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Food and memory

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Pear salad2
Pear salad, anyone?

Do you have some taste skeletons rattling around in your closet? The foods we learn to love as kids often stay solidly in our preferences, for better or worse.

I’m a child of 1970’s food in recovery. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about food and how to respectfully prepare it. I figure I’ve cooked about 10,000 meals for my family over the last 17 years, and few of them relied on prepared or processed ingredients. But I still adore the taste of Kraft mac and cheese. And those crescent rolls that come in a tube. I craved frozen TV dinners – turkey and dressing – throughout my first pregnancy. Hostess cupcakes occupy a place of near-ecstasy in my memory, too.

I know that those are crappy choices, and when I indulge in a nostalgic cheat, I taste all the chemical falseness of these and their ilk.

Which brings me to the food memories I’m giving my children. Overall, I think their tastes will run to simply prepared meat and veggies, with perhaps a more-than-usual affinity for cream-based dishes. I make a mean creamed brussels sprouts, and a scandalous potato gratin. They’ll like some other questionable choices, too. The frozen pizzas we splurge on most Fridays will probably achieve high stature, recalling the celebratory feel of the weekend. And they both will always like Wendy’s chili – it’s my emergency fast-food savior.

Food choice is wrapped in guilt for a lot of us women, and when we’re moms, too, it can be even more complicated. I don’t have the answers. Like you, I do the best that I can with my diet, and I try to do what’s best for my family. Sometimes I nail it, and sometimes it’s not delivery; it’s Digiorno. At least I never gave them a canned pear half, filled with mayonnaise, and topped with shredded cheese and maraschino cherry. But I sure wish someone would give me one right now – I’d destroy it.



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