For one, I had a mom who loved to cook – lucky me, but I didn’t always like what she made. My parents never forced me to eat or stay at the table until I finished a meal. They believed that if I was hungry enough, I’d eat, and they believed I was developing a discriminating palate! I was much older when the latter occurred, but it’s nice to remember how my parents thought. I continued the practice with my own kids, and now I see my little guys being raised the same way.
My breakfasts during the school year were always bowls of cereal, sometimes with fruit. I tried to get some of those no-no cereals – Frosted Flakes, Sugar Pops, Sugar Crisps, etc. – but my mom usually stuck to Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, and Cheerios. On Sundays, we always had fried eggs with bacon, sausage, or scrapple. (Yes, I do like scrapple, despite its bad rep.) My Dad would get rolls, donuts, and pastries from the bakery. It was a true feast! I do remember having poached, scrambled, and soft-boiled eggs, so maybe that was a weekday treat.
My lunches nearly always consisted of the banal PB&J. I went through a stage of only liking strawberry jelly, then another where I only ate grape. Sometimes, we had hot dogs, and I also developed a liking for bologna and liverwurst. Both meats had to be on “squishy” white bread with schmears of mayo. Later in childhood, I discovered that tuna salad was also yummy.
Dinners were a bit more of a battle. I didn’t like a lot of meats; I always wanted chicken. My mother told me the story of the five-year-old me going to visit my uncle and family in Michigan. They served prime rib for dinner, and I refused to eat it. “I only eat chicken.” To which my uncle replied, “Oh, you’ll love this. It’s chicken on the hoof.” That’s when I learned to like beef. In the vegetable line, I only ate corn on the cob and fresh string beans. My mother would serve other veggies, but I never ate them. Thank heaven that attitude changed because now I love veggies.
Unfortunately, I also loved junk food – cookies, pretzels, chips, popcorn, and those awful orangey things. My mom limited both the availability and quantity, but my addiction was already in place. It must not have been all that harmful, though because I was rarely sick.
Nowadays, I eat a variety of foods in all groups, and I still crave junk at times. So, my childhood wasn’t a true indication of my later choices. It’s the reason I give little concern to the preferences of my grandies. They’ll grow just fine.