Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Peanut Butter Soup = Good

I’ve been charged with  harbouring too much rage about my childhood. I’ve been told that, like the 5440 song, I blame my parents and my “memory’s lost to pride” (even that relentless guitar sort of does feel like my teenage me). I’ve heard the phrase “get over it” more than once.

But what does that have to do with the price of eggs?

Food and I have had a somewhat strained relationship. First there was that whole “eww, breastmilk again!” phase. Followed by a phase of total eating abandon; I was most known at around 18 months for saying “Opa”, meaning “sopa”, the Portuguese word for soup. And I had a lot of it. Like many other kids, or so I gather, this phase was followed by a picky as all get out phase. I remember hating meat, steak especially, and chewing wads of it for what felt like hours as it got dry and no less broken down in my mouth. This was especially problematic on trips to visit family, where my failure to eat was a constant source of stress, confusion and charges of “spoiled”. At 9, I think I survived in Portugal on bread and water. They ate butter instead of the margarine I was used to, the seafood was eaten still wriggling, the milk was whole and I could see the cow it came from, even the juice tasted weird. I still get embarrassed now thinking about my unappreciative behaviour. There is small comfort in the possibility that as a child I was particularly sensitive to tastes, textures and smells.

I was better through the teen years though I don’t remember enjoying the majority of food made at home, a classic meat and potatoes type of setting, often with beans or boiled vegetables though with fresh garden salad (lettuce and tomatoes. every. day.). And, what I have come to believe is a Portuguese affliction, little flavour beyond olive oil. [Olive oil is lovely especially now that it doesn’t flavour my cod or get used on my various bruises]. Others will deny this about Portuguese cuisine but I ask them to prove it. Please. Moving out and living in residence in first year did not improve my love of food much  since the same day-in day-out cafeteria options always seem limiting and I got myself into weird habits like having spinach, carrots, and mushrooms every day.

Since developing a more accepting palate, discovering spices and working at cooking for myself and choosing what I like to eat, I’ve learned that I LOVE food. It’s exciting I have to admit. I still don’t prefer saucy beans, dry meat, or fish that’s not candied or barbecued in fantasticness but mealtime is a much more enjoyable experience and one that I look forward to, at least when I make the time to cook what I want. Do I blame my parents? Maybe some. Though I think I’m lucky to appreciate food so much now. But more than anything, I think it’s a good reminder of the many joys of adulthood.

And on that note: the peanut butter soup was delicious.

This post was brought to you by procrastination.

May 7, 2010 - Posted by | Childhood Complaints, Portuguese-ness?


  1. Reading your words makes me feel as though I’m still sitting in the room next to you. I love your food too 🙂

    And what kid isn’t picky (Uh Phill only eating Shreddies for a whole year…)

    Comment by Katie Chipman | May 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. YOU HAVE A BLOG AGAIN!!!! How exciting! And so random that we are on the same picky-eating-post wavelength. We are joined at the hip of our psyches, methinks.

    A most excellent description of why I don’t eat meat either, by the way. Dry and chewed forever but no less broken down. That’s why my sister won’t eat celery. She can’t chew it without it turning into a mess of cud.

    Comment by Dana | May 13, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] my mom is from, Terceira, was positively earth-shattering. Though admittedly, I struggled with food and proper decorum, other aspects of the trip were fascinating. Meeting my grandmother, the only grandparent I have […]

    Pingback by Words (and other things resembling words) that warm my cockles: 3 « Waste not, want more | June 20, 2010 | Reply

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