The Hunger Game

4 thoughts on “The Hunger Game”

  1. since we grew up during the same era and in the same city, you and i have similar memories about food. your food was so much more varied and delightful than mine, however. my mother cooked about 8 or so “dinners” and they were offered on a rotational basis…if it’s friday, it means fish, even though we were not catholic. once swanson foil dinners made it to the grocery shelves, they too were our staple as mom and dad would enjoy nights out at restaurants while we were relegated to the home. (too cheap to spend money on our dinners out with them). i particularly loved the swansons with little rectangles of soup covered with an aluminum “plate”, ending with that dessert: a tiny square of apple cobbler.

    once my mother went to work, i was trained in executing the 8 rotational dinners too..since i was the great cook and my sister was not. i don’t prepare those dinners anymore…but they put me on the road to “from scratch” cooking. i do have one pleasant memory of a summer heat wave dinner (we had no air conditioning back then and the house was usually over 90 degrees inside). it consisted of cooked and cooled elbow macaroni, a can of tuna fish, green grapes, and miracle whip…nicely chilled. occasionally i make it as one of the few foods that is not available anywhere else.

    we often had the usual “killing health” fare…kool-aid, margarine and white bread cinnamon toast….so loaded with margarine and white sugar mixed with cinnamon i’m amazed my pancreas still works. i blame my good genetics and avoidance of the “killing health” fare ever since i left home for college for my relatively good health…and also the avoidance of chemicals that pollute our bodies and the environment.

    i attribute finally getting below high school weight through the gracious act that my car broke down and i ended up walking 10 times more than i did with the car…plus the addition of bulletproof coffee every morning…organic coffee with grass fed unsalted butter, coconut oil, and a splash of organic sugar. (the stevia just has too much of an odd taste to me.)

    i love reading your writing…the pictures you draw in my head are beautiful and lively. always looking forward to more….<3

    1. Oh, Christy: yes, we did grow up in the same neighborhood so I am sure our memories often collide. My mom didn’t allow Kool-Aid and soda was a rare treat. My sister and I were allowed juices, milk (which I hated) and a fruit punch Mom made with Welch’s grape juice, pineapple juice, and some fresh lemon. It was really good. Mom grew up on a farm, so it was always butter, never margarine. When I was thinking about the real food that was served in my early childhood, I realized that although much of the food I described was far from diet fare, it was all made from great ingredients. We made trips to the Farmer’s Market in L.A. (even from Monterey Park) and Mom often shopped at specialty shops for good Italian sausages and canned Italian tomatoes. It is because of the wonderful food that was passed at our table, that I learned to never scrimp on good ingredients. I am lucky to live 5 minutes from a fabulous butcher here in Idaho. He doesn’t do “grass-fed” because he states it is flavorless, but everything is from local sources and is hormone and antibiotic free. I bought some grass-fed meat a few weeks ago from Natural Grocers, and I must say that I agree with Tim, the butcher–it had a weird taste. Thank you for the kind words about my writing. My mind has been awhirl of late and it is spilling over.

      1. linda…lots of times our taste preferences are defined by our DNA…believe it or not. i love the ‘identical twins separated at birth and adopted by separate parents’ psychological studies. my favorite example is this one: the mothers of these particular separated twins never met nor combined notes. after being asked “is your child a ‘good eater’?”, mom #1 answered “omigosh, no! she won’t eat a single thing until i add a sprinkle of cinnamon to it”. mom #2 answered “oh..she’s a WONDERFUL eater! just a sprinkle of cinnamon and she eats everything i offer her”. i think this might explain your hatred of milk. i, on the other hand, couldn’t eat anything without a swallow of milk with it…everything tasted way too dry without it. i love milk and ice cream…my downfall to this day. when i visited my dad during the last year of his life, it was this same procedure every night: while everyone else was asleep, he would wake at 2 a.m., open the electric garage door (he was mostly deaf so he didn’t realize it woke the rest of the household), and eat his ice cream from the garage freezer. i’m sure i inherited his love of ice cream and milk. i also decided that, even if i didn’t care for something, if it was known to be a superior food (like grass fed beef) i would just learn to like it, rather than compare it to something i was used to that i thought i liked better.
        you are so lucky your mom did not allow kool-aid. i did not learn how damaging that kind of junk food was until i left home for college. i bought a used adele davis cookbook and after that i was a total health devotee. when i learned later that my sister, although being very health conscious herself, still bought kool-aid (now worse because it contains artificial colors AND artificial sweeteners) for the children of the family, i was HORRIFIED.
        i think food plays a major important part in our lives. after all, as a species, if we did not think food was the ‘be all end all’, we would not have survived as a species. i wholeheartedly and completely applaud your move to eschew deprivation and eat what you love. any deprivation diet puts our body into ‘fear of famine’ mode and makes us hang onto every calorie like grim death…literally. follow your food memories with the intensity of a laser beam. we have few real pleasures in this world and i’m interested in what you discover as you expose to light your many wonderful memories about ‘family food’. i’m so looking forward to hearing more of your experiment as it unfolds.

  2. I just can’t wait until we get together–so much to share! Although I hated milk, I have always LOVED ice cream–my favorite kind of sweet. I gave my Cuisinart ice cream maker to Kate when she was home in May because I seldom used it, You have just inspired me for another post. Thank you!

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