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Food Means Love

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You might think that because you didn't grow up in a healthy eating environment that there's just no hope for you. You're not alone. Most people have been raised on box foods and drive thrus. But I wasn't raised to eat healthy either.  

I grew up in a solidly middle class area. We weren't starving, but we weren't well off either.

My mother could have been a pretty decent cook if you could pry the salt shaker out of her hand. She didn't like vegetables. Her idea of vegetables were canned green beans, or corn, or that mixed vegetable stuff. Occasionally we had peas or lima beans. She was the only one who liked the lima beans. ICK.


My grandmother was not the greatest cook. We ate a lot of overly tenderized overcooked round steak, dry pork chops, shake 'n bake chicken, canned green beans or corn. I have to say, we did have a salad almost every night at my grandparent's house.

There were a few things my grandmother made well. Her homemade vegetable soup, navy beans with homemade corn bread, biscuits and gravy, fried apples, virginia ham, sweet potato casserole, potato salad, and her lemon meringue pie were to die for. I loved the homemade foods. They always tasted so much better, and somehow I just felt that there was more love put into it. I still feel that way to this day.

My grandfather was a fisherman. We always had trout and bass in the freezer, but it seemed it was only once in a blue moon that we actually ate it.

My parents were divorced. And wouldn't you know it, my father didn't like many vegetables either. But he does eat a big salad everyday.

So, you can see that I wasn't raised to eat a healthy diet.

When I would go to friend's houses, the mom was always making something. Grandmothers baked homemade goodies. It was a Jewish area. You know how Jewish Moms are! Just the fact that they cared so much about their family. And they didn't eat poor food like we did. Food came to symbolize everything that I didn't have.

To me, if you really don't care, you open a can of green beans. If you care, you get fresh green beans. They take about 10 minutes longer. Whoopee.

Hamburger Helper? Ragu? Canned ham? To me those are totally insulting. You won't find them in my house.

I always yearned for the grandma who made the old family favorites, and baked fresh goodies just for you. I feed my daughter freshly prepared nutritious food most of the time. I don't bake a lot, but we do bake a lot of cookies. And it makes her feel loved and important.

When her boyfriend is over, I know he likes fresh green beans and doesn't get them at home. I serve their salads in their favorite color salad bowls.

When I ask my daughter what she would like for dinner, most of the time the response is, "something healthy."

When people come to my home for holiday dinners, they know they are in for a treat. 

Food shows love.  

I would gauge how well a date liked me by where he took me to eat. I swear! But it didn't have to be expensive. The food had to be good.

One time a date took me to a Chinese restaurant. The decor was Formica tables, and the place was filled with Chinese people. I was horrified. No Americans in the place. What were we going to be eating that no Americans wanted to eat there? He said, “calm down, you're going to love it.” And I did! The food was delicious. That was back in the 70s, and they are still in business – except the restaurant is much bigger and nicer – and they do a rockin business!

As a matter of fact, if you're ever in Northern Illinois and you want some good food, Poochies (hot dogs, and the char-cheddar burger), Riggios (Italian), The Prime Minister (steaks, prime rib), and China Chef are still thriving.

And pop? That was something kids drank.

Yes, I liked good food, and food symbolized love. And you might even say that I have a bit of a mental problem when it comes to food, wouldn't you?

But as it turns out – all the foods that I won't eat are the same foods that are causing all this disease and obesity. So maybe my sickness is one you want to catch!

Stick around and try some of the recipes – you'll get infected too!


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