Sunday, December 07, 2008

From the (Yes, I Know This Is Obnoxious But I'm Doing It Anyway) Archives: Yum, LARD

Pin It Sorry. I know this is kind of pretentious. Posting stuff from barely six months ago as though I have SO MANY NEW READERS who haven't had a chance to read it. (It's fun to be delusional.) But I promised myself I would try to post something tonight. And I've been staring at the screen for a good hour now. And it's almost 1 in the morning. And I really need to go to bed. So here it is. Something. JUST FOR YOU. (SO LUCKY) (I'm treading on thin blog ice right now, I can FEEL IT.)

IMing the other evening, my friend Azucar and I somehow got to talking about the horrible, no good, very bad culinary pranks our parents liked to play on us. AZ reminded me about powdered milk and wheat gum (VOMIT). I cannot talk about that particular bit of wretchedness without having horrifying flashbacks, but luckily AZ just posted about it here.

(Ooooh, also, my sister wrote about powdered milk a few months ago on her food blog, here. I love how in the comments my brother's wife says he is still traumatized, and my mom tries to disavow her role in it. NICE TRY, MOM.)

My mom had other cooking quirks. For a while there she had this thing about gluten, or as I like to call it, wheat dregs. Once she made us gluten and oatmeal cookies. Let me repeat that. GLUTEN AND OATMEAL COOKIES. And she told us they were treats. That is NOT. RIGHT.

We were not allowed to have chips or any kind of sugary cereal. No Fruit Loops or Fruity Pebbles for us. No sireee, we ate Wheaties. Except, and I've never been able to quite figure this out - they let us put brown sugar on TOP of the Wheaties. And they would just - hand us the bag. Here kids, eat this nasty brown tasting cereal because it's good for you, except, also, HERE'S a SHOVEL and a bag of sugar - knock yourselves out. TELL ME HOW THAT MAKES SENSE.

My mom used to lock the fridge. To be fair, she did not really have a choice. There were NINE of us. Defensive measures had to be taken. She had this bungee cord and she would hook one end to the fridge handle and one end to a hook on the wall, and if you tried to open it and actually managed to get it unhooked, it would basically snap you so hard you went unconscious.

Sometimes, if the fridge was unlocked and mom was in another room, we would just rush it and take anything we could find and run away to another room where we would eat it, crouched in corners, stuffing the food into our gullets while keeping a watchful eye on the doorway. I once ate seven raw hot dogs, just because I could. Because they were there. (This explains so much about my eating philosophy. Oh, look, there it is! Hurry, hurry, hurry EAT IT NOW! EAT IT NOW! BEFORE IT'S GONE!)

I remember very clearly that my mom came after us for that one. She said, "Who ate those hot dogs? WHICH ONE OF YOU ATE THOSE HOT DOGS?! They were raw. RAW! You ate RAW MEAT. What are you?! ANIMALS?!"

I pretended to know nothing. "It wasn't me," I said. And then I threw up on her. (So I think she figured it out.)

If we were very good, my mom liked to serve a little dish she called Chocolate Treat. Chocolate Treat consisted of four ingredients. Peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and a dash of milk. She mixed the ingredients together until it was the consistency of thick frosting, and gave it to us to eat with a spoon. So basically her philosophy was, "Here my children, eat Wheaties for breakfast and then you may have a nice bowl of lard."

This is me and my older sister. (I'm on the right.) See the nice healthy sheen on our hair? TOTALLY FROM THE LARD.

Ah, memories. So, what foods did your parents inflict on you?


  1. Oh, the powdered milk ... I once told my aunt (when she served it at breakfast after I'd slept over) that I wasn't allowed to have that. 25 years later, I'm still embarrassed I lied to her. I just didn't like the stuff.

    My lovely DD, OTOH, is such a milk addict that if we run out of milk she BEGS me to make up some powdered milk (which I keep on hand for baking certain things, not for drinking) for her cereal. And she will drink it.

    I'm not so familiar with the locked fridge or eating raw hot dogs, but I am familiar with eating whatever you can before it's gone ... oh the horrors of the big family. Maybe I'll stop with #2. ...

