite content and most likely polished off the contents of the snack bag long before he rounded the corner.

“Honey,” I said to Jeannie as I repeated the words of my all-too-wise and precious mother-in-law. “Never serve the children until you’ve buttonholed some for yourself.”

It’s just too bad I did not put that advice to use last night before I sat 4 pounds of wings on the kitchen counter and ignorantly walked away.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to

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