When I was 7 or 8 years old, my mother told me one day that we would be having linguini for dinner. LINGUINI??!!!!
This information was just what it took for me to have a complete meltdown, especially since my mother insisted that I was going to eat it. Whether I wanted to or not.
I have vague memories of sitting on the floor, bawling my eyes out because I was going to have to eat linguini. How could my mother do that to me? It was cruel. Beyond cruel. This was child abuse.
Even at that tender age, though, I had the presence of mind to be completely mortified at my behavior when I finally found out that linguini was just a word for a specific kind of pasta. Why my mother didn’t just tell me that to begin with, I don’t know. It could be that she thought I knew already, that she didn’t consider that I wouldn’t know that. Or it could be she thought it was incredibly funny to watch me have a nervous breakdown over it, so she let me continue believing that linguini was some horrible, foreign, scary substance that I would be forced to ingest by the people who were supposed to love me.
I’m pretty sure she didn’t tell me because she was too amused to do so. My mother would totally do something like that.
So, yeah, as you can tell, I wasn’t the easiest child to feed. I spent many a dinner time munching on buttered noodles while my parents ate something else. Something I wouldn’t touch with a 100-foot pole. I spent years eating pasta (with butter, cheese, sauce — there are a million ways to eat pasta, and that’s not counting the seafood sauces), cheeseburgers, steak, chicken (only white meat, thank you), turkey and various sandwiches. I wouldn’t eat pork in any form. My mother had to force-feed me vegetables. I did like a lot of fruit, but not all of it. The only form of potato I would even consider was the French fry. I loved pizza. Until high school, though, the idea of a chicken wing made me gag.
I’m kind of surprised I managed to ingest enough essential nutrients to survive into adulthood, but here I am. And now, in my 30s, I finally eat! Lots of things:
Vegetables of all kinds!
I never did learn to like seafood, although I had crab legs once at a friend’s house and they were OK. I became vegetarian in February 2008, though, so that meant the end of experimenting with seafood. And put an end to my love affair with pulled pork. (Which I discovered by accident at a function I attended as a reporter in St. Marys, Georgia. It was a buffet. I thought the pork was beef, so I took a large helping. And it was Really Good.)
Like anyone, there are still tastes that I don’t care for. But if you invite me for dinner (I’m accepting invitations!), I’ll probably at least try anything you offer, as long as it’s meat-free.
Don’t worry, though. My teenage daughter is paying me back in spades for the eating habits of Younger Me. She’s pickier than I ever was.