  2. I just love that picture.

    I honestly don't think it's possible for you to be treading on thin blog ice. You know, cause I'll always keep playing my "how many times can I link to Sue" game, so you'll have at least five readers from that. But you won't tread mostly because of you and your excellent writing.

    No weird foods were inflicted on me as a child. I had to smell lutefisk on Christmas Day but no one made me try it. I still never have. Because I'm semi-normal and that stuff STINKS.

  3. As a new reader, I know I enjoyed this post!

  4. There was much food trauma in my mother's house. carob instead of chocolate, wheaties, cheerios, or uncle sam for cereal, but the worst is going to shock you to your very core....

    we had this breakfast treat for when we were very, very good... egg nog. ingredients? milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ONE RAW EGG shook up in a tupperware shaker, and lovingly served.


    (gag) the worst part is if you got some of the slime of the egg that didn't get all the way shook up.

  5. Well, I`m not that new to your blog, but this post was new to me. :)

    We got powdered milk, too, after my parents got rid of the goats. Which ate things like rubber boots so the milk was actually worse than powdered. I hate milk in general to this day.

    We had alternating breakfasts. Oatmeal, pancakes, oatmeal, pancakes, ad nauseum. And the syrup on the pancakes was water, maple extract and a TON of sugar. So like sweet, mapley water that soaked right into your pancakes. I also hate pancakes to this day. We thought Wheaties was a treat, btw.

    On the raw hot dog thing . . . aren`t those processed? Cuz I eat them raw (so do my kids) all the time. As in, I never, ever eat cooked hot dogs. I`ll probably die now.

    I could go on and on, but I think I`ll stop there and think about posting something about food on my own blog instead of hijacking yours. ;)

  6. We had no white flour, white sugar, margarine, or regular milk. Always powdered. (Cheaper, I guess. And Mom never drank it, so she didn't care.)

    Oh, and sesame seed and honey "candy" in our Easter baskets. THAT was a treat . . .

  7. My mother tried to pass off frogs legs as chicken legs. I figured it out after one bite. (And, yes, I'm from the South!)

  8. Aww, the joys of parenting in the 70's. Eleven 'bungee of death' on the fridge. We were free to hack a slice of bologna off the 4" diameter, 18"long tube 'o bologna,it sure was easier if you could remove the red paper rind from around the part you were cutting, next we'd carve a piece of cheese off the 25lb block then make a sandwich on that pretend wheat bread that was about as healthy as the Wheaties.

  9. Thank heavens my mother was plumb too worn out to try any of these shenanigans. I do remember hating the oatmeal cereal until she went to freshly ground wheat cereal for breakfast every morning. We would waken to the homey (not) sound of the wheat grinder, rrrr,rrrr,rrrr, for what seemed like hours, every single frickin' day. I think I can date my teenaged depression to those moments. After that, oatmeal tasted like manna; it's what I have for breakfast most of the time, still. This was very funny and well worth reading twice (though it was first for me--that's how slow I was to the blogging party).

  10. My mom got on a kick where she thought we needed to eat liver and onions once in a while to be healthy. I can still remember sitting up to the table trying to choke down that awful stuff! (She would make us "sit there till we ate it," but eventually she'd have mercy and just let us go...)

  11. Totally worthy of a re-post. I think this may have been one of your first posts I read, and probably helped make me into such a loyal reader. (The comments were all hilarious, too.)

    I'm considering a lock on my fridge now that my 2-year-old has figured out how to get a yogurt cup out of the fridge, open the seal, get a spoon, and go sit and eat it in the living room. Which I guess would not be too much of a problem, if he didn't then proceed to smear yogurt into the carpet.

    (About MSHR: 119 VOTES IN THE POLL by 8:40 AM?!)

    I was almost ready to post this comment when I had to: get my son out of his high chair, iron my daughter's dress for church, do my other daughter's hair and get her dressed and get her breakfast, etc. So this became a 40-minute comment.

  12. I think that back then people used to think brown sugar was healthy.

    Powdered milk...ew.

    My husband had that growing up, except it was clumpy and stringy.


    We ate really healthily, but my mom was a fabulous cook. We didn't mind.

