Wednesday, April 01, 2020

So, It Occurred To Me...

     ...All over the First World, children who have been picky, fussy eaters are being told, "Well, that's what we've got, so eat it or go hungry."

     I take this with the slightly malicious glee of a spinster aunt, reminded of my mother's story of  staying with one of her much-older sisters for a couple of weeks one summer.  This would have been some time between 1938 and 1941; Mom was grade-school age and her sister was out of college, working, and not yet married. 

     Times were hard, money was tight, and if you think the wage differential between men and women is significant now, it was far more so then.  Mom was the very youngest, and accustomed to having her own way.  Her sister lived in a small apartment, downtown in a fair-to-middling southern Indiana city

     One day, lunch was chicken noodle soup, bread and butter, and milk.  Mom had decided after a few spoonfuls that the soup was not to her liking.  She ate her bread, drank about half her milk, and looked around, complaining that she was hungry.

     "Well, then, finish your soup."

     "It's awful."

     "I see."  A streetcar bell clanged outside the window.  "Oh, there's the trolley!  Go have a look!"

     Thrilled as only a child can be by such a connection to the wider world, Mom rushed over to the window and watched as the trolley car stopped, passengers got off and other got on, and the motorman dinged the bell and sent it trundling away away.

     Her sister said, "Come back and have your milk, and you can go play."

     Mom returned to the table, picked up her suddenly-full milk glass, and chugged it -- realizing, too late, that the glass was now half-milk, half chicken noodle soup.  Raised too polite to spit it out, she finished her "milk," and took the lesson to heart -- or at least well enough to heart that when she had children of her own, she made sure we knew what might happen.

     My siblings and I all learned to finish our soup.

     Perhaps a new generation of children is learning to eat what's set before them -- a lesson that may have wider implications than just at mealtime.


Eric Wilner said...

I was reminded yesterday of why I never liked green beans as a kid - the ones that come pre-cooked in a can are mushy and smell weird, and Back In The Day, that was just how vegetables were.
Oh, well. They're edible, I guess. And the shelf-stable bottled orange juice (also bringing back memories) is tolerable, if there's nothing better available.
The next 2-3 days here are planting time! With some of the plants started a few weeks ago, we should be having at least some fresh produce again in a couple of months, assuming I can keep pests out of the victory garden. (Fence-building is also on the agenda for Real Soon Now.)

fillyjonk said...

I will probably lose some weight through this. I am eating less, partly because the stuff I have on had has become less appealing, partly because I am worried about running short. If I can spin out a can of beans over 5 days rather than eating it up in three, then that's fewer trips I have to make out into the scary, virus-infested world.

I long said that diets worked partly because they were sufficiently boring that you ONLY ate 'til your basic nutritional needs were met, and then quit.

Anonymous said...

"My siblings and I all learned to finish our soup."


Yeah, I had an uncle kinda like that. He was the husband of my mother's only sibling, and he *really* disliked petulant children that spilled their milk at the meal table.

He had a cure that insured no kid who witnessed it would ever repeat that mistake.

Kid spills milk. Uncle Bob picks up the empty glass, stands up, and goes to the refrigerator and gets the milk.

Walks back to the table, fills the glass with milk, and proceeds to dump the entire contents of the glass onto the head of the child that dared to spill milk on his table.

Re-fills the glass again, and sets that in front of the now-educated child.

Child not allowed to leave the table until every drop of milk was drunk.

Oooh, boy! Was I ever glad I wasn't the one who spilled their milk!