Follow by Email

6/17/10

Food, Glorious Food

Being raised in a conservative food household, meals were plain but plentiful.
You had your meat, salad (iceberg lettuce), canned vegetable (four or five heavily rotated - corn, peas, green beans, lima beans, butter beans), and potatoes - mashed.

Fresh vegetables were shown who was boss by being cooked for hours with slabs of pork fat.

Take that vitamins!


My father served as an unwitting foil to my mother's aversion to anything new. When I moved back home, I did some of the cooking, but only if the recipe first passed my mother's rigorous inspection. The veto usually was, "Oh dear, your father wouldn't like that."
But it was her all along. The non-trier. There was "the face", then,"I don't like that.", when she'd never tried it.

If she happened to be with me at the grocery store, she'd look in the cart, surveying the beets, zucchini, fresh garlic, jicama, kiwi, spinach, etc., then shake her head sadly.
"Honestly, I don't know where you came from. You know your father and I aren't eating any of that, right?"

She'd never had a nectarine or a fresh cherry in her life.
"Honey, of course I've had cherries.", she'd say, slightly exasperated. "There's a jar in the refrigerator right now."

Not that Dad was completely immune to the food weirdness.
He about had a heart attack in the garden one day when I took a green bean off the runner - and ATE IT! RAW! Then gave one TO MY CHILD!
You'd have thought I'd handed The Boy a running chainsaw, lighter fluid and matches, then told him to go play in the street.
Dad was this close to doing the Heimlich maneuver on both of us.

My mother's idea of worldly cuisine was spaghetti. In her defense, she did make award winning spaghetti sauce and everything in it came from their garden. No garlic or Parmesan cheese though ("Smells like baby vomit, how can you eat that?"). Later tacos were added to the repertoire.

We had potatoes just about every night. My job, night after night, was to peel them, mumbling under my breath, "Jeez, what are we, Irish or something!?"
When we did have the other white starch, (usually with stew), there were potatoes in the stew. There was no escaping the tuber. (I rarely eat potatoes anymore - unless they're fried)

My best friend in junior high and high school was from Guam. They had rice like we had potatoes and oh how I loved to eat at her house - heaven! Her father thought I was being polite about eating rice and always asked if I wanted bread and butter. (he thought all us Anglo Saxons did that) "You don't have to eat the rice. Really, you can have bread and butter. No need to be so polite." Oh heck no. Rice please!
Chicken adobo, octopus, soy sauce on roast turkey breast (yummy!), all manner of culinary excitement was eaten at her house. After school we would whip up what she called "Guamanian eggs" - cook diced bacon and onions, then pour in some eggs and scramble. Actually sounds pretty southern don't it?

My one rule for The Boy when it came to eating - he had to take one bite before saying he didn't like it.
That might have back fired though, 'cause he wanted his own order of escargot at five.



"Please, sir, I want some more."

No comments:

Post a Comment