I was having a conversation with The Cat the other day about how my food tastes keep changing. He said his tastes haven’t changed and he quickly rattled off the five things he likes to eat “bag food, treats, tuna and the green stuff that makes me believe I can run through walls…” Then went back to reading “Kafka on the Shore”. Anyway, it got me to thinking about how my food tastes have changed since I was a kid and keep changing to this day…
I was positive I had a discerning palate in kindergarten. I mean most kids were fine with the usual snack of graham crackers and milk, but I knew better than to fill up on that garbage. I knew the very best food was a pâté of sorts and given out in the little black bowls. Most of my classmates wasted theirs on egg carton Christmas Trees covered with glitter meant to festoon their parent’s refrigerators. My parent’s fridge went artless in lieu of my paste habit…that is until I discovered the nutty deliciousness that was Elmer’s glue.
School lunch programs were often looked down upon by my peers but I happened to love everything about them. The pressed turkey chunks floating in a moat of wall paper paste (read: gravy) circling a spackle grade mound of instant potato, pizza that if dropped on edge could crack floor tiles and spaghetti that had been cooked so long it was approaching night crawler diameter. I remembered thinking how picky my peers were and how lucky I was to benefit from their misgivings about canned spinach that tasted more like dirt than actual spinach.
My first apartment consisted of little more than two lawn chairs, a two-by- twelve plank resting across milk crates with a big assed TV balancing precariously on the plank and a bed. In this virtual palace I had the finest foods any 19 year old cash strapped teen would have. There were piles of ramen noodles, minute rice, beef or chicken bouillon cubes (cause that’s how I rolled), four for a dollar canned vegetables and limes. The limes of course were for the gin but also to fend off scurvy. I was after all a student of history and read something somewhere about how they prevented this… or was that the clap? What about meat?! Meat was only eaten by the wealthy, well the wealthy and people who weren’t busy with the serious business of drinking their bodyweight in top-shelf gin.
Thinking I knew all there was to know about food and cooking I attended culinary school and found out there was more to Asian food than the venerable pu-pu platter, meat pies could be made without black magic or witchcraft and saucisson, pâtés, rillettes, terrines were not mythical Greek creatures from Homer’s Odyssey. In learning these things I started adopting new ingredients and food stuffs into my life, abandoning others and yet there were still things I clung to.
Soft serve ice cream I believe is the treat of choice…In Hell. Seeing packets of “Taco seasoning” makes me feel like kicking furry little animals. I want desperately to punch the person who came up with frozen pizza in the temple. I have no idea who’s buying hamburger friggin helper or why. That being said… I still enjoy the shame and taste of the occasional Filet O’ Fish sandwich. I very nearly can’t contain the joy I feel when I eat a Zero bar. Slim Jims should be a food group. Deviled ham… rub it on my nipples or eat it, sometimes I can’t decide.
About every ten years or so I look back on the previous ten years and say to myself, “What the hell were you thinking?!” I’m wondering; does this continue until I’m drinking my low fat, low sodium, low iron, high in protein, gluten free dinner through a straw because I have no teeth, and who the hell is this man pushing me out to the solarium?! What foods do you refuse to give up, and which foods are you convinced are made in the depths of hell itself?
What’s that?! What was The Cat’s fifth favorite food to eat?! Oh, well for the sake of total disclosure… “his ass”. Ugh, where’s the cat nip?!