Friday, March 28, 2008

I love them now - Ham and beans

While I'm not one to say that one thing is more horrible than another, I know that all experiences when lumped together, make a big picture. If that doesn't make sense, I apologize now for it's early and I'm trying to squeeze out a post before kids are up, before work and most importantly... before coffee. This could prove to be, less than enlightening.

Do you remember something your mom (or dad) fixed for dinner when you were a kid that you hated? I know I do, but on one occassion, that one thing turned into a week long ordeal.

I want to say that this to me, is one of those parental faux pas. Meaning, I really believe this is something that any parent could do in "punishment" or to prove a point... but perhaps NOT to this extreme. I myself, was blessed with a picky eater and while I may save something for another try for another meal... well... let's just say I wouldn't go this far.

Again, I was around 6 years of age and my mother had fixed ham and beans AND cornbread for dinner. I wasn't what I would have called a picky eater, for when you got really picky, you'd run into unwanted attention, so I tried to mind my p's and q's and just choke down whatever was presented because I didn't want the attention. I was perfectly happy to fade into nothingness.

Now, I had never had ham and beans before this. They smelled awful. I do remember that much. My mother placed a steaming bowl full of them in front of me at the table, alongside sat a wedge of cornbread with butter on it.

I kind of turned my nose up at it, just because of the smell. I twirled it around with my spoon and my father sat to my right and gave me the look of, "You had better eat that, or there will be hell to pay..." so I took a couple of spoonfuls and started eating.

Immediately, I started gagging and choking. I don't know if it was the thought or the smell? I still to this day, don't know what made me gag like that.. but I assure anyone reading this... it wasn't because I was trying to be a smartass. Although my father thought I was.

Apparently, to keep a person from choking on food, the Heimlich used to be performed by whacking someone upside the head. I got this 'treatment' three times. So now not only was I choking but I was crying AND choking and dropping beans from my mouth, one at a time. I remember the thought running through my head, "You'd better stop or he's going to get madder..."

I was right. The more I cried, the harder I got hit. Repeatedly.

Finally, my mother intervened and sent me to my room. I only remember lying down and wishing I could go live somewhere else.

Next thing I remember... I woke up and ran downstairs. I was starving!

What sat at my place at the table?

You guessed it.

Cold ham and beans. This time, with ketchup on it.

My stomach turned and I could feel the hot sting of tears rise up inside of my eyes.. although I was determined not to let one tear drop.

My dad sat there and instructed me to, "Sit your ass down and eat thos G.D. beans! You are NOT getting anything else to eat until those. G.D. beans are gone!"

It took me a week - 6 days - of gagging and choking to eat all those beans... and he was right. I didn't get anything else to eat until I finished them.

It's amazing to me now, that I can eat ham and beans. I will say that I was almost 30 years old before I could even entertain the idea of eating them....


Mushy said...

I tried to get my son to "trust me" and eat several things when he was between 6 and, he still won't eat them. It's useless.

It had to be traumatic for you and I am sorry I tried to force stuff on my

I recommended the "Different" post to David McMahon who publishes a Post of the Day series weekly. Hopefully, you'll get to know him and the rest of us.

You are good my dear.

Fran said...

Parents can have authority, but forcing a kid to eat something he or she doesn't want to eat, I call it Torture .
My mother imposed me to eat chicken when I was a baby, only to provocate her father, because she was victim of these tortures when she was a kid. I was a baby.
I love vegetables, but I can't eat carrot.
I feel we have some common points.

Robert said...

for me it was Lima beans..still can't eat them..I got more bruises over Loima beans than anything else..I give you credit 6 days..I never lasted that long Imusually manged to choke them down the second time around

A-6Dude said...

I went through this with my son. He ate everything until about age three. Then his diet went to almost a handful of items. Of course, I wanted him to at least try a bite of everything. It didn't get to the point you reached as a kid but, truth be told, I was only inches away from it.

