Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Anything But Brussels Sprouts

So my mother was way ahead of her time. If there had been Whole Foods stores around when I was growing up, she would so have been there. If soy milk had been widely available anywhere other than communes in the 70's, that's all I would have been drinking. Instead of chips, I would have had to pop edamame. She even did stir fry, but had to forgo the tofu. Lucky me.

Being a nurse, she was all about eating healthy. My sister and I certainly didn't mind the fruit, and some of the vegetables she tried on us were ok. But, she wouldn't stop at the vegetables we liked oh, no. They weren't the best vegetables, like spinach and brussels sprouts. God love her, that woman tried fifty different ways to prepare cauliflower so that we wouldn't make a face when we ate it.

We had to eat all of our vegetables, that was the rule. Normally, my sister and I would choke whatever it was down, protesting loudly and making gagging noises. But, we did eat it.

One day, however, when I was about 6, I apparently decided that I had had enough. I drew my line in the sand over creamed spinach. My six year old brain had never registered something quite as vile as that stuff. I refused to eat it. My parents told me that I was to stay at the table until I did. I still refused.

So, eventually when the normal course of dinner was over, everyone got up and left. I sat on my chair, firm in my resolve. They moved into the living room, turned the TV on, and promptly forgot my existence. But such was the power of my parents discipline that I dared not move from the table. I think at various points they would yell to see if I had eaten it yet, and I would defiantly say no.

I have no idea if I lasted an hour or fifteen mintues. When you are six, it is so hard to tell. Eventually, I was demoralized enough to eat about a half cup of cold, solidified creamed spinach. My parents never said a word, they just took my plate and told me I could leave the table.

Years later, my sister and I were talking about our mom and laughing over all the things she tried to get us to eat. I said, yeah, well, I pretty much ate them all. My sister started laughing. It seems she had figured out to put the offending food items in her napkin, and then stuff them underneath the pad of her chair. Sometime the next day, she would retrieve the lump, and then throw it away. I had always wondered how my sister, who was ten times more rebellious than myself, had managed to never butt heads with them over the vegetables the way I had that one night. She just kept laughing and then in the time honored tradition of older sisters, rubbed it in.

However, despite all the years my mother attempted to get us to enjoy vegetables, we dislike them almost as much as we did when we were eight.


Suzanne said...

This is one battle I'm not going to engage in. I hated most vegetables as a child, and still do as an adult. Forcing me to eat them had zero effect on my palate.

I used the napkin trick, as well as holding my breath while I ate. By doing that I could chew and swallow but not taste the food I disliked.

chichimama said...

In my household the battle was over using the fork the right way. I sat at the table for a good 3 hours before I finally caved. My mother still says that's the point at which she realized I would be a difficult teenager...

Anvilcloud said...

I made daughter #1 finish a meal once. I swore that I'd never do it again. Victory came at great price that day.

WordsRock said...

Ha, Gina, you are such a wuss to have given in and eaten even a bite of that creamed spinach!

I was once served for breakfast the cold mashed potatoes I had refused to eat the night before. I didn't eat them in the morning either. Got a stubborn streak a mile wide, I do. It was a groundbreaking stand. I never was served them again.

Our family dog was slipped lots of veggies over the years. Damn I loved that dog. :)


Piece of Work said...

I hated vegetables as a kid, too--I guess all kids do-- but I love them now. I can't say that has anything to do with the tactics my parents used. We generally had to eat at least SOME of whatever was on our plate.
I remember sitting at the dining room table for hours after dinner because I wouldn't eat a hamburger, though. I still don't like them.

Karla said...

Shockingly, I love my vegetables now. Maybe its more of a tolerance actually since if I didn't eat them, and given the fact that I don't eat meat, I would probably starve to death.

Vegetables must be so traumatizing. My husband to this day is even leary about brocolli smothered in gobs and gobs of cheese sauce for fear of what green nastiness lurks behind the cheese.