Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gag Me (with your salmon, Mom)

Our approach to expectations for daughters' dinner eating comprises two thresholds:  eat most and you can be excused from the table; eat all and you can have something to eat later (usually fruit, sometimes "dessert").  Our daughters have a choice, then:  If they're hungry enough for something later, they can probably pack away the extra bites now.  If they don't feel like finishing a meal they consider less than spectacular, they're done eating for the evening (and they won't starve before tomorrow, we remind them).  Most nights they eat dinner with little fuss, despite various misadventures of yesteryear (here and the ultimate, here).  Last night, not so much.

The girls love my mom's salmon, which she marinates in a vidalia onion dressing and prepares often. For a dinner party on Saturday night, I used her protocol for cooking salmon (encased in a foil packet and baked 20 minutes at 375 degrees) but used a soy-ginger glaze instead.  Daughters didn't dig it.

So I warned them last night that dinner would be leftover salmon, and endured their moans.  At the table, they ate rice and kale chips and poked at their fish.  We languished at dinner, finally drawing exit lines on their plates.  Big Sis drenched her salmon in peanut sauce and mixed it with rice.  Little Sis gagged on a bite, her eyes bugging out so it made us laugh at loud.  They remained relatively cheery despite the torture.  There were no tears, thankfully; the tears generally reserved for insidious onions (Little Sis) and egregious green peppers (Big Sis). 

"Tell them about the time you guys threw food out the window," I urged Husband.  He related the legendary tale of Sauerkraut Night, when he and his four siblings tried everything including pouring sugar on their cabbage to choke it down.  But a more sinister plot unfolded, and when Grandpa Bob left the room, someone led the charge to throw the sauerkraut out the window, where it lay on the ground beside the trashcans, exactly where Grandpa Bob found it the next morning, and...well, consequences.

I had a boyfriend whose mom outed him for surreptitiously hiding food in the drawers built into their dining room table.  It wasn't until a mysterious foul odor permeated the dining room that an investigation was launched and his grisly stash discovered. 

As for me, my most inocuous strategy was hiding food (mainly mushrooms, universally detested by me and my siblings) in my napkin, and then offering to clear the table so that I could safely discard the evidence.  I also didn't see the point of water chestnuts, a featured ingredient in my mother's stir fry, so one time when assisting her in putting away groceries, I took the opportunity to hide the can of water chestnuts waaaaaaaaaaaaay in the back of a cupboard less traveled by. 

I still find water chestnuts pointless and yucky.

Then there was the one time my mother was making me a sandwich, and I (rudely, she recalls) exhorted, "No sprouts on my sandwich!"  She responded by adding a clump.  I sulkily took my sandwich outside and tried ditching the sprouts, which our dog hopefully picked up and then, thinking better, deposited in the side yard, where my suspicious mom found them.  She helpfully rinsed them off and made me eat them.  I'm so polite about my sandwich orders now, and I like me some sprouts. 

But my favorite fable of family food follies (and foibles) features my little brother, who passionately hated black olives.  We were either having taco salad or enchilada casserole--something customarily including the pitted perpetrators--and he was served the family's traditional "no thank you" portion. He refused to eat those olives, and there was a subsequent standoff.  He couldn't leave the table unless he shoveled them down. 

"I'll throw up if I eat them," he threatened my parents. The sibling crew rolled eyes.  We'd tried that tactic before.

"Eat your olives," Dad answered.

We watched as he gagged down the black offenders.  And then, he vomited.  All over his plate and the table.  His siblings stared with wide eyes and dropped jaws and a new profound respect for the littlest bro.  Our parents were vanquished.  Brother: 1; Olives and Parents:  0.  It was a momentous event, never to be repeated. 

What's your best family food fight story?

1 comment:

Tara B said...

having another sleepless night and thought I would read through your other blog posts and this one caught my eye and totally cracked me up. I too, had the parents who forced us to eat things we hated. I became the master of gulping the offending foods down with a big mouthful of cherry koolaid or as much ketchup as I could drown them in.
My kids however, have become the masters of the gag and vomit. The tiniest bit of the offending food of the night and they will suddenly have a vomit filled plate. They have now been threatened that they either make it to the trash or bathroom or they will be cleaning it up their self.
Even tonight as we ate (Chicken Pot:chicken, meatballs, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and celery in the slow cooker with seasonings), Kyla exclaimed "Mom! This green stuff is sooooo good!" At which I made the mistake of informing her that I was glad she finally liked broccoli. I was quickly corrected, as she said, "well it's not THAT good. I don't like broccoli." sigh, kids.