Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Bites

Watching.  No, scratch that.  Participating in the scene at our dinner table last night I was suddenly transported back in time at least 35 years.  Honestly I don't know how old I was when it happened, I just remember it clearly.  Like it was yesterday. 

And it wasn't pretty.

There I sat, all those years ago, at our dinner table.  I can not only picture the scene, but also feel it - if that is at all possible.   I can still feel the intense frown upon my face.  I think I started with my cheeks in my hands, elbows on the table.  I was staring down at them, not sure what I was going to do.  My mother had given me the ultimatum.  You WILL sit there until those peas are gone.

Now, I don't quite understand my childhood aversion to them.  Now peas are delicious to me.  I can finish off a bowl of them, if they are fresh.  Actually, I realize that this might have been the issue.  Freshness I mean.  Over the years my wonderful mother has turned into a fabulous cook, but back then?  Back then all our green vegetables were a slimy, tasteless mush.  And I couldn't.  WOULDN'T eat them.

It was my older sister who came up with the brilliant idea.  At least it was better than any that I could come up with at the time.  "Just stick them in your mouth and wash them down with milk" she chided me.  "You can do it!" 

Well, something had to happen.  So I held my breath and did just that.  I shoved the whole serving of mushy peas into my mouth in several spoonfuls, grabbed my glass of milk and took a huge gulp.  Unfortunately, I hadn't thought through my next steps.

That's because I hadn't chewed any on them.  So, there I sat with my mouth bulging at the seams with a slush of milk and slimy peas.   Not sure what to do next, and unwilling to chew them I sat there for what seemed like an eternity.  In truth it must have been no more than 10 or 15 seconds.  With several sets of eyes fixed upon me, waiting to see what would happen.

Then, in an instant, the 1970's air was filled with a spray of milky, mushy peas projecting forth across the room.  Oh yes, all these years later I can still picture it clearly.  Thankfully, after cleaning up the mess, I was excused.  I didn't have to eat any peas that night.  And not for years afterwards either.

Fast forward to last night.  "Three bites, Lukas" Mrs. LIAYF told him.  "You have to eat three bites of kale, before you leave the table.  Only then can watch a video."   He scrunched up his nose as I held out the fork with the first bite of of the stringy green leaf.  I'm not sure why, as it was fresh and actually good.  He then made a face as he started chewing it and stuck up his hand to spit it into. 

"No, buddy. Just chew it quickly and swallow it.  It's not so bad."  And then I threw in the kicker.  "Here, take a drink of milk with it.  It will help."

It was at the point he had the cup to his mouth that I flashed back all those years, to my peas incident. Oh, no! I held my breath, not unlike all those years ago.  Would the kale come rocketing from his mouth right back at me?

Thankfully no.  He actually had the fortitude to finish off all three of those bites, despite not liking them.  I was duly impressed.

And with that, he got his video.  But not a lasting memory.


Diplo_Daddy said...

When those peas exit the other side, you're in for a real mess! You got a gas mask handy?

Adam said...

For me, it was always Lima beans growing up. I have no idea why my Father insisted upon always having lima beans, but we did. I once sat at the table for 2 hours, unwilling to eat them. It was quite the stalemate. I lost in the end, of course.

Mrs. M said...

Funny how fast a memory can come flooding back. I used to just chew food I didn't like up and leave it in my mouth until my cheeks wouldn't hold anymore. My mom called me a chipmunk.

Lady Mama said...

I don't have any memories of eating something I didn't want to as a kid - either I wasn't fussy or my parents were strict. My kids are good about eating their veggies mostly, but they won't touch anything like spinach or kale, unfortunately. Hoping that will change.

Barbara L said...

Stewed Tomatoes. My Mom loved stewed tomatoes. She made them once a month even though I gagged on them, my brother sort of tolerated them and my Dad dumped ketsup on them and ate them. I was not allowed to leave the table until I ate them. I would sit and sit. Finally gagging and choking enough down to make mom let me go. Until one night I ate a big bite, gagged, choked and threw up on the table. My Dad said never again.

Ed said...

From the files of stuff I learned as a kid: as repulsive as they may be, warm Brussels Sprouts are a hell of a lot more palatable than cold!

Clint said...

There were few things I Hated to eat growing up. The lone thing that stands out is Rice o Roni- to this day I am not sure why. Maybe because we had it a couple times a week.

Kraneia said...

I never liked peas when I was little, either.... I had a BRILLIANT idea though, if I stuck them between the chair cushions and the chairs (we had those wooden ones that match the table), no one would notice except that they were gone.

Worked good, till mom went to clean the chairs. I kinda forgot to dispose of the evidence.


Alan said...

Great post, that took me write back to sitting at our kitchen table. Mashed potatoes were my peas. I hated them. Got told I would go to bed if I didn't eat them by 6. Which meant they had sat on my plate for an hour. Two minutes to six, and I'm scooping cold concrete mix into my mouth.

Flash forward three years. I eat them while they're hot. They are delicious.

Knatolee said...

I love kale, but I think Lukas had a harder task with THAT than you did with peas! Brassicas, woah Nelly. :) Glad he didn't spray the room.

DGB said...

I used to have an aversion to steak. Chewed a piece for 10 minutes.


Great post.

Anonymous said...

I used to use a gallon of French's mustard on my mother's spinach. It provided enough spice and lubrication that it slide down my throat without the need to chew. Now I eat a ton of spinach - baby spinach salad mostly - and my son will eat it, but I have to withhold DVD privileges as well.

Scott said...

Yes, I read recently that our most awkward, or otherwise mildly unpleasant memories make the best stories--as this post illustrates!

My father tells me that when his father was a kid, he was eating at the house of extended-family members (aunt & uncle perhaps), when he was served English peas, which he strongly disliked. But he was stuck, so he gobbled them up as fast as he could, to get it over with. You know what happened next! Yes, his aunt(?) said, "Oh, you really like the peas don't you--well, here's some more!"