By Gerry Wendel, Groovy Reflections Founder and Team Member
Carefully, I picked out every pea from that fried rice, and expertly placed each one close to the edge of my plate; so close they were threatening to tumble onto the finely clothed table. “What are you doing?” my dining date asked. “I HATE green peas!”, was my worn out response.
Nope, it wasn’t the first time I had to explain my fussy eating habits, nor will it be the last. One could say that I was conditioned into this behavior during my childhood. Please, let me explain.
As a very young lady, my Dad simply reminded me from time to time that when he was growing up he was expected to eat all the food on his plate. And he did. Period. His parents, my grandparents, were what you’d call “old school”. You just did what you were told. But perhaps that was a good thing. In regards to food, I recall my Dad once telling me “I like everything.”
I wish that were true for me.
When I was beyond “wee lass” years, around nine or ten, the “rules” really started kicking in. Just a year or two before, our kitchen had a complete remodeling, including a fabulous naugahyde covered bench seat that perfectly fit into a corner of the kitchen, curling around two walls. It was almost like eating in a diner; in fact, that seat did come from a diner that had recently undergone renovation; another one of my Dad’s “finds” that he brought home to give a second life with us.
This bench seat was perfect for disposal of all those icky foods that I refused to put down my throat; there was just enough room in that slit of space where the back met the part our fannies rested on for a little girl’s fingers to slip those previously frozen peas, carrots, and lima beans through.
Unfortunately, it took a while to learn this trick. I first went through a period of time where I sat at the table for up to an hour after everyone else left while my step-mom washed the dishes and kept her eye on me, waiting for those not-so-tasty morsels to go down my throat.
This wasn’t good. Sitting there kept me from reading my Mad Magazines and listening to records. What to do?
Our toy poodle, Oliver, that nine pound tornado of energy, liked to eat, right? Hmmm. I tried slipping him a lima. I thought he ate it; I truly did. Slipped him another. “What ARE you doing? Don’t give the dog YOUR food!” Guess I should have been a little less obvious. That hot, sticky, summer night, I sat on the naugahyde until I was glued to it. My mistake, wearing shorts and allowing bare leg to touch it. But better than eating lima beans.
A few days later, I realized that the old seating booth was my friend after all when it transformed into a vegetable depository. Now, I was in control! I could eat what I wanted, and just make the rest go away. Never got caught. Fussy eating habits ensued. So now, if you ever dine with me and see me picking through my food, you’ll understand why!