My parents cooked home meals every single night, even though they both worked full time. They never fed me “little kid food” like blue boxed macaroni & cheese or frozen chicken nuggets, and when they did it turned into a disaster.
I remember one weekend when I was seven years old my mom was on a work trip and my dad was in charge of feeding me. He’s a great cook, so my mom wasn’t too worried about it.
One night I begged my dad to make me macaroni & cheese “from the blue box”.
It’s not that difficult to make, boil water, pour in neon orange powdered “cheese”, stir in milk & butter. I figured if he could make delicious chili and amazing roasted chicken, he could handle a little Mac & cheese.
When I came into the kitchen, I noticed the room smelled funny. I hesitantly looked into my bowl and found my neon orange pasta covered in black stuff.
“uh dad, did you see pepper on the ingredients list I gave you?”
“well, no but I wanted to give it flavor”
I looked back into the bowl and noticed a bunch of other random colors.
“why would you season macaroni and cheese?? I’m calling mom!”
I then called her and told her my dad was trying to ruin my life because he made the mac & cheese wrong. I may have been a little dramatic back then. Ok, I still am dramatic.
I then called my mom and begged her to come back home to make me real mac & cheese.
Looking back on this day, I realize that my dad was trying to turn fake food into something that tasted a little less boxed. This disaster was the turning point in my food choices.
I used to be obsessed with the show “Arthur.” He was an aardvark (or was he an anteater?) that taught me to try everything once. Unfortunately for me, my mom watched this show with me and picked up on his food lesson. She always made me “try everything once” including zucchini (yuck), onions (yuck) and squash (double yuck). I quickly became the little girl who would try anything. I ate everything my parents made, which was always a healthy, balanced meal.
To this day, she still tells me I should “try everything once”. In fact, just a couple days ago she encouraged me to try a piece of zucchini.
“Remember what Arthur always says?”
I quickly reminded her she wore that phrase out on zucchini 11 years ago. Yes I remember exactly how old I was, It was that bad.
Just because I loved my healthy “grown up foods” doesn’t mean I didnt love my sweets. I was a cookie, cupcake and brownie fiend. My childhood food memories include cooking with my dad, and baking with my mom.
I ate pretty healthy, but I definitely never deprived myself. I never really thought about calories, nutrients, fat or anything like that. I was a cheerleader from ages 7-15, so of course I was a little aware of what I was eating, but it was never obsessive.
Everything changed during my Junior year of high school, but I’ll save that for part 2 :)
What were your childhood meals like?
Were you picky? The kid who ate anything?