Okay, so I grew up as the typical latchkey kid.
Mom and dad divorced before I could walk, and mom worked about 60 hours a week. Naturally, that meant that as soon as I could do someting (anything), I was expected to do it for myself from that point on.
From what I saw growing up, for lot of families mom made dinner every night, but occasionally for a treat, (to give mom a break, I guess) they’d do McDonalds, order pizza, or have something pre-processed that got cooked at 375f for 30 minutes.
Of course, for me it was the opposite. My entire diet consisted of the likes of hamburgers, frozen pizzas (pepperoni only), Spaghetti-o’s, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, and similar.
The big treat for me growing up was when mom actually made something. Except for her beef stew*. Anyways…
Looking at that list, you’ll notice a couple things. No vegetables. The only veggies I ever ate being corn, potatoes, beans, lots of rice, and maybe one or two things I can’t think of right now. No fruit. Pretty much nothing that wasn’t either pre-frozen or canned.
Over the years I got a little less picky, but not much. I really didn’t broaden my horizons so much as get a little lazier about what I’d have a problem with. You know, just scraping off the onions instead of taking it back because the burger had been soaking up oniony badness.
The more I think about things, however, the more I realize that it’s not the taste of certain things (except raisins and celery…I don’t see how anyone voluntarily puts those in their mouth) that I mind, it’s usually more their texture. I like most fruit juices. I love V8 which contains 8 items I would physically fight to keep out of my mouth.
I don’t want to be picky. I don’t want to pick from the same two or three things every time I go to a nice restaurant on my once common, now rare, dates.
Thing is, I’ve tried. I really have. As a guilt-ridden meat-eater, I’d love if I could some day become vegetarian. But if I were to do that now, my diet would consist of nothing but starches and I’d eventually be unable to move.
I occasionally buy some fruit, or some vegetable, or even some fish (somthing else on my proscribed list from when I was a kid). And it will sit there, and I’ll see it in the fridge every time I open it. I’ll kind of stare at it. It stares at me. I’ll stare at it some more. Sometimes I’ll even pick it up and try to eat it. If it’s, say, a grape, I’ll put it in my mouth, bite it, and when I feel that fleshy squish, I either spit it out or do my best to swallow the damned thing as fast as possible. I could probably eat grapes all day long if I just threw them down my throat without chewing them. But that might be unhealthy, and, really, it’s kind of against the spirit of things.
I know it’s just a matter of battling some strong psychological conditioning that I’ve managed to grill into myself over the last twenty-nine years. When I sit there and try to forcefeed myself one of these things, I actually get a huge sensation of what I can only describe as terror. What the hell? Terror? Yes, terror. And there’s actually very few things that scare me. But this terrifies me.
Now, I know some people reading this are thinking, “This guy is a total fruitcake. He’s freaking out when he tries to eat a grape?”, but hopefully there will be a couple people out there with ideas. Ideas besides “try getting drunk first” or “start small”. It doesn’t get much smaller than a grape.
For the record, I’m not bulemic, anorexic, or anything like that. The only eating disorder is what’s described above.
-Joe, who somehow totally blanked and had to google to find “anorexia”.
- Which led to a “you’ll stay here until you finish it” confrontation that culminated in my vomiting in my bowl of beef stew