Dinner Guest

by Marinka on June 9, 2010

On Saturday morning, I called papa to invite him over for dinner. Mama is in Russia, Husbandrinka had some kind of reunion event that evening, so I thought it would be nice to spend some time with papa.

“I don’t know if I can make it,” he told me.
“Do you have dinner plans?” I asked, not wanting him to break a previous commitment.
“I have no plans, but I’ll have to see.”
“I’d like to know so that I can plan,” I started to regret calling him.
“What difference does it make to you? Just make a lot and then if I do not come, you have leftovers.”

I was starting to seethe. Because one of the reasons that I invited papa over is that I wanted to make fish for the two of us. Husbandrinka and the kids are carnivores and will not touch the fish with a 10 foot fishing pole.
“I was going to make something in individual portions,” I explained to papa, living the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished credo. “So I need to know.”
“Oh, so what are you making?”
“I don’t want to say,” I told him for reasons that will soon become clear.
“So you’re trying to sell me a cat in the bag?”
I have to confess: I’ve never heard this fun Russian expression before and I could only assume that it involves trying to pass off some unknown entity. Like not telling your guest exactly what you will be serving for dinner.
I broke.
“Fish, I’m making fish!” I yelped.
“I see,” he seemed thoughtful. “How are you going to prepare it? I ask because fish, I like to cook myself. Many people do not know how to cook it.”
“OH MY GOD!” I lost it. “I invited you to dinner. The normal thing to say is ‘thank you, what can I bring’!”
“I’m sorry, Marinka, but I’m old. And old people are cranky, set in their ways and incontinent.”
“What can I bring?”
“A watermelon, please.”
I told my father that we’d be eating at 6 and that if he could come at 5:30 that would be great. It wasn’t even 9 am and I was already exhausted.

Papa arrived at 2:30.
“I’m early,” he said. “But my errands didn’t take as long as I thought.”
“What errands?” I asked.
“I had to buy watermelon,” he told me. He held it up. It was very round.

Dinner conversation was fun as well!

I made sole for me and papa.
“What do you think of the fish?” I asked him.
“In Russia, people buy sole to give to cats because there is no cat food there,” he told me. I’m not sure how many gourmet chefs have received a similar compliment, but I was damn proud.
“Let me ask you,” he said, sensing a change of topic was in order. “Are your eyes and mine the same color?”
“No,” I told him. “Mine are a pure blue and yours are sort of dirtyish gray.”
“Really?” He asked. “Very strange. I always thought mine were clear blue and yours were more insignificant.”
“I don’t even know what that means, but if you look in the dictionary under blue, you’d see my eyes. I could totally pass for an Aryan youth, where eyes are concerned. Sadly, you’d be a lampshade.”

It’s now three days later and I’m still sort of seething about our dinner.

Because I think that I should be able to make dinner for my father and he should eat it and enjoy it without comparisons to cat food.
Papa, on the other hand, claims that he was just expressing his honest opinion and would I prefer that he lie to me. I’m sorry, is that supposed to be some kind of a dilemma? Of course I’d rather he lie to me! Don’t we all, blue eyes?

One year ago ...

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June 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

rachel June 9, 2010 at 12:20 am

I agree. If you go to the trouble to make your Papa dinner, then you should be able to enjoy the meal free of insults. On the other hand, you’d have less blog material.


Kate Coveny Hood
June 9, 2010 at 1:14 am

One of the main reasons that I can’t own a cat is that I really can’t stand the smell of cat food. BUT if I could just cook up a little sole each day, I may reconsider. Except for half my family being deathly allergic… What do they feed dogs in Russia? While it’s not exactly on a vomitous cat food level…dog food is up there on the smells I don’t want in my house.


Margaret (Nanny Goats)
June 9, 2010 at 1:43 am

I think I speak for all of us when I say, you are killing me! That scene where your father comes over 4 hours early because he finished his errands sooner than he expected? Classic.

Hello Marinka? Hollywood’s funniest TV sitcom called. They want their writer back.


Roshni June 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I agree! I can’t even figure out which part I found the funniest!! Your dad is a riot, Marinka!


TennesseeAquarium June 9, 2010 at 1:59 am

If I had that fish, I would turn it into a wish, and wish for my dad to come to dinner just one more time and complain about my salty spaghetti sauce. Can only wish it though, since he is DEAD.

Yours will be too one day. Probably sooner than you would like. Quitcherbitchin (even in jest) and be grateful you still have him in your life.