    And I like that sesame candy!

  13. I guess I was lucky: about the worst my parents ever did to me, food-wise, was to make me eat the cooked peas and carrots on my plate. Which I HATED.

    Growing up in the early 80's with the newfound wonders of cable TV at our disposal, I often ate dinner in front of the TV, which was in a separate, enclosed "TV room" away from the open plan living/dining/kitchen. The couch in the TV room was against the wall. When my parents weren't looking, I surreptitiously dropped each spoonful of peas and carrots BEHIND THE COUCH. For a few weeks, I got praised for eating my vegetables without ever having to eat the nasty little bits, and my parents were none the wiser. Until, of course, the TV room started to funkify, and my mom eventually pulled the heavy sofa away from the wall and discovered the moldy pile of discarded veggies and knew exactly from where (and whom) they came.

  14. Uncooked hotdogs - for the reader who asked - can give you listeria. Cook 'em!

    My parents raised us on an awful, awful health-concious, goat-milk based diet. It's a wonder I didn't just die.

  15. This is hilarious (if a bit revolting). Glad you reposted it, and I hope you got some sleep!

  16. Fried squash - made by the most wonderful woman in the world but the world's worst cook. (My dad was a tremendous cook, so my parents together made two average cooks.)

    Fried broccoli - yeah, I know. 'Nuff said.

    Her bread, however, made strictly to the recipe, was fabulous.

    Fortunately, after we older kids left home and she had a little spare time, my mom became a reasonable cook. Also, we never had the weekly liver my MIL made for her kids, so I can bless my own mom for that.

  17. If your mother has read (or re-read) this she'd probably say the same thing my mom alwasy says when we (the 6 of us) go off on the "horrors" of our childhood: It's a wonder you weren't all taken away from me.

    Seriously! I'm the youngest of those 6 so I'm CERTAIN I don't have the horror stories my older sibs have. I honestly can't think of anything I was forced to eat that I hated. There was always an abundance of chips and candy on top of the fridge. Not to keep it from us but bc there was no room in the cupboards. I ate Crunch Berries every day for breakfast. My mom worked full time while I was growing up and she only cooked on Sundays which meant we were on our own for dinner which meant frozen burritos, or a bowl of cereal, or whatever.

    This could all have a LOT to do with why I don't fix dinner every night and why I have a cupboard FULL of snacks and why I'm chunky. My mom, however, is thin and an exercise nut. Why didn't I get THAT from her???

  18. My mom used to tell my brother and I that we had to eat the crusts of our bread because "that's where all the vitamins are". I heard this so much as a kid that I just kind of took it for granted and never really thought deeply about it until one fateful day. I was eating a sandwich and pondering the whole crust thing when I realized it was all a lie! It's all the same bread! It's not like the bakers sprinkle extra special vitamin powder on the top!
    So I phone my mom to call her out on this and she says, "Yeah, I just didn't want to have to cut the crusts off of your sandwiches for you."

  19. It's not obnoxious. It's great. I love it even more THIS time round.

  20. Seriously you should have posted a warning, I was eating and now I don't think I will be a able to eat for days.
    This brought back so many bad memories, like our mom used to make this oatmeal, cook it till it was paste with raisins, so when it was served, it was this cold blob with bloated raisins, which we used to call dog ticks.
    This would make a perfect weight-loss program, just post one of these once a week and I promise I won't eat for days.

  21. I lived in Alaska during the 70's. Fresh food was very expensive. We drank powdered milk a lot and I always longed to be able to take a snack pack pudding to school for lunch, but my mother would never buy them. When my dad would go out of town we would eat Cheerios for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we loved it!

    I also remember eating fake mashed potatoes and hamburger gravy. My mom made us Zapple crisp with a bunch of zuchinni my grandma dumped on us. We hated it!

    I love your blog.

  22. Brown beans in a can with that sauce. UGGGGHHHHHHH. Just the smell of it still makes me want to throw up. She would make it as a punishment. Any casserole is also puke-worthy. Creamed corn is already halfway there to BEING puke, so even just thinking about it makes me retch.

