The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

You gonna eat that?


We all see things a little differently. And that includes food. I have evolved from a very picky eater as a child into a not-so-picky eater as an adult.

I think most children are picky eaters. Few kids jump right on spinach or lima beans as snack food or treats. At least I never knew any. Desserts were high on preference scales followed by meat and potatoes (burgers and French Fries, primarily, with hot dogs and potato chips right behind). And I was as picky as could be. I ate no mayonnaise (which, in my house, was Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and "butter" was the cheapest margarine that could be found), my veggies could not touch anything else (including each other) on my plate, didn't think much of gravy, and ordered "plain bologna sandwiches" when we would go to a restaurant. Of course, I would always ask to have the crust cut off the bread also. I very rarely drank milk. The restaurants we ate at (on the very rare instances that we went out to eat), by the way, were more properly called roadside diners and strongly resembled railroad dining cars.

Looking back, I don't know how I managed to be picky. My mother, bless her heart, was a terrible cook. We ate things like "hockey puck" burgers, crispy pork chops and very lumpy (from scratch) or soupy (from a box) mashed potatoes, spaghetti sauce made from tomato paste and water, and Velveeta was our cheese. Veggies were always out of a can or frozen, never fresh and were a bit mushy. Fish was Mrs Paul's Fish Sticks (also a bit mushy) on the rare occasion that we got them. I added salt to everything... except cereal... to which I added sugar...even to Frosted Flakes. But everything cooked by my mother was well done to burnt... mostly the latter.

Let me tell you about those burgers and pork chops. Mom had a cast iron skillet. Maybe two or three. She would melt a heaping tablespoon of lard (Crisco) in it, throw 3" wide ground chuck patties (made by hand... I pounded to 1/2" flat) into it and cook them until they were blackened and hard as the table top. When she tossed one on your plate, it would skitter across it. It was also, at that point, only about 2-1/2" wide. An un-smooth hockey puck. The very thin pork chops were also cooked to a dark brown and crispy texture in that same skillet, also skittered across the plate, and were known to break loose baby teeth.

I thought this was normal. That restaurants undercooked everything. That vegetables were blah. Needless to say, I was not brought up to be a gourmand. And this, along with genetics, might explain why I weighed 133 lbs at 5'11' when I was 19.

When I went to Boot Camp in 1965 at age 19, this began to change. My early experiences with food worked, along with the constant exercise and marching, to make Navy food seem wonderful. I gulped down two glasses (actually 10 ounce cups) of milk at each meal, ate everything they gave me, and perhaps more. It may have been because there was never anything more exotic than lima beans on the trays. It may have been because nothing was seasoned beyond the use of salt by the cooks. You can say what you want about military food but the Navy food was excellent in my opinion. Even if everything, including fried chicken, seemed to taste like roast beef.

Today I eat my steaks medium to medium rare, pork chops are thick and juicy, vegetables (while still mostly the frozen) are cooked to less than mushy, burgers are nowhere near crispy, fish is broiled or grilled and never from Mrs Paul (or Groton) - though I admit to liking Capt D's- and I will try most anything on a menu. And, though I never add salt or pepper to restaurant meals, I like spiced up food. Not hot, mind you, but well seasoned.

I still won't eat liver. Or onions. Especially together.


3 comments:

syromalabarian1 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sightingsat60 said...

I think you're right -- most kids are picky eaters, esp. these days when food is cheap and families are small.

But my experience is the opposite. I grew up in a large family, with many hands grabbing at the serving dishes, and so if you wanted to eat at all you didn't have time to be selective, you had to snatch what was within reach and gobble it down.

I have become more picky as I've gotten older and realized that what you eat determines in large part how you feel. I try to stay away from the meat; and eat my veggies. And . . . well, I'm still a sucker for desserts. But then you only live once!

Check out my (relatively new) boomer blog at sightingsat60.blogspot.com/. Thx!

Sightingsat60 said...

I think you're right -- most kids are picky eaters, esp. these days when food is cheap and families are small.

But my experience is the opposite. I grew up in a large family, with many hands grabbing at the serving dishes, and so if you wanted to eat at all you didn't have time to be selective, you had to snatch what was within reach and gobble it down.

I have become more picky as I've gotten older and realized that what you eat determines in large part how you feel. I try to stay away from the meat; and eat my veggies. And . . . well, I'm still a sucker for desserts. But then you only live once!

Check out my (relatively new) boomer blog at sightingsat60.blogspot.com/. Thx!