Friday, April 15, 2011


Spring inflicts the nostalgia of grilling. For me, there is nothing like getting home early from work only to steal the rest of a sunny day. It's like getting tax free money from the government. You mean I can drink a few beers, grill on our porch, marvel at the yard I scaped and since it's early I can be ready to be back at work free of hangover the next day? Fuckin' A right man!

Within my internal clock, the lengthening days and plentiful sun provide the nostalgia of grilling with dad, miscounting beers, and waddling to the kitchen table, grinning because mom only thinks we drank 2 beers and is satisfied we insist on water with dinner(We are merely biding time until we can go back outside and start being boys again).

Time and time again, whenever I get that early slip out of the office, I find myself grabbing the $3.22 package of Chicken Thighs, Bar-b-que sauce, a can of baked beans, and a six pack of suds. It's a ten dollar meal with leftovers that spawn instant happiness. I slink outside, blaring music that was popular in the mid 90s thinking that was only a few years ago, and I get happy. It feels good, I feel free, the dopamine washes through my system and I think this is why we live to eat.

There are those however who find no adventure in food and often find new and unfamiliar food scary. "I don't like that, ewwww"...


The responses are predictable ranging anywhere from "It sounds gross", "I don't know, I just don't like it", "Long story, bad memories", or the tale of someone lovingly throwing together a Insert Name Here "Special" that ends up looking like dog shit twice passed and 48 hours old, generally with a pale yellowish color.

Regardless of personal reason, the intuitive central theme of disliking certain foods involve a negative memory. Instead of conjuring pleasure, food can cause pain. Fear, sadness, the deep rift in your soul you push away merely to move on to happier times.

For my father, Asparagus conjures up his wildly abusive step-dad making "Canned Tuna Fish with Canned Asparagus Omelets" and forcing them down the hatch with the gusto of a tyrant conducting mass genocide. For my wife, Bar-b-qued chicken resurrects the bad times in life...single mom, broken home, working 15 hours a day, and fixing the same meal of "Dry Chicken, Bar-B-Que Sauce, with Broccoli Cheddar Rice". My cousin once barfed all over the dinner table because her broccoli casserole touched another food on her plate. "EV-ery-THING needs to be separated on the plate" my Aunt reported, defending this heinous action (thanks for the heads up, and I still HATE Broccoli Cheddar Casserole).

Every time my mouth waters for bar-b-que'd chicken thighs, my wife denies with a child-like "Yuck". I feel like that secretive overly obese person who buys McDonald's and sits in their car crying in an empty parking lot as they eat...similarly I wait for my wife to work a night shift leaving me home alone...all the while I greedily lick my chops, happy to be alone and indulge in my own filth. I keep checking through the closed blinds, sneaking another juicy bite, making sure she isn't coming home early to catch me with bar-b-que face, dirty neck napkin, and bar-b-que hands (Remembrances of watching The Playboy Channel when I was 14).

Observantly through my posts you discern I'm an adventurous eater. But why? Was it because Mom and dad MADE me try everything at least once? I used to sob and gag at the table when dad would yell at me to finish my omelet (dry, cheese all eaten, nothing but bland grossness), often compromising at going hungry and sitting in my room as punishment. What made me change in some ways yet still abhor Broccoli and Cheddar Casserole?

Our preference for food is a microcosm of our life. Regardless of negative memory, some cope and thrive while some never recover. For me, the bad memories weren't all that bad and my palate changed. I grew to appreciate my father's berating at the non-appreciation of my mother's dry omelets and I pressed on to enjoy new ventures, appreciative that they always encouraged/forced me to try new things. Other fallen citizens never got up the gusto to conquer new territory, thusly falling into the category of eating the familiar for whatever comfortable reason it invoked.

Regardless the category of eater ("New And Exciting", vs "Just The Familiar Please"), I am convinced we all Live to Eat. And I still contend that when done the right way, in the right setting, and with the right person (just like anything in life), the fear of the dreaded ingredients can be changed. Thusly pushing away the fear, darkness, and pain, only to liberate our hearts with the pleasure of something new.

1 comment:

  1. i am still sticking with canned veggies are a nasty thing. but as for grilled chicken thighs with bbq sauce i drool.

    i have to stop reading the blogs now just because they keep making me want to cook.