A Child’s Guide: Ways to Avoid Eating Nasty Food

My earlier post about medieval food (Roo in a Sewe, 2/15/15) put me in mind of the following true story.

As a kid I hated, oh, so many foods. Like most, I was good with the starch family, not so good with the legion of predatory vegetables, including, but not limited to brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, okra, beets, squash, and any form of those pallid, mutant brain stems commonly referred to as cauliflower.

Avoid eating nasty foodVisiting my grandparents was the most challenging time of all for food, because they hewed to a worldview in which every supper must include one gnarly vegetable and everything on the plate must be eaten.

Desperate times call for desperate measures

One grandmother, a truly sweet and loving person, thought she was an excellent cook when, in fact, she was not. And because she was sweet and loving, she would go out of her way to whip up dishes we kids were sure to enjoy. Her version of pizza stands out in my mind. Here’s the recipe:

Line the bottom of a glass Pyrex dish with Wonderbread, place a dollop of Heinz tomato ketchup on each slice, top with Kraft Singles, broil and enjoy!

She once made me a non-alcoholic mint julep (Why, Grandma, why?) so impregnated with sugar that an ant city blistered from the ground beneath my bedroom window when I surreptitiously poured it out.

I am not sure which cousin came up with the idea that allowed us to safely avoid eating gross food, but whomever it was deserves a Nobel Prize. Because there were so many people in the house, we sat at a separate “kids” table. The plan was devilishly simple: slide the vegetable off the plate and onto the table and from there into your lap. Then you would slide it into a pant pocket, excuse yourself to the bathroom and consign the payload to the toilet.

The fact that—in the space of one summer—we abruptly stopped complaining about so many foods was never remarked on. Nor was the fact that our troop of seven cousins took so many trips to the bathroom you’d think we had amoebic dysentery.

Pork ChopsThe plan worked great with relatively solid, if slippery, veggies like fried okra and brussel sprouts but, as you can imagine, our pockets were less than excellent for soft, saucy things like canned beets. Still, when faced with adversity, one turns one’s face to the wind and bears down. Creamed corn from a can was my pocket’s particular cross to bear.

Our perfidy was finally revealed when one cousin, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, tried to flush an entire bone-in pork chop. It clogged the pipes until the toilet was plunged and the meat came bobbing to the surface.

After that, the gig was up.

Bonus Treat: check out this hysterical vine that shows you exactly how to behave when eating nasty food at a friend’s house.

What have you done in the past when there was something hella nasty on your plate, but it wasn’t OK not to not eat it? Tell me in a comment below!

  • How’s this for hiding vegetables. Living in the south summer time was notorious for my mother fixed stewed breaded tomatoes. Just the thought of it still makes me nauseous. Wonder bread rolled into balls mixed with stewed 1/2 tomatoes in a bowl. We subscribed to the three girl scout bites in my family. I used to wad them into my napkin and hold them in my lap until given the sign of approval for eating a portion of them. Once set at the table for almost 2 hours because I would not eat the stewed tomatoes. Love the story. Keep them coming.

    • LOL. That is hysterically disgusting. I seriously have to ask, what were our people thinking? Someone I know sat for an hour when confronted by his parents with a plate of pork and beans. He finally choked some down and promptly threw up all over the dining room table. Of course I have now experienced this from the other side. Based on my earlier scarring, I don’t force the kids to eat anything, but I thought I was going to tear my hair out when one of them refused to taste chocolate.

  • You made me laugh so spontaneously at the cousin shenanigans you described that I literally had the coffee I was drinking back up into my nose so I wouldn’t spit it all over my keyboard.

  • Very simple. I would start gagging and since no one wanted to watch me barf, I could leave the table. I wish I could claim it was a devious plan on my part, but it was completely involuntary.

    • I can completely imagine that. I find I have sympathy for both you AND your parents, just as–looking back–I have sympathy for both me and the poor adults who tried to feed me veggies. The truth is, so many of these foods were probably just fine, but kids have an amazing ability to work up their own revulsion to dizzying heights. That’s nine tenths of what makes it so funny. PS – I was also a nightmare about swallowing pills. Getting me to swallow pills involved the displacement of great gouts of water on the floor and all around the sink.

  • I love love love your blog! I have literally burst out laughing! Keep them coming, I cannot wait for your next one!

    • Thanks. It’s all about motivation. I have a couple writers who live in an abandoned bomb shelter beneath my backyard. I slip food through a slot in the cast-iron door every time they write something people like. So far so good. But if the comments stop coming, well…

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