1 EAGLETON NOTES: Bring a Plate

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Saturday, 11 March 2017

Bring a Plate

Until I read Lee's recent post I'd forgotten how unusual the expression 'Bring a plate' must sound when one first arrives in Australia or New Zealand (and perhaps other places of which I am unaware). It is the usual practice when going to a party or when an organisation such as a croquet club is having a function or tournament for guests or members of the host club to 'bring a plate' of food.

It became my standard offering to make a cheesecake. Why? Because the first time that I can recall doing it was for a croquet tournament the club of which I was a member was holding. That must have been in about 2007 and it led to the following incident.

When I came into the clubhouse from a game I was met by a lady from a visiting club who, loudly and in front of all present, asked if I was Graham. That is my name so I decided on an honest approach and admitted as much. "Then marry me!" That, I have to admit totally threw me. I looked around at all the amused faces hoping for help. Of course none came. My obvious perplexedness (I'm sure there's no such word but I'm equally sure that you'll understand what I mean) caused her to ask if I was the maker of 'the cheesecake'. I confirmed that I was. So she repeated her offer of marriage. She was wearing a wedding ring but as she was obviously older than I she could have been a widow. Anyway I took a gamble and said that I didn't think her husband would approve. "Bugger him!" was her response.

At this point I should explain that the term "bugger" is not regarded as a swear word in New Zealand and I doubt very much that many people even know its legal meaning. It is often used by ladies of a certain age without as much as a batted eyelid.

A couple of years ago I was at a tournament and the said lady was talking to a friend. I said 'Hello' as I joined the group and she looked at me and said "Do I know you?" My friend told her that she had once proposed marriage to me. She didn't bat an eyelid; looked me straight in the face and asked if I had accepted. "No." I replied. "Your loss." she retorted and carried on with the conversation.

Of such memories is life's rich tapestry made.

20 comments:

  1. I did not know any of that. I would probably have brought an empty plate; and wouldn't have reacted to that other word either... (Now I might!) In Swedish we have a special word "knytkalas" for a party to which everyone is supposed to bring something. ("knyte" = bundle, "kalas" = party)

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    1. Monica I suspect that you'd have wondered and asked about the plate. I was fortunate in that I'd come across the practice living with The Family.

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    2. Graham, you know me too well ;) ...

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  2. At a work Christmas party one time, there was cold BBQ chicken on the buffet. My American friend thought it was very strange so thats another weird Australian habit!

    I would probably be tempted to marry a man who made a good cheesecake :)

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    1. Kylie I wouldn't have thought that strange at all before you mentioned it but now I can see why your American friend was puzzled. I suppose if you find a man who is good at anything that's a plus.

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  3. The said lady is some character! We need more people who will say outrageous things that we take with a grain of salt.

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    1. Red she was (is) certainly some character. One needed a lot of grains of salt for some of her antics.

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  4. Hahahahaha! I love it, Graham! This might be a bit cheesy...but I think you just might have dodged a bullet!

    We Aussies and Kiwis are a weird mob...but that's what makes us so adorable! :)

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    1. Lee I certainly dodged a bullet (but then so did she!). I certainly like the straightforward approach many antipodeans have.

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  5. That all sounds very Aussie/Kiwi. My youngest spent quite a while in Oz on his Gap Year (all 3 of my children did), and was once punched in a bar. The police later locked him in an old outdoor wooden 'dunny' overnight, and did nothing to his attacker. He later said, it all seemed normal at the time.

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    1. Cro I find that 'normal' is a rather vague term when it comes to living in other cultures than those in which we were brought up. After all I find the South of England rather strange.

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  6. Although I am German and not so well versed in the finer differences between British, Australian and New Zealand English, "to bring a plate" was instantly clear to me, with no explanation needed. Context is king, isn't it :-)
    How do the organizers of such events make sure they do not end up with 10 of the same dish, and none of something people would enjoy to balance the, say, 10 spuds salads?
    By the way, I don't think it was your loss that you did not marry the cheesecake-loving lady!

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    1. Meike as always you bring common sense and an analytical mind to the situation. As for non-duplication events usually ask you to bring a sweet or a savoury dish and in ordinary social occasions with friends one usually knows what the others will bring. Everyone knew that I brought a cheesecake so if they didn't want that they told me in advance.

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  7. I suppose the "bring and share" suppers are much the same (although my experience of these is that you often end up bringing something you like, and having to share something you don't).

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    1. Yes Frances that's the idea. The secret is not to dislike anything! (including exclamation marks!).

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  8. I was reading this without my glasses, and thought the title was "BEING a plate" so read the first few words of your post with some perplexity. I was even more perplexed to read about the cheesecake inspiring an offer of marriage. I think I had better go back and read the whole post again!:)

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  9. ... I mean, with my glasses on!

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    1. Jenny I hope that you managed eventually to make sense of the post. Well to the extent that there was any sense contained in it.

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  10. Cheesecake is one of my favourite desserts....did you know that??????

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    1. I didn't Virginia (did I?) but next time you pop in I'll make one.

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