The Anniversary Dinner // I’d always been conscientious about not wasting food

By Gella Rivka Cantor

“Next year we celebrate in style,” I told my husband as I served him the last morsel of our anniversary dinner. This was six years ago.

“But didn’t you say that you enjoy cooking up these fancy meals?” he asked me as he licked his spoon clean. “Everything was really delicious.”

“That was before the baby came along. Im yirtzeh Hashem, next year we’re going to mark the occasion in a fine restaurant.”

Nonetheless, the following year I found myself in the kitchen once again, preparing a three-course feast, and the year after that as well. In fact, for the next few years there was always an excuse. One year I couldn’t get a babysitter, and the next year my three-year-old had a bad case of strep. With a nursing baby and a handful of other children of varying sizes, going out with my husband was a rare treat.

But this year it was really happening. I’d made the babysitting arrangements in advance, and I didn’t eat a thing all day in anticipation of a glorious meal.

“This is going to be a night to remember,” I said excitedly as I followed my husband into the dimly lit restaurant.

“A night to remember,” he echoed as we were ushered to our table.

I glanced at the menu and gasped.

“Don’t look at the prices!” my husband said. “Just order. We hardly ever do this.”

“You might regret saying that,” I laughed. “I’ve been starving myself since breakfast so I’d be hungry. I’m famished. I could polish off everything in the restaurant.”

A waiter came over to take our order. “I’m just warning you that this is an extremely busy night,” he said. “Expect a little wait time for your food.”

We ordered and waited and then waited some more. My stomach growled. We drank the entire pitcher of water and devoured every last crumb of the dinner rolls in the little cloth-lined basket. Then we waited some more. We looked around the packed restaurant, and it seemed as if everyone else was enjoying their meal except us. Then the couple at the next table suddenly stood up and walked out.

“Well, look at that,” I whispered. “They left behind a perfectly good dessert, untouched by human hands.”

“I’m so hungry I could totally eat it,” my husband said as we both looked longingly at the tray of deep-fried Oreos with vanilla ice cream slowly melting into a puddle.

“What a waste to let it go into the garbage,” my husband sighed. “That would be a huge shame. Almost an aveirah!”

“Why don’t we take it?” I suggested. “It’s not like the restaurant has any use for it. It’s already starting to look like a sorry mess.”

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