A Million Meals

Caring for children in today's confusing food environment

The Challenge of Agreeing Upon Food Rules to Live By

One weakness of mine is that I tend to think of myself as being ruled by common sense. So it comes as a shock when I realize that my common sense is another person's crazy—or vice versa. Read More

Clapping and Cheering

For you and your common sense and for my mom and dad. They screwed up royally in plenty of areas of life, who doesn't? But time and again I thank the food gods for the foundation of good eating they gave me (and even with that my sister and I still developed eating disorders, go figure.)
But here's what I'm proud of: We were super dirt poor, aka: no running hot water, matresses on the floor dirt poor BUT my father fished and hunted for food. We also did lobstering and shell fishing as a family in the summers...who needs money when you have lobster!
We planted a garden at his mom's house which we drove over to and tended during season.
We were not allowed to have sugar cereals except on Saturday mornings (with a plethora of cartoons followed by excessive outdoor playing during which time we played off the sugar and forgot about food until dinner) The rest of the week it was plain oatmeal or toast
Fast food was called "junk" or "crap" and so we all thought it was poison and didn't want it. Once in a blue moon we got pizza which was pretty fantastic.
Soda? Heck no never. Milk or water. (juice was for rich people)
I requested Doritios as my munchie of choice every year on my birthday if I had a slumber party. Otherwise our mom made homemade popcorn when there were 'specials' on TV like at Christmas or Easter.
And finally dessert was an occasional treat which usually involved baking; everyone in our house loved to bake (my mother made homemade bread, baby food and did the cloth diaper thing mostly because of money but also because she believed it was right...did I mention she also worked? did someone say 'supermom'? Granted, it was not all perfect, but I have to give credit where it's due.) and it was more about the baking act than the actual food (if it turned out edible, which mine never did and still doesn't)
Long story short, I grew up eating simple, whole foods and I still eat simple whole foods with a few, select and sporadic treats. Whenever I get lost on my food path, I go back to what I grew up with and I'm really, really grateful for that.

Thank you so much

This is a wonderful, heartfelt comment that makes a point I didn't: common sense food rules are not the province solely of wealthy families. I applaud your enthusiasm and what sounds like some impressive resilience on your part as well. I am certainly curious why you think you and your sister did develop eating disorders despite your parents' food sense? Obviously the pressures of the outside world in combination with certain personality traits can create ED behaviors despite parents' best efforts. In any case, thank you for reading and thanks even more for this detailed and thoughtful response.

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Zanthe Taylor, M.F.A., is a former dramaturg and English teacher who is currently raising two daughters in Brooklyn, NY.

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