She’s not actually a Jewish mother. But Sue Wong is charming and caring. Caring enough that she will put food on your plate and insist you get seconds and make sure you get enough dessert when you have lunch with her. Because that’s what Jewish mothers do. They insist you do things you feel uncomfortable doing for the sake of being polite. And make you fat.
I had the opportunity to have lunch with Sue Wong the other day, even though I didn’t actually think that’s what I was going to do. I went to her Spring 2011 collection preview and my appointment was around lunchtime. Being taught my whole life that before you attend any event or gathering you always have something to eat because you don’t know if they’ll have food and if they do serve something you don’t know if you’ll like it, I had lunch before I got there. Being stupid, I forgot that at press events they give you free food. So when I arrived, Sue Wong was hungry and insisted I get some food with her. Now, let me paint you a pretty picture of our surroundings. We were in her showroom, surrounded by beautiful pastel-colored gowns embellished with sequins and feathers and other shiny objects of the like, with models waltzing around me and walking up to me, posing. Awkward, to say the least, but at least Sue Wong knows how to ignore awkwardness. So I took a hint from the designer and smiled politely to the nice model who posed for me and walked with Sue Wong to the lunch spread.
I waited to see what Sue Wong would take before I picked out my second lunch. She chose what looked like a Southwestern-style chicken sandwich, some fancy potato chips, lots of fruit and a cookie. So I chose a tuna sandwich, lots of fruit and then just as I was deciding what pastry to take, Sue Wong says, “Here! Have some chips!” And puts the chips right on my plate. I really didn’t want the chips because I was already having tuna and I was going to be sitting next to her having a conversation and didn’t want my breath to smell doubly as appalling. But you don’t say no to Sue Wong. I was still eye-ing the pastries when she adds, “Here! Have some cookies! Take two!” And she put two oatmeal raisin cookies on my plate. If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s raisins in my cookies. I prefer chocolate or cinnamon or peanut butter or M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces or sprinkles. But not raisins. Or really even oatmeal. But I had to take them and then I had to eat them. And I did. And I liked it. So thank you, Sue Wong, for expanding my palate.
When we sat down to eat, before I even finished my sandwich she asked if I wanted more and how I liked my food. I hadn’t even gotten one word in about what I was actually there for before she Jewish mother-ed me up making sure I was enjoying myself. I immediately had flashbacks to Passover dinner with my family and my grandmother constantly going back into the kitchen and putting more chicken and more brisket on my brother and cousin’s plates because she didn’t think the two servings they had already eaten was enough. I know she was just trying to be polite. She was technically the host. But really, I was very unprepared for this situation and the last thing I thought I’d be doing was having flashbacks about Passover while dining with Sue Wong discussing her Maui vacation home. Now every time I pass by Sue Wong couture or hear her name I’ll think of Passover, raisins and why having two lunches (one being free) can be the best part of your day.