Thursday, December 11, 2014

Confessions of a picky eater

My brother and I in the early 60s  in a camera shop. Maybe I am eight? My father stopped taking photos of me once I hit five or so as I was deemed no longer was photogenic. The instamatic photos were taken by someone else (my father would never stoop as low to use an instamatic)

Toddler Sue..I was born fat. Always 99+tile for height and weight

At the peak of awkwardness and chunkiness at age 12 riding Sugar the palomino. I am wearing a shirt I sewed myself. By the time I was 13, all the babyfat was gone returning only when I was pregnant and then menopausal. Maybe I will lose it next year?
Are food aversions genetic? Probably. My father was the pickiest eater I ever knew existing mainly on lots of white bread and meat. The only new food he tried since childhood was pizza, which he loved.  Despite his limited diet, he was profoundly obese for most of his life.

As a child, I was not exposed to many foods due to his tastes. And the foods he loved, I hated. By hate, I would gag on them. Fortunately I didn't have to eat many of the things I hated. Some how it was decided that I did have to eat canned peaches and canned corn, which unfortunately came up frequently in the limited rotation. The dog would eat the corn. For the peaches, I would pretend to wash my hands and drop them in the garbage disposal, which worked for a while until my mom went to retrieve a dropped object and came up with  a handful of slimy peaches. When we lived in upstate NY, an older neighbor frequently checked up on us sensing that my parents were clueless. Once my father left for Michigan, she invited us over for dinner. I could smell the broccoli cooking: it smelled disgusting. This lady believed that kids should eat anything put in front of the, My mother meekly said that I didn't eat broccoli. Nonsense! I don't think I ate it. I do like broccoli now and so do my kids. However the grandsons will not come near it.

We had potatoes every night. Hate them. Eggs every morning. Hate them. Also hated the frequently served canned peas, spam, canned roast beef hash, canned pears, lunch meat and baked beans. Yet I still managed to be overweight despite not eating most of things put before me. I craved desserts and candy. I learned to cook at an early age so I could have the foods I wanted.

When I was a teenager, I was exposed to more foods and loved them. Chinese food (never in our house except for dented cans of  chowmein). College exposed me to much more particularly in the co-op where half of our meals were vegetarian. I do try new things and find that I like some of them. Inner nag constantly tells Sue to grow up and grow a pair.

Last night was our cooking class. For the holidays, red rice with spinach (and cherries) was prepared. This I liked. The other main dish was a mix of pineapple, roasted beets, parsnips, yams and carrots..pretty but nothing that I would ever eat normally, particularly the beets. I choked some of it down. Still can't eat them. We had some 'healthy' desserts. frozen sliced bananas that had peanut butter between them covered in molten chocolate. Also frozen grapes that were to be covered in a dusting of flavored jello but as things are vegetarian, vegan sugar was substituted. (and how is sugar anything but vegan? No charcoal made from animal bones was used to whiten it).

Bananas are part of my aversions. I just ate the chocolate. I do eat banana bread as well as French fries and latkes. Steve hates onions but craves French onion soup. Go figure.

A lot of the vegetables and combinations are new to my fellow classmates. One man
said that as a child, he was forced to eat everything put in front of him so he guessed he would eat last night's dishes. He came from a large family. The table happened to have a shelf underneath the table top were he and his siblings would sneak the foods they had on to the shelf where they could dispose of what they hated at a later time. Yep the mom must have noticed the shelf full of rotting food but I guess she decided to pick her battles.

I vowed I would not torture my kids by making them eat things repulsive to them. I tried to expose them to as many foods as possible. Shanna was the least picky but her sons are extremely picky. I don't know how they subsist. There were many things Josh wouldn't eat as a child but now he eats about anything. Naomi remains the pickiest. Anything she deems 'spicy' she won't touch. She also avoids seafood but managed to develop a taste for scallops, lobster, crab and shrimp. She presumably ate oysters the other day (still don't believe that). So far the granddaughters (of three different kids) seem to be not picky.

Four months ago, a woman with advanced stage 4 cancer said that in 3 months, she will be 'gone'. Last month, she showed up unable to speak and eat. Breathing was painful as fluid accumulated around her lungs. Her handsome son spoke for her. I did not understand why she would come and assumed I would never see her again. She came last night with her son. This time she could speak and eat, a miracle. She said the treatment had been killing her faster than the cancer. Once she stopped treatment, she felt better. She ate seconds.

And my new friend, the Fellow Traveler, has a boyfriend who needs work as a contractor..drywall, electrical and plumbing work, he does it all. Yay! Lots of that to be done. But an electrician is coming today to undo the damage mice did in our electrical box. How they got into the opening is as small as a dime.

Usually in the winter I hope that time just speeds on by so I won't have to deal with the darkness, coldness and iciness. But now that I am pressed for time (should not be blogging!!!), I am hoping that it slows down a bit. And the weather has been reasonable excepting that ice around Thanksgiving. I've been able to exercise outside almost every day. It will be warm enough to bike this weekend.

Below are my parents in front of my Grandfather's fancy Barton Hills house (sold 10 years ago for 1.5 million). My mom always has been quite slim. My dad: chunky. They are both 21 or 22 here, younger than Naomi is now.



Elephant's Child said...

Oh the memories. We were brought up to eat everything that was put in front of us. My father said that he did - so we had to. (And didn't mention that if he didn't like something it wasn't served.)]
I got presented with the same piece of liver for three consecutive meals, and it would have reappeared if my mother hadn't told my father it had gone off.
There have to be better things to battle over than food...

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Fortunately I wasn't tortured with liver as this was on my father's aversion list. I tried not to force my kids to eat things they hated but I did draw the line at letting my son order a cannoli as his main course in an Italian restaurant.


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