Household Principles for Children from the Old Testament -
Lamentations of the Father by Ian Frazier
Laws of Forbidden Places
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of
all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not
in the living room.
Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may
eat, but not in the living room.
Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat,
but not in the living room.
Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats,
and of all the cereals that are
of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in
the living room.
Of quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats
you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room.
Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups,
you may drink, but not in the
living room, neither may you carry such therein.
Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins,
of any food or beverage there
you may not eat, neither may you drink. But if you are sick, and
are lying down and watching
something, then may you eat in the living room.
Laws When at Table
And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as
a greater person might use, keep
your legs and feet below you as they were.
Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table,
for that is an abomination to me.
Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet
upon the table are an abomination,
and worthy of rebuke.
Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils,
nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon,
for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks
in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away.
When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table,
and do not bite it upon its edge
and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises
in it sounding like a duck: for you
will be sent away.
When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have
swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister
what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or
your sister has done the same to you.
Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither
seize the table between your jaws,
nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again
to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is.
And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker,
draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not
do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very
like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because
we do not do that, that is why.
Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the
other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me;
for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And
behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.
Laws Pertaining to Dessert
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that
is clean, saying first, if the
plate is clean, then you shall have dessert.
But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten
most of your meat, and two bites of
your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas
each, or in total six peas, eaten
where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes
to fill two forks, both forkfuls
eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert.
But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes,
still you shall not have
dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten,
you shall not have dessert, no,
not even a small portion thereof.
And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around
with a fork, that it may appear you
have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And
I will know, and you shall have no
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you
are given a plate on which two foods
you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your
voice rises up even to the
ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your
right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently
with the server, that the server may correct the fault.
Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece
of herbal seasoning has not been
scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you and steeped
in vileness, again I say,
refrain from screaming.
Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death,
make not that sound from within
your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to
your nose. For even I have made the fish as it should be; behold,
I eat it myself, yet do not die.