When you’re done eating, you generally feel full, right? Like, you know when it’s time to stop eating because you’re just… done. Oh sure, sometimes you overdo it. Maybe your belly sticks out a little farther than normal. Maybe you feel a little ill because you just conceived another food baby. Maybe you have to undo your belt and open the first few buttons of your jeans because you just got back from a fancy vacation in Hawaii where you ate everything in sight and now you’re a big fat fuck. Whatever. My point is you usually don’t need someone else to tell you when you’ve satisfied your hunger.
However, according to my German wife, I am in the habit of eating relatively small portions of food here in Germany, especially while visiting my wife’s parents — who like to stuff us full of dark, heavy bread, heart attack sausage and skinless potatoes drowned in butter. In trying to exercise a little portion control, I often feel hungry like 90 minutes after we’ve eaten dinner, when I find myself sneaking back into my in-law’s kitchen, hunched over like Gollum as I gnaw on a ham hock in the dark.
My wife mocks me openly for this — and rightfully so — but she also does her best to help me prevent these post-meal replays. So the other weekend, as we were finishing up dinner, I pushed my chair back from the table and declared myself full. My wife insisted I eat one last bite of bread with a thick chunk of brie on it. Obviously I refused — because I am a big boy and I know when I’m done eating goddammit — but she reminded me I would probably get hungry again very soon, dropping a little German wisdom in the process by adding:
“This is cheese, and cheese closes the stomach.”*
From the German expression, “Käse schließt den Magen.” But, as a non-native speaker, I gotta say, “closing your stomach with cheese” sounds like a great way to wind up in the emergency room.