Running behind as usual, I didn’t have time for breakfast as I rushed out of the house to make my 8:00 a.m. appointment in Superior, Wisconsin – 65 miles from home. I was getting hungry while waiting for my van to be serviced at the dealership. To take my mind off the unhealthy snack chips, popcorn and candy offered in the customer waiting area, my mind wandered off to food and what to have for dinner tonight.
My wife made meatloaf last night – it’s really good stuff and there are always leftovers. I suggested we should have a repeat of last night’s dinner tonight. She said no. I started craving, of all things, beef liver and onions. I love them – my wife does not. I have not always loved them but our palates change through time.
When I was a kid, babies were delivered by the family doctor – a general practitioner, and prenatal vitamins weren’t a thing yet. Doctors instructed their expecting patients how to eat healthy to accommodate the nutritional needs of the mother with child. This included plenty of beef liver to increase iron levels. With seven younger siblings, my mom was pregnant through many of my childhood years and we ate a lot of liver.
It wasn’t my favorite and I certainly would not have requested it for my birthday dinner. I disliked the slimy onion more than the entree, but if liver was dinner – well, you ate what was put on the table. Times have changed. Young parents today are more likely to accommodate the individual likes and dislikes of their children.
I wonder if it was an advantage to be told to eat what was served, like it or not, or if my palate just changed as I got older. I took time to think about some things my granddaughters have recently said:
While reading something online, my daughter Sydney, blurted out, “Holy guacamole!”
Three-year-old Evelyn declared, “I don’t like guacamole.”
Surprised by her comment, Sydney repeated, “You don’t like guacamole?”
Evelyn confirmed, “No. It’s disgusting and it makes me nervous.” Good for you, Evelyn. I didn’t like guac until I was in my thirties…but it never made me nervous.
My seven-year-old granddaughter asked, “Papa, why did you eat the last grapefruit?”
Her comment caught me off guard. “Because I brought it with me to eat.” I said, then asked, “Do you like grapefruit?”
“Papa, I love grapefruit.” She informed me. I’m learning new things every day. When I went to the grocery store that afternoon, I bought another grapefruit. I peeled the citrus delight to share it with her.
Addison took one bite. Her face contorted; her eyes squeezed so tight they drew her brows to a sharp V. Her nose wrinkled and her lips puckered, pulling her ears forward. She spit the sour piece from her mouth onto her plate, then began scrubbing her tongue with a napkin while reaching for water. I guess Addison is also learning new things every day. Not all things were sour; some were sweet.
One day, from inside their fort made of blankets and chairs, they told me I couldn’t come in because boys have germs. “Besides you don’t know the password.” They said. I overheard them earlier and told them the password was Horse. The blanket moved to the side, creating a wedge-shaped opening and they let me in. When I wanted to leave, they informed me, “You can’t leave unless you know the password to get out.”
Evelyn whispered in my ear, telling me the outbound password was cookies. “Cookies.” I said, expecting the magic door to reopen.
“You can’t just say it.” Addison informed me, “You have to bring back the bag of cookies you took from us earlier.” I agreed to return with some cookies.
On a piece of paper, I drew several small round green things. I placed one of their toy horses on the paper with its tail over the dots. “That’s horse poop.” Addison informed me. “You have to bring us real cookies.”
“Those are horse cookies.” I said, knowing full well they were road apples, but some fruit in their diet would do them just as well.
My stomach growled and gurgled. I was really hungry and started thinking again about something to eat. Chips and guacamole would be good. So would some cookies. Heck, I’d have even loved a grapefruit. Then I remembered another comment from the grands. Addison called out, “Mom! Evelyn took my gum out of my mouth and now she’s chewing it.” ABC gum? Maybe when I was three, but today? Ick!
Our palates do change as we grow. I think I’ll stop at the store and get some beef liver for dinner tonight.
a broadcaster, pilot, writer, and our Guest Columnist!