    I was born with a gourmet tongue to a welfare teen mom. I don't know how that happened.

    Now, could I be SO rude as to ask a favour of anyone who waited until marriage before having sex? I am writing an article about why chastity before marriage isn't totally dumb and I need more responses to my survey. Please help! Thanks.

  23. Okay, and hot dog weiners aren't really raw. It's like bologna. I ate them like that as a kid too and the thought now? Yep, makes me want to throw up. I do NOT have an iron stomach.

  24. You so know how I feel about making fun of our poor mothers! Five more years, Sue - I give you 5 more years of parenting children who whine no matter what you feed them and who change their food phobias daily just to keep you on your toes - 5 more years of that, and you'll be crawling to your mom begging her to forgive you for this post.

  25. My mom used to try to use subterfuge. She'd peel the turnips with the potatoes and cook and serve them all together. Just a little surprise when you went from a perfectly fine potatoe to those nasty turnips! The other one was the venison "hamburgers" that coat your mouth. YUCK! I know there are lots of people that love venison, but YUCK! I could never stand the consistency and the "moldy" feeling growing in my mouth. Luckily, I grew into a fair imitation of Sherlock Holmes. I could actually distinguish the turnips from the potatoes just by looking; and the venison from the hamburger just by smelling;)
    And I was a lot more stubborn than my mom -- so I really didn't eat them after I got old enough to know better!

  26. Did your peanut butter have lard in it? I'm confused. To me, this sounds perfectly healthy. In fact, I think I should serve this to my daughter, so she can have a healthy sheen to her hair, too.

  27. You know Mariko, I don't actually know. Doesn't ALL peanut butter have lard in it?

    Actually, I know peanut butter doesn't technically have lard in it, but frankly "Yum, LARD" was just a lot funnier than "Yum, hydrogenated oils" I sacrifice accuracy on the altar of comedy on a regular basis ;>

  28. Oh, yeah. We got the powdered milk and gluten one-two punch. But you know what I really hated? FREAKING CAROB. Still hate that stuff. And 'sho nuff I've had a lifetime of Cream of Wheat. Hit that threshold at age four. And my mom ground her own wheat (yeah, you read that right) but she couldn't cook, which made her whole wheat pancakes a particularly bad idea. Wouldn't eat pancakes for years and can now only be talked into the Bisquick ones, the Luke Skywalker to whole wheat Darth Vader.

  29. Holy crap, that was hilarious. The part about the hot dogs... seriously. My parents were actually really good about things, they didn't really try to force food on us if we didn't want to eat it. I guess I was lucky! Although I wouldn't have minded a bowl of chocolate goo once in a while.

  30. Anonymous12:05 AM

    This made me almost pee myself. I'm so glad you posted it.

  31. Love the hot dog puke part! I laughed out loud! My dad made us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner once. When mom got home she asked what we ate. He told her and she said but we don't have any jelly. I just didn't use jelly he says. Then she says we don't have any bread! He says he used taco shells. Hard taco shells! With just peanut butter! We also used to do all kinds of things with rice. Put ketchup on it or cinnamon or... very creative! I also lock my fridge because my kids have hollow legs and they'd eat all day if I let them. Also, one of my daughters has food allergies but she's two and doesn't understand so I don't want anything to happen to her if she gets into stuff she can't have. Last reason, they'll pull a bunch of stuff out of the fridge and put it somewhere and then it goes bad! I lock my pantry too...and the kids are mess makers! ;)

  32. I can stand the humiliation of this post once again, I guess. But blame your dad for the liver and onions. He wanted the meat almost raw and went to a special butcher shop to buy the liver in inch-thick slabs. I like liver and onions, but not rare! I let you off the hook eating it once your dad left the table. Isn't it interesting that it is your husband that does the cooking in your home? Did I give you a cooking phobia?

  33. Nah, I'm just lazy. ;>

  34. I actually think chocolate treat sounds pretty good.

  35. gross! I think I'm one of the readers who read this before, but I'm always happy to read something from your archives! I love your stuff!

  36. Well, I guess I'm a newer reader since I hadn't seen this before.

    But I totally snorted out loud (at work) at reading that post.