Thursday, May 17

Plain Speaking

My sister in law has a hand-crafted wooden sign hanging in her kitchen. It says,

"If Mama ain't happy,
Ain't nobody happy."

I have giggled over that sentiment for years. And now I believe I have found its Dutch equal.

While reading books with 4-year old Andrew an afternoon or two ago, we zipped through our standard repertoire; and then he stepped back to the book shelf for more choices. When he returned, he thrust a book into my lap. It was one I hadn't seen before: Richard Scarry; Eertse Woordjes (First Words). So we snuggled up together on the couch to share it. I read to him the Dutch vocabulary on each page as we watched Little Bunny's day unfold from morning wake up (wakker worden) to night time tuck in (lekker slaap). With each flipped page in the book, Andrew repeated word after word, until we reached the page about breakfast.

He couldn't repeat because I hadn't said a word.
I was laughing too hard.
There on the page before me was printed my new maxim.

The illustration shows Mama Bunny serving Baby Bunny breakfast and above her head the words read:

"Wat Mama maakt,
Dat smaakt."

Literal translation makes that something like: What Mama makes, is delicious.

Or as translated MY WAY: 'You are gonna eat what I give you. No complaints. No groans. No whining!'

Better and clearly the point, right?
It's my new catch-all catch-phrase for all kinds of things around here.

And as soon as I learn to tole paint, I am going to put it on a sign and hang it in my kitchen.


  1. Love.It. I'm practicing it now. "Wat Mama maakt,Dat smaakt."

    Do you suppose it will work? Will it change the hearts of psychotically picky eaters? Maybe it'll just giving me something fun to say, rather than screaming at the kids to "eat it because it's the only thing I'm making today and they'd better LIKE it."

    And tole painting? Yeah... okay. Get THAT on camera, so that I may snicker at your tole-painting-ness. :-)

  2. I am using it in a rather zen way myself. It's something new and different to the eye rolling, cajoling, begging, and scolding that I have done at meal time for years....
    My picky eaters have met their match.
    Until they beat me again.

    Okay, that's it then, I am SO going to learn to tole paint!

  3. Dat smaakt? Which sounds like "That's smack!"

    I miss hearing our Dutch friends.

    And picky eaters? Oh they live here too! One kid threw up when trying a blueberry.

  4. SMID-
    Closest pronunciation would be to say Vaht mama mahkt, daht smahkt...Nice and open on those vowels. Drop the JAHW as my choir teacher used to say.

    And yeah, we've had throw up over oatmeal here and foreboding shivers over oranges. Go figure.

  5. Bwahahahahahaha! I soooooo need this sign in my dining room. My son fights me on everything he's fed.

  6. songbird-
    It really is just too good, isn't it?

  7. Ok, still giggling...can't breathe...hearing it in Madeleine Kahn's Lily von Schtupp voice in my head...Bwaaahahahahaa!! Thanks for the laughs today! Ken

  8. ambassador-
    And again, my post is improved by those who comment upon it!
    Madeline Kahn? Oh, my!

  9. Gotta love it! I too have a sign in my kitchen with the happy phrase, but I see a new sign to be added in my future! My ungrateful ankle biters, I mean, LOVELY SONS, should take heed!

  10. I've changed it to:

    Wot Mama mocked,
    Dat smacked!

  11. This is great. So pointed and true. The fact that you dicovered a dutch phrase like this is even sweeter. Use it, use it, use it! I think it will come quite handy.

  12. This post made me laugh out loud!
    I am so glad your blog is on my regulars to read now.