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  #51  
Old 02-13-2019, 06:55 PM
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Ethiopia. I don't recall my parents ever using the "there are starving people in ________, so eat your ________" line, but for this Gen X'er, "Ethiopia" was definitely the place with iconically starving people when I was growing up.
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  #52  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:58 PM
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Africa, 1960s. My grandfather, born 1900, said his parents gave him the same line and he never got the logic either. I donít remember what continent/country they used.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:37 PM
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Biafra. It was the late 1960s, and the news was full of civil war in Nigeria, and children starving in Biafra as a result.
Same here, although my mother may have started a little earlier with "the starving children in Africa".

The idea is that while children in Africa are starving, it's pretty ungrateful to not eat everything that's dished up in NZ, half the world away.
  #54  
Old 02-14-2019, 02:39 AM
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Africa, 1960s. My grandfather, born 1900, said his parents gave him the same line and he never got the logic either. I donít remember what continent/country they used.
Cripes -- this pre-dates my suggestion of Belgium and World War I. On reflection: Dickens's Bleak House features Mrs. Jellyby, who is deeply concerned about the sufferings of the hapless people of Borrio-Boola-Gha on the left bank of the River Niger -- laudable in itself, but she's so taken up with this stuff, that she neglects her own kids. One can imagine Mrs. J. -- at the times when she remembered the existence of said offspring -- urging them to be mindful of the hungry children in B-B-G, and eat up their own meals; and her kids responding to the effect of, "Mother dear, will you please kindly shove it".
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:52 AM
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I never got the "starving children in _____" meme but I remember turning up my nose at Mom's home made vegetable beef soup and being told, "If you were starving and came across this in a trashcan in the alley, you'd eat it with delight."

I immediately imagined a new trashcan filled to within two inches of the brim with soup, still steaming. Well, yeah.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:53 AM
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Africa - the entire continent, I guess. Sometimes Ethiopia specifically. And my parents never used this line, but I heard it many times from school, friends' parents and probably even TV.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:30 AM
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China when I was grade school, then it became Africa, and by college it was simply "the world". It was never one of those things used to make us eat something but it was something we were aware of; that reminded us that no matter how bad things were for us sometimes lots of people had it worse. Yeah, sometimes we kinda foraged --------- but at least we had the ability to do so.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:34 AM
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Africa - the entire continent, I guess. Sometimes Ethiopia specifically. And my parents never used this line, but I heard it many times from school, friends' parents and probably even TV.
This, exactly, from my experience in the UK in the 80s.
  #59  
Old 02-14-2019, 10:45 AM
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China, and once or twice also India. But in my family this sort of thing was said only rarely, and as a joke, more often by my older siblings than by my parents.

Last edited by bibliophage; 02-14-2019 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:27 AM
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China, and once or twice also India. But in my family this sort of thing was said only rarely, and as a joke, more often by my older siblings than by my parents.
The joke version in my family is whenever someone almost spills a drink: "Careful with that! There are sober people in China, you know."
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:10 PM
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Ethiopia for me too.

And the first time I found myself in Ethiopia for work (circa 1997) I was eating Ethiopian food in the hotel restaurant (I love Ethiopian food) and they gave me waaay too much injera. Not possible to finish it. And all I could think of was my mom telling me there are people starving in Ethiopia. I actually begged the hotel to save the leftover food so that I could eat it the next meal.

They fed it to stray dogs :-(
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:13 PM
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Adding insult to injera...?
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:22 PM
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At other people's houses, China. At my own, there was no guilt tripping about not eating everything. If you didn't, a parent would finish it because we were on a tight budget and the servings were small. No cookie if you didn't eat most of it, though.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:32 PM
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Cambodia, early/mid 70s.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:24 PM
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A generic 'Africa', but I only remember hearing it at school, not from parents.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:21 AM
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Adding insult to injera...?
Well-played sir
  #67  
Old 02-15-2019, 04:59 AM
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Adding insult to injera...?
Will you marry me?
  #68  
Old 02-15-2019, 05:32 AM
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Will you marry me?
Taking it that you're male -- unfortunately, I don't think same-sex marriage is allowed in Ethiopia...
  #69  
Old 02-15-2019, 10:25 AM
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China, in the 1950s.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:40 AM
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My parents used both China and India, presumably because at least some people were always starving in those places. I once asked something like "What about the kids in Biafra?" in a smart-alecky way. My mom didn't skip a beat and said "Yes, it's getting worse - clean your plate".

Last edited by Bayaker; 02-15-2019 at 10:41 AM. Reason: typo
  #71  
Old 02-16-2019, 05:08 AM
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Yes, people were starving in Africa when I was a kid.

But then again, my grandmother (who mostly raised me) had been born in 1899 the daughter of a poor sharecropper, my mother remembered not so fondly wartime food restrictions, and my father had been deported to a concentration camp, so you can guess that none of them would have looked too fondly on food wasting, even in the absence of starving Africans. My grandmother in particular would never throw away anything edible (or that had been edible). If it couldn't be eaten by her, it could feed a stray cat or be brought to a nearby farm for the chickens or pigs. Throwing it away wasn't an option.
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  #72  
Old 02-16-2019, 01:19 PM
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Another one for Biafra.
  #73  
Old 02-16-2019, 02:15 PM
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It was China in the 50s around my home.
  #74  
Old 02-16-2019, 03:28 PM
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When I was a kid, we were stationed in India, so it really wouldn't have worked. I could have marched out the door and said "Starving people of India! Please help yourself to my string beans!"
  #75  
Old 02-16-2019, 03:39 PM
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To be clear, I was answering in terms of the meme as it existed at the time of my childhood: I don't think that my mom ever actually used it. It probably would have been redundant, anyway, since for a year or so of my childhood we had actual refugees living with us (and Mom still managed to pinch pennies so tight that we still all ate enough).
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