by Marinka on December 29, 2008

When I was pregnant for the first time, my parents were overjoyed. And by “overjoyed” I mean “insane”. They hovered over me. They made sure that I was comfortable. They made sure that I was fed, and hydrated. You know, all the things that people who are functioning in society are generally able to do for themselves. And they wanted to make sure nothing upset me.

My husband was traveling one night and my parents came over for a deluxe dinner of Chinese takeout. Somehow the conversation turned to one of their favorite topics—how overweight many Americans are.

“Americans don’t understand hunger,” my father said.
“No, everything is too much here,”mama chimed in. “Did you see the ‘small’ coffee? Huge. And the large? A whole family can drink that!”
“In Russia, we lived through a blockade,” my father announced, referring to a period in the 1940s when the Germans surrounded Leningrad and would not let anything in, including food. Over a million people starved to death. My parents had not yet been born during this time, but their parents and grandparents lived through it and the memories haunted them. To this day, they are unable to throw out a crust of bread, so modern excesses offend them.

“People were starving,” my father continued, as I reloaded my plate with Sweet and Sour chicken. “People ate cats and all dogs disappeared from Leningrad. Your aunt Julia-“
“Stop it!” my mother yelled. “Don’t you dare tell her that story!”
“What?” my father was perplexed, “I’m just talking.”
“Yes, you’re talking. But you shouldn’t be talking to your pregnant daughter about this nonsense!”
“Nonsense?! It is a completely true story and part of our history. It is important.”
“Important? It’s upsetting and probably an exaggeration.”
“Hello!!” I waved a fork with broccoli in garlic sauce in front of them. “I’m still here! What about aunt Julia?” Who wasn’t really an aunt, but what am I a genealogical expert now?
“Don’t get upset,” my mother tried to soothe me. “It’s nothing.”
”Nothing. Her father tried to eat her when she was born, and to you it’s nothing. Normal behavior. It’s a girl! I mean, dinner! That’s how desperate people were.”
“Are you insane?” my mother yelled. “Do you want her to go into labor right now? Look how you’re upsetting our Marinka. Her chewing has slowed down considerably.”
“Well, maybe she can deliver the dessert.” My father threw down his napkin. Or maybe he didn’t throw it down, who the hell can remember. Really, I have no idea how people write dialogue.
“Don’t be upset,” my mother addressed me in a conspiratorial tone. “I don’t think that story is true.”
”WHAT?” my father howled, “are you telling me that my Uncle Boris didn’t try to eat my cousin Julia and if it weren’t for my Aunt Sofia protecting her daughter, there would be no cousin Julia?” Apparently my father is not the type of man to have the family folklore of cannibalism snatched away from him without a struggle.
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” my mother said. “But I don’t think that we should upset Marinka like that.”

I’m sure it speaks volumes to my moral character that I wasn’t actually upset by that story. But to this day I can’t stand when people coo over babies and comment how “delicious” they are.

One year ago ...

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

silvergirl December 29, 2008 at 1:32 am



blognut December 29, 2008 at 5:06 am

I promise never to eat another baby. WTF?


Marinka December 29, 2008 at 5:15 am

Silvergirl & Blognut–let's make not eating babies our New Year's Resolution in 2009. No More Babies!


Cindy December 29, 2008 at 5:26 am

So that must be where the whole “clean your plate, people are starving in…” came from?


Heather, Queen of Shake Shake December 29, 2008 at 5:43 am

But did he say babies taste like chicken?


Beth December 29, 2008 at 5:53 am

Wow! I just heard someone say to a baby last night they could eat them with a spoon.

It is a bit twisted, eh?


Madge December 29, 2008 at 6:06 am

i heart your parents.


ingrid December 29, 2008 at 6:11 am

oh. my. god.

i’ve only heard dog and horse stories.

people do look… hungrily at babies don’t they. commenting on their chubby cheeks… makes me pause.

(i love this post, btw.)


Nilsa December 29, 2008 at 6:59 am

So, I guess you might find my comment, “ooooh, she’s so cute I could eat her right up” a little inappropriate? I’ll keep that in mind should we ever meet.


Carolyn...Online December 29, 2008 at 7:01 am

That’s a great story.

I wonder if Uncle Boris got the idea from A Modest Proposal


Smart A$$ Mom December 29, 2008 at 7:04 am

Why can’t MY parents be more like YOUR parents? They just sit around telling stories about how ‘Old Uncle Leroy tried smothering his wife.’


Sophie, Inzaburbs December 29, 2008 at 7:12 am

I love family stories, such a great source of amusement. Your family, however, pushes my father’s stories of beatings with a chamber pot right into the shadows.

I am happy to take the no-more-baby-eating pledge alongside all you brave people. We should form a support group!


Braja December 29, 2008 at 7:53 am

This works for me. Now when people ask me why I never had children, I can tell them, “I didn’t want them to be eaten…”


Pacing the Panic Room December 29, 2008 at 7:55 am

You write dialogue like a pro. I felt like I was reading a bit right out of Seinfeld. Such a good story.


Z December 29, 2008 at 7:57 am

Every family needs a good cannibalism story, right? 😉


Janie December 29, 2008 at 8:28 am

Too funny.

