Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Food Phobias Explained

I’m declaring it “Nostalgia Week” here on A Wooden Nickel. Yesterday was The Mighty Ducks and today will be me re-living my days with a particularly horrible daycare provider who I think hated me. Don Draper informed us in Mad Men Season One that nostalgia is Greek for “the pain from an old wound”. Based off the latent rage I still feel for the experiences I’m about to detail, I think that’s pretty accurate.

Today I went to a bagel shop for lunch and when I wasn’t looking the worker wrapped my sandwich up in paper with a pickle. I smelled it before I even left the counter and promptly flew to the coffee prep area to discard of the fermented cuke before it juiced all over my bagel. I could feel the worker’s eyes in the back of my head as I used 3 napkins to sop any remaining traces from the wrapper sheet. What prompted this public showing of crazy?

I was an extremely picky eater as a child. I wasn’t just picky though- I categorically refused to try new things. This did not please this lazy provider who was so dedicated to the equal (equally shitty) treatment of her charges that she would refuse to make me a sandwich without mayo for lunch. She’d watch in sadistic pleasure as I’d lift the sandwich to my mouth, my other hand clutching the milk carton I'd use to chase each small bite. When I’d protest, sometimes going as far as asking for a mayo-free lunch in front of my mother so she’d be more likely to acquiesce to the demands of a preschooler, she’d respond, “I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like mayo.” Even as a 4-year-old I knew that she was a) lying and b) a complete lunatic for not just leaving mine off. It would have been LESS WORK. In retrospect it also would have been cheaper because I wouldn’t have downed a gallon's worth of 1/2 pint milk cartons at each meal.

The pickle traumatization stemmed from her offering to bring us to McDonald's as a special treat. I’d plop myself in the closest seat to her and plead in advance for a plain cheeseburger. Ketchup/lettuce/tomato/pickle were all well beyond my undeveloped palette. Do you think she would order 8 regular ones and 1 plain? No. She wouldn’t. This woman sucked the joy out of McDonald’s for me a solid 20 years before Jamie Oliver did. Her response to my begging was a perennial parenting favorite- “just scrape off what you don’t want”. There I’d sit, wondering why this woman didn’t understand that PICKLE JUICE COULD NOT BE SCRAPED OFF and that when it combined with the ketchup juice seeping into the bun, THE BUN COULD NEVER RETURN TO ITS ORIGINAL FORM.

A few years ago I asked my mom what she was thinking sending me to this hellhole of a daycare. For what it’s worth, she did feel bad about it- especially when the woman’s daughter punched me in the face the morning of my first day of kindergarten, and I had to get on the bus with a wad of Kleenex up my nose so as not to bleed all over my new classmates. (She was worried that the kids would be cruel and make fun of me. I don’t remember any mean kids, but I remember how smug I was that my attacker was one year younger, and so had to stay with her insane mother all day while I got to finger paint and eat a lunch my mom made for me that DIDN’T HAVE SOGGY BREAD.)

I eat pretty much everything now, but I still won't touch mayo, pickles, or condiments on buns. I'm clearly so affected by this woman's reign of terror that I had to blog about it for six paragraphs, using Kanye caps. The pain from an old wound, indeed.


So that's either a Kanye West blog post or a 2-sentence Jamie Oliver video lead-in as my literacy activity for the day. Don't judge me.


LH said...

I'm sad to say I've met a few people like this gal who wouldn't make you the right sandwich.

I'm glad your bagel was okay. Stuff like that can be extremely irksome.

Indiana Rock on a California Roll said...

Lovin the Kanye caps and the whole sentiment of this blog. As a fellow picky eater I've often wondered- are these people's lives designed to fill ours with more GUILT? About not liking mayo? Yeezy would tell us to scrape off the pickle sediment with as much indignation as we can muster.

Molly said...

oh man, I don't think I've ever more firmly agreed with something you said: YOU CAN'T SCRAPE PICKLE JUICE OFF.

right there with you.