The Former Sonic Queen (Ode to a Picky Eater)
I’ll never forget it. My babysitter was named Henrietta and she played by the rules. Eat your applesauce or you don’t get down from the table. I don’t remember exactly what happened after I refused to eat mine, but let’s just say, applesauce was off my list!
Fast forward to a 7 year-old bookworm, standing at the kitchen counter while my mom was cutting up some strawberries. Now up until this point I hadn’t touched a strawberry. Maybe my mom didn’t even know this. I wasn’t prepared for her answer, though, when I sweetly asked, “Mom, could you cut the seeds out of the strawberries for me? I don’t like them.” Very quickly, she shot me a look of incredulous shock, then said rather bluntly, “I’m sorry honey, I guess that means more strawberries for the rest of us.” Darn. You guessed it. Strawberries were off the list, too.
As a child, I walked up to my Grandma’s house every day after school. And of course, she wouldn’t make me eat any strawberries or applesauce, being the amazing Grandma she was . . . and since she was the best cook this side of the Mississippi, my little picky self could find several things that definitely made my list. Things like homemade rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and my very favorite, Dr. Pepper. She kept several “flats” of soda (this was before “cases”) in a so-called secret closet that all of us grandkids knew about. Of course, being a child of the Depression, Grandma knew how to moderate her DP. She probably only drank two to four ounces at a time. But for me, let’s just say, my choice of food and drink became solidly focused on meat, sweets, and bread. I even advised my mom one time on her cornbread, because it didn’t taste like Grandma’s. Oops. Remember, I said only ONE time . . .
Once I got my driver’s license, Sonic became one of my favorite spots. I mention Sonic because I had no problem eating their so-called fare, and I loved happy hour! But I had issues with real food like tomatoes, peppers, onions, salad, oatmeal, avocados, and oh, yes, strawberries and applesauce. I mean really, people, this was ridiculous. And let me stop here to say my parents (and Henrietta) had probably tried to change my ideas until they were blue in the face. (They will probably attest to my stubborn determination even today.) And you can bet I have an appreciation for their hard work after becoming a parent myself. All of that being said, I still had some lessons to learn!
Though I had developed a good work ethic (thank you farm life) and was relatively disciplined in some areas, my choosy palate was an obvious weakness. But I didn’t really realize how much so until I had someone else for whom I had to be responsible.
Yep, you guessed it, enter motherhood. (I’ll skip the eye-rolling I experienced with my husband before our baby came along, bless his heart. He will eat absolutely anything and truly couldn’t understand my food pyramid!) Through a very cool chain of events, I came across a health professional called a midwife. (Thank God, Jesus, and the angels for these amazing women across the world who love to help families have the birth they hope for, if it all possible.)
Well, Margarett and Michelle gave me the low-down. My food pyramid was about to change. No more 99 cent corn dogs or happy hour. I guess you would call this my “come to Jesus” moment. I could see that our little one was going to be affected, for better or worse. I experienced a mind-blowing paradigm shift (so my hubby says) and promptly sat down for lunch that day with a grilled chicken breast, pasta and LOTS of veggies. And WATER. Suddenly (so it seemed), I wasn’t very picky after all.
That whole scenario was over 18 years ago. And as our precious babes began to arrive, not only did I see what I’d been missing, I also had to be honest about what I wanted to teach our children.
Today, if you come to our house for dinner, you might hear our family’s famous phrase, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!” You will probably also see a little one experiencing some kind of training for fussing about a food they don’t want to try. You might even hear one of mom’s stories about trying to boss their Mimi around about her cornbread. Yes, even our children’s palates need training and direction; not only for teaching gratefulness, but also for wisdom in making good food choices for the rest of their lives. Since we live in a nation with 44 ounce sodas and dozens of donuts available at every corner store, the habits they build now will carry them through to a healthy adulthood.
By the way, you might still see me pull into Sonic. Or I might even be caught eating a donut once in a while. But rest assured, I’m eating my applesauce, too.
Jen’s Sonic Drink
(Recipe from a former Dr. Pepper Addict)
1 Limeade (You can make your own with lime juice and Perrier, but I usually don’t. I like Braum’s version, ask for no simple syrup)
2 dropperfuls of Berry Sweet Leaf Stevia (from the stevia plant, 0 on the glycemic index.
Stir and enjoy. This is especially good between the hours of 2 and 4pm during very hot weather. 🙂