In one of those simmering rages that was as hard to keep down as your beans, I remembered....brussel sprouts. The only thing I did not like as a kid. The only thing ( I still don't).

But my parents made us eat everything they put on our plates. Their were starving kids in Biafra, by God, and you will not waste food. I did get hit when I told my mom that she should mail the brussel sprouts to Biafra.

Anyway, it dawned on me that not only did I not want dinner time to be a traumatic experience, I didn't want my kids to be forced to eat everything on their plate either.

We have had to be inventive to get him to eat a more balanced (as it were) diet. But watching him sit there and tremble as he tried to muster up enough manhood (at age 5) not to cry in front of me during my near fit of rage made me realize that I was way off base (not an easy admission) and that I was astounded at his ability to buck up in the face of what must have seemed like a hopelessly, frightening situation. I was actually proud of him, and told him so later that night as I apologized to him.

He is 11 now and his dietary intake has not increased hardly at all. But every now and then he will allow something else on his plate to see if he likes it. I will not introduce brussel sprouts.

The_Mrs said...

@ mushy and a-6dude - Oh gentlemen, believe me.. I know a parents frustration when it comes to getting a child to eat something. My dear daughter is mega-picky.. something that would have never have flown with my own father. While I'm not above getting super pissed because she won't eat something, I sure wouldn't save it for days. Now, I have yelled and threatened.. which of course, probably wasn't the right thing to do... but like I said, it does get frustrating.

We have the 'at least one bite' rule at our house... and even sometimes that one bite is like prying a panicky cat off of a screen door. lol I just don't want my kids to remember dinner time being about beating the living snot out of them because something they ate made them literally sick to their stomachs. Ugh.. just thinking about it all sets my stomach churning.

@fran - That's the thing I'm trying not to do.. repeat the things that as an adult I can step back from and say, "Now that wasn't right..." and I try.... oh how I try to be a good parent and I know that deep down, I will disappoint my children (if I haven't already) but I don't want them to fear me...

Thanks for the hugs hon.. I truly appreciate that!

@robert - Oh.. you and I have a lot in common I'm finding out. Another food I couldn't eat as a kid.. lima beans. I used to swallow those whole with milk... like a pill. That way, they disappeared from my plate and nobody was the wiser. To this day, two things I cannot stomach are lima beans and stewed tomatoes. Both were force fed as a kid. Yuck.

I buy that Veg-all at the store to mix in with sloppy joes... and I will dump the can into a bowl and pick all the lima beans OUT. To this day my husband shakes his head and says aloud, "My God.. what did your father do to you to make you so obsessive compulsive??" *sigh*

Robin Lee Sardini said...

What is it about forcing a kid to eat? You bring to mind the times my father said I had to sit at the table until I ate the goulash. Eventually the dining room light was turned off. Everyone went to their respective rooms and I was still sitting at the table in the dark because I wouldn't eat the (now cold) goulash. I remember going to bed without any supper on more than one occasion.
It never did any good. I never, ever have made my mother's goulash and I never will. And I still won't eat hers, some 40 years later.

Surgeon in my dreams said...

To this day, I will not touch asparagus.

Karen ^..^ said...

Fishcakes. Made me gag immediately. There wasn't enough milk in the universe to effectively wash down those hateful things.

I have never made my kids eat anything they did not like. But they had to at least try it once to make sure they did not like it. They are not picky eaters, nor have they ever been. My oldest is now a vegetarian, but not due to anything I ever forced on her.

I dont see the point in forcing a kid to eat something that will make them vomit at the table. How cruel.

thestranger said...

Christmas wasn't the best time in my household too, and since i don't have any kids I grew up despising most of the holidays. They always felt more like obligated events. Someone recently taught me though, Christmas is more about giving. These people in my life love to give presents and surprises, and half the time they end up giving the presents early. I've warmed up to the idea of holidays now that I see some people have the right idea. I still like to say my "bah humbugs" though.