Food for ThoughtI have food on the brain today, and I like it. When I was pretty young, we’re talking maybe 5 years old, I decided I didn’t like red meat anymore. (I didn’t realize until well into my twenties that it all comes down to food texture for me.) So, one dish after another, I stopped eating most red meat. I say most because I still ate soup with a beef base, I still ate spaghetti sauce with meatballs–picking around the meatballs, of course, because while my pickiness was tolerated at the dinner table, it was not encouraged. (I’ve since learned to tell people I’m not picky; I simply have standards.)

Luckily my mom was always big on making side dishes, but there were many nights that I would eat a peanut butter sandwich as my main course for dinner. A peanut butter sandwich (no jelly) goes well with just about everything, especially au gratin rice. (Carb on carb. I tell myself it was a runner’s diet.)

Growing up, it was difficult to explain that I was “mostly” vegetarian. At the time, the only way to be vegetarian was to denounce all meat and meat eaters, because vegetarians in the ‘80s had agendas. Except for me. I happen to come from a long line of carnivores, and honestly, as long as I didn’t have to eat it I didn’t mind much what others ate. My preference to pig out on cheese was never political.

Picnics and restaurants took a little finesse. At picnics, I could usually pick the meat off of a ready-made sandwich and offer it to someone nearby as I added extra cheese and mustard to the bread. It was a good way to make a fast friend. At restaurants I could manage by making an entire meal out of French fries or a salad. (And lately, fries on salad. Why, yes, I do live in Pittsburgh where fries on salad are standard issue.) Back then, salads usually included bacon bits, and, I know I’m the only one here, but I don’t like bacon. Picking bacon out of a salad is just about impossible. I think if Psyche had a fifth task to win back Cupid, picking bacon out of a salad would have been it.

I did my best, and it never occurred to me to complain. The world was not made for me; I was made for it. So I adapted. And I’ve been adapting ever since. When I come to a roadblock and see others sitting still, shouting about how the world should bend to their will, I look for another way around, happily.

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Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see JodyBrown.com/writing.

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