It’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for…

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People come over to my house for dinner all of the time, because my stepmom is a caterer, and therefore makes amazing food and loves to entertain. But people always get really confused when someone in my family takes a bite of something and says, “Yum yum!” and then someone else answers “Tasty!” and a third person ads “Like cat food!”

It’s not that anything my stepmom ever cooks tastes like catfood. The line is from a story my little brother Alex told ages ago. We were making the 5 hour drive home from Vermont to Connecticut, on our way back from a ski trip. I was probably about 10, my little brothers 8 and 6. We were getting antsy and rowdy in the back. I’d already been writing for a long time, so my stepmom, her head likely aching from us screaming and complaining for hours, suggested we all take turns telling stories.

Now, my littlest brother Alex has always been very quiet and reserved, especially when he was a little little kid. So when it was his turn to tell a story, I don’t think any of us expected much. But he launched into this whole story, most of the details of which are lost to us now, but it was about 3 cats who went fishing for chicken, and when they caught them and ate them they all said, “Yum yum, taaasty, like cat food!” All of us were laughing so hard that we couldn’t breathe, including my dad, who had to pull over to avoid crashing the car.

All we ever really remember is that line, so whenever something tastes good, we say “Yum yum, taaasty, like cat food!” but most of the time we have to explain the story afterward.

-Livia Nelson

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