I’ll pledge, too.


Marmite Breath December 29, 2008 at 8:43 am

Alright, look, I’ll stop eating babies in the New Year, fine!

But no way am I going to stop putting their heads on spikes!

(Apologies to all non-fans of Eddie Izzard there, because now I look like even more of a psycho than a baby eater)


*Akilah Sakai* December 29, 2008 at 9:11 am

You’re family rocks! That was absolutely hilarious. I’ll never eat veal!


Ann's Rants December 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

Oh, so YOUR family is responsible for the whole eating christian babies slander…


iMommy December 29, 2008 at 9:32 am

Are these the kind of stories that I am missing out on by not speaking to my extended family?


(Oh look, a baby! NOM NOM NOM.)
(totally kidding.)


Charmaine December 29, 2008 at 10:14 am

Seriously, someone needs to write a sitcom about your family.

Now, come over to my blog and vote for my next date. I need advice from a crazy married person.


Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy December 29, 2008 at 11:26 am

hahahahahahahahahaha, this story is hilarious. Thank goodness Julia wasn’t eaten and I hope she appreciates that she was allowed to live and not made into dinner.


Domestic Goddess (In Training) December 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I have a friend who constantly tells me she could just eat my fat little baby up. She survived similar poverty and famine in Afghanistan as a child. Am now thinking I should either not let her babysit anymore or at the very least… make sure the fridge is fully stocked. Just in case.


Kimberly December 29, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Oh, so that’s why when I sometimes say that “I could just eat” my friend’s toddler, she looks at me that way.

I had no idea. Thanks!


PinkLizzy December 29, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Holy Crap. What a story!

All my families stories end up with the ol’ “Remember that time when PinkLizzy was two and she ate a snail out of the lilies? Har Har Har” Urg!


Payton December 29, 2008 at 5:02 pm

I loved this story =)


phd in yogurtry December 29, 2008 at 5:07 pm

“nibble, nibble, little toes!”

I’ll never be able to enjoy that baby game again. Thanks to Uncle Boris.


Jeanne December 29, 2008 at 5:39 pm

I hereby award you the “weirdest family anecdote of the day” award! Thank God your Aunt Sophia stopped him!


Heinous December 29, 2008 at 6:28 pm

I didn’t know baby eating ran in your family. I may have to reconsider your shrine. Maybe not.


the mama bird diaries December 29, 2008 at 6:44 pm

I can not stand when people use the word “delicious” to describe non food things. Ick.


Beth December 29, 2008 at 7:23 pm

Can you just hear the Russian version of the Donner party? Donner-vesky party of three… Oh, make that Donner-vesky party of two…


Deb December 29, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Does this mean I can’t eat any more Sour Patch Kids?


Temple December 29, 2008 at 8:55 pm

What wine would you pair with that?


MommyTime December 29, 2008 at 9:01 pm

This is hilarious. My favorite part is your parents fighting about whether you would be upset about this or not.

I’ll join the no more baby-eating in 2009 club too — as long as I don’t have to give up puppies…

(we just watched 102 Dalmations today. Talk about twisted)


anymommy December 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Your family (and your dialogue writing) are fantastic. And, um, I’m kind of glad I decided not to bring the baby to Chicago. You know, just in case it runs in the family.


Insta-mom December 29, 2008 at 10:19 pm

Baby…the other white meat.
Baby…it’s what’s for dinner.

Apparently the pork industry has it all wrong.


jon December 30, 2008 at 2:55 am

am i the only dork who wants to go read more about Russian History now?
I think you should tell us stories from the old country every week on formerly-porn sunday!


Heather December 30, 2008 at 10:05 am

Marinka – I love your parents! I agree you should have a sitcom.


Issas Crazy World December 30, 2008 at 12:58 pm

I think I’m in love with your parents. But I may never tell my son I’m going to eat his cheeks again. Which is sad, because they are so eatable.


Jen December 30, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Oh you would be totally disgusted with our family, we’re all about the “you’re so cute, I could just eat you up” thing. In fact there’s a joke (not really sure where it came from). A mom says to her baby “oh gee, you’re so beautiful I could eat you up.” Years pass the baby turns into an annoying teenager and the mom thinks, “damn, why didn’t I?”.


Jos December 30, 2008 at 5:35 pm

oh, I'm so with you on the delicious edible baby thing. blech. & I think your dialogue-writing is fantastic & hilarious. the cadence & humor reminds me somewhat of the Confederacy of Dunces, which is about the funniest writing I've ever read.


Sherendipity December 31, 2008 at 6:17 am

The eating baby thing has always freaked me out. Now I’m going to be totally demented.
Thanks a lot.


sdl January 1, 2009 at 10:39 am

Sendak has said he wrote Where the Wild Things Are out of his memories of his adult relatives, so one of the things the monsters say is “We’ll eat you up, we love you so”. I guess some kids notice the way adults talk about them. Yikes.


Renée aka Mekhismom January 2, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Um, eating babies? That must be folklore or something. I mean have you ever met this Aunt (cousin) non-relative Julia?


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