Thirteen Memories of Food
2. In Kindergarten, we had to drink milk at recess. Had to. You couldn't throw away your milk unless the level had dropped down below the level of the cow's bell.
3. First grade: I remember the taste of guinea pig pellets (not bad) and nontoxic paste (bad). I would taste anything. I'm still that way.
4. In case you haven't guessed, I used to have pica. From that link, I learned, "Pica is most common in people with developmental disabilities, including autism and mental retardation, and in children between the ages of 2 and 3. Although kids younger than 18 to 24 months can try to eat nonfood items, it isn't necessarily considered abnormal at that age." Good to know. My favorite nonfood items: the shellac on the wood of my bedframe; chalk from any source, even the ground; tar dripping off telephone poles.
5. On the other hand, I hated bananas, carrots, cantaloupes, raw nuts, and avocado. They made my throat itch. (Remember that, Sis?) Nowadays, naturally, I love 'em all.
6. I've never tasted breast milk. (That's a non-memory.)
8. When my mother made brown rice, I would slather it with margarine and soak it with soy sauce. "You must be half-Chinese," she'd say.
9. But I was all kwailo as far as my girlfriend's mom was concerned. For the most part, I loved her cooking, as long as she didn't try to feed me fish stomach. I found out later (long after we broke up) that the woman really, really liked me. She even liked my mother. No surprise there.
10. Worst thing eaten at a Chinese wedding: squab, poorly prepared.
11. Best thing eaten at a Chinese wedding: abalone, well prepared.
12. First year away from home, my boarding house mom fixed dinners for me and my roommate. Marguerite Slater, a wonderful woman, had a catering business on the side. She had even met Julia Child. I think often of Mrs. Slater, and grumble over the fact she would never part with her apple pie recipe. The. Best. Ever.
13. In the Berkeley Co-ops, the students took turns preparing meals. Worst idea ever: tuna jello. I missed out on that one, thankfully.
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