Thursday, July 31, 2003


Pumpernickel Bread - Besides, being good for the ole' "I hardly know her!" routine, the brown bread is non-existent to me. This is perhaps one of the most common of foods that I have never tasted. And also perhaps for the weirdest reason: it's brown and looks too much like chocolate cake. Even though it doesn't taste like chocolate cake--which I'm told it doesn't--my mind cannot fathom the combination of a salty, i.e. cream cheese, with something that merely appears potentially sweet. Granted my tastebuds could supply undeniable proof that Pumpernickel (I hardly know her! Ha ha ha. Never gets old) is indeed a salty just as whole wheat and rye is...still, I have yet to take the plunge.

Peanut Butter & Celery; