About ten years ago, I was staying at an isolated lodge in the Marlborough Sounds area (just off the Queen Charlotte track) at the top of the South Island. It was a bring-in-your-own food place and I was there to go hiking, swimming, kayaking. I had calculated in advance exactly what food I needed for my visit, right on down to the last slice of bread for my last day. I would be starving a fraction but if i was careful, I knew I could manage.
My first night there, I had made myself a meal of salad, potato and mussels. I sat at a shared table.
"Oh, your food looks good." A young lady backpacker sat down next to me.
"Yes, doesn't it?" On my plate, I had six mussels, one potato, and a measured-out salad.
This young lady continued to compliment me on my food, exclaiming over and over of the wonder of it. To her, it was obviously the most fantastic-looking meal ever. Gordon Ramsay, take a back seat.
She looked beseechingly at me with soulful puppy-dog eyes.
I would have liked to give her something to eat, but I knew I couldn't. Most of these overseas backpackers were at the lodge for a night or two. I was there for a week.
For years, I felt awful about being such a mean person. But today I was reading a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail in the United States.
The book told me that non-stop exclaiming over the wonders of another person's food, coupled with the puppy dog eyes, is actually called ... Yogi-ing. It's named after Yogi Bear who had this style of begging down to a fine art. Hikers use the technique a lot. The rule is that they are not allowed to actually ask for the food
Maybe I'll try it. I'm hiking the Abel Tasman National Park this coming summer. Shall I play the little old hungry lady card?