Dominic just posted a clip on Facebook about a trip he and I took in a VW Minivan to the east coast when we were kids. Coincidentally, I was going to post a story about that trip last week but our internet went down.
Today I want to talk about food.
Being a child of the 60s, my mom had a 50s food aesthetic. Vegetables came out of a can. Remember canned asparagus? I have to admit that, while I don’t indulge today, I do love canned peas. I used to melt Colby cheese in them. That still sounds good to me.
If you want a good laugh, find an early edition of The Joy of Cooking.
With absolutely no guidance, I experimented.
I remember when there was nothing else in the fridge; I would make Wonder Bread, Miracle Whip, and pickle sandwiches. I can’t even think about Miracle Whip or white bread now without gagging.
The last time I intentionally ate meat was in 1979. The only things I miss to this day are fried bologna sandwiches. I used to take 2 slices and put Colby and cream cheese between them. You had to keep flipping it, because the bologna wanted to curl as it cooked.
I used to break my mother’s heart by disappearing for weeks at a time in the county without calling. I had to scrounge for food. I remember eating Cheerios in chocolate milk with scoops of peanut butter and cream cheese.
I think I had a thing for Colby and cream cheese. I used to melt them on pot pies and frozen fish sticks.
A real delicacy for me was baking French fries with hamburger, Colby, cream cheese and catsup. Sometimes I’d throw pork and beans on it. I loved cooking catsup into everything. I wonder when I started eating vegetables.
When I worked at Duff’s Restaurant as a kid, I put catsup on quiche. They say real men don’t eat quiche. They do when you put catsup on it.
Years later my wife took me to Duff’s for my birthday. Chef James Voss placed a huge industrial sized can of Heinz on our table. By the way, they wouldn’t let us pay for the meal.
We all had strange ideas about food when we were kids. I think I was hitch hiking in the middle of the country somewhere when Dominic convinced me that peanut butter and sunflower seeds had all the essential nutritional components.
As recently as the early 80s, when Fojammi and I shared a studio, I’d show up at his apartment at the crack of dawn and start the day with some kind of cereal with a scoop of peanut butter and a glass of orange juice.
My friend Ali taught me frozen concentrate OJ could be eaten like popsicles.
On that east coast trip with Dominic, we were in Maine and hadn’t eaten in 3 or 4 days. We found apples floating in the melted ice of our cooler. I hate fruit, but I still remember it as my favorite eating experience. It’s amazing how much starvation can enhance a dining experience!
I’ve already mentioned in an earlier post what a mistake it is to eat raw vegetables after 2 weeks of fasting. Damn Dick Gregory!
Somewhere around that time period I lived on coffee milk shakes.
It’s amazing that, at this point in my life, I know you need a combination of fresh vegetables, a complicate carb, and a protein with all the essential amino acids including B-12. I think you have to learn those things when you go veg.
I cook every meal for Valerie, my kids and me with those rules and I never cook the same thing. Every meal is an experiment.
For some reason every one of them ends up tasting the same.