Dino June 9, 2010 at 8:38 am

I don’t see bitchin. I see only love.


June 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

If I had that fish, I would turn it into a wish, and wish for a sense of humor for you.

P.S. Papa, call me. We eat salmon at our house. And also joke about how only I would pass the Aryan test in case of a pogrom.


Ann's Rants June 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

I’m entirely pissed off. I came over to see your troll and all I get is another hilarious Marinka pissed.



Ann's Rants June 9, 2010 at 8:56 am

OH, now I see it I read fish and than a rhyme with wish and figured it was a Dr. Seuss-ian rhyme and did not continue.


Miss Britt
June 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

You know, some people can’t even buy sole because mainly what is in their grocery stores is tilapia and grouper or occasionally catfish.



anna see June 9, 2010 at 9:45 am

Oh my goodness- a lampshade. Hey, he drove you to it, Marinka. And your eyes are much bluer.


Alice June 9, 2010 at 9:49 am

It’s true. You should never bitch about anyone, even in jest (ESPECIALLY IN JEST) because everyone will be dead someday. Keep your affectionate jibes to yourself. While silently meditating on life’s cruel transience. That would make for a much better blog post.

Also never write about eating fish. I dream of eating fish, but I cannot, because I lost my torso in a terrible accident. How dare you.


Tiffany June 9, 2010 at 9:51 am

i can appreciate your father because my dad is exactly the same. he would have pushed further and asked about the cholesterol content of the dinner though in order to make an informed decision.

ps- congrats on your first bitchy comment!


June 9, 2010 at 10:44 am

Your dad sounds like a real character! I think I’ve heard that “cat in a bag” expression before – is it Russian, or Russian Jewish?


SubWife June 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Russian, but Jews and other non-Slavs were allowed to used it too. 🙂


Aly June 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

Nothing to bitch about here! I’ll have to remember not to be drinking coffee the next time I read your blog, though, as I just about spewed it all over my keyboard when I got to the cat food part. Fond memories of cooking for my own dad. Thanks for the laugh!


June 9, 2010 at 11:41 am

I once read about someone who choked on a fishbone and died. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO, MARINKA, KILL YOUR FATHER AND THEN MAKE A LAMPSHADE OUT OF HIM?!

I mean, really.


dusty earth mother June 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Dear dear Papa. He’s such a card, isn’t he? Perhaps next time when he arrives you can tell him that you hope he enjoys the watermelon because you’re feeding his dinner to the cat.

Probably wouldn’t even phase him.

LOVED meeting you last night! It’s always a plus when the person is as funny in person as they are in their writing.


June 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I think I’m gonna add “dinner with Papa and my Tata” to my bucket list.


Marinka June 9, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I don’t know what your Tata is, but Papa is a MARRIED MAN.


Maddnessofme June 9, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Next time I’m in NYC you can cook fish for me. And I will like it. I might even telll you that you’re pretty or something. Nobody ever cooks for me.


Lindsey June 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Ooooh, my mother presents the argument: “I was just telling you the truth, or do you want me to lie?” at any given opportunity. Like when asked if she likes my hair or if I’ve gained weight, etc. Good to know there are other parents (or their suffering children) like that out there!
PS I think my cat would like to move to Russia now.


June 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I’m hoping against hope that I’ll get to meet Papa and eat fish while he’s wearing pink Crocs.


annie June 9, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I want to know if papa will adopt me? My parents don’t make very good blog fodder. Your’s are priceless! Tell him I’ll let him come over as early as he wants and he doesn’t even have to bring a watermelon.


Steph June 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I actually wish my dad would bitch at me. He’s always WAY free with his praise when I cook a meal over here. I am a pretty decent cook but even I don’t always like a recipe I try!! The main reason I wish he was a little less free with his praise? My SIL isn’t the greatest cook. She tries hard but she’s just not. He RAVES about her food and we ALL know (including her) that it’s complete BS so then I start wondering if he’s just being kind to me too!!??


Crisanna June 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I, much like Alice, also lost my torso in a terrible accident. Fortunately, I have since been gifted with a fancy, new, self- multiplying one and consequently have about 17 spare.

On an entirely unrelated note, how might one begin the Physique 57 journey?


June 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Hahaha!! I just found your blog! I loved how excited your dad was about coming over. I also think I am going to try out that cat phrase. A friend of mine just moved to Russia for her husband’s job. I’m going to tell her to toss that one around. It might help her make more friends.


Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels
January 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

My mom is that way too – she doesn’t seem to see that there’s other stuff between being completely rude and lying 😉


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