Friday, January 13, 2012

Confessions of a Picky Eater

Growing up, I wouldn’t eat sandwiches. I hated them. The only thing I would eat between two slices of bread was peanut butter. Not peanut butter and jelly, not peanut butter and honey. Just peanut butter. And for me to eat a peanut butter sandwich, the sandwich had to be just right. No crust, not too much peanut butter, just right. I was what you might call a picky eater.

Most of my meals consisted of the handful of items I deemed good enough to eat. Usually, those items were snack foods, much to my parents’ dismay. Moving into a house of my own, with limited food funds available, my picky eating habits changed drastically. Suddenly, things I had never tried before became staples in our household…and this included sandwiches.

I began my love affair with sandwiches in spring of 2007, when my soon-to-be husband dragged me into a Subway for the First. Time. Ever. I went, kicking and screaming the whole way, which for me is more like some serious pouting. As we approached the counter to order, my pouting powers were in full swing, but they were useless against my man’s sandwich cravings. I surrendered helplessly to the Sandwich Artist and ordered a toasted ham and cheese with black olives, fully expecting to hate the thing and eat only the bag of Cheetos that came with my meal.

Alas, it was love at first bite.

From that moment on, my sandwiches became larger and more experimental. I added onions to the next order. And then green peppers to the next. At home, I tried exotic fairs like Spam sandwiches and grilled Pimena cheeses. With each bite, I became more enamored with the sandwich; it seemed that my hatred of sandwiches had left the building and with it so had my finicky eating habits.

Sandwiches were just the tip of the iceberg of what I’d been missing out on with food. Turns out there was an entire world that I hadn’t tasted. Things like homemade macaroni and cheese entered my life. Previously, I had believed that the best version of mac ‘n’ cheese was out of a blue box. Little did I know that there was something as wonderful and creamy as the homemade variety. It seems almost silly to say such things now, but my Mama and Daddy can readily corroborate the fact that I was unmoving in my picky eating habits and could never be convinced to try something new.

This was a point of much frustration with them. Try as they might, they could never make me understand just what I was missing out on. Now, they are simply amazed that I eat things like turnip greens and sausage gravy, broccoli casserole and cole slaw. Even nearly five years after my “food awakening,” they still look at me with amazement when I order something like chicken and dumplings or a roast beef and cheddar sub.

I’m woman enough to now publically admit that they were right. All of those years misspent missing out on such great foods fill me with regret and sadness. Mama and Daddy, I should’ve listened to you earlier; you were wise in your knowledge of food. I was wrong. You can gloat later, but for now, I can tell you just how glad I am that I’m a proper Southern eater. Just last weekend, as I was enjoying a homemade biscuit with my Mawmaw’s pear preserves (which in another lifetime I would have never even tried), I counted the many blessings in my life, not the least of which are the great Southern meals I can now enjoy.

Are you (or were you) a picky eater? Do you have a picky eater in your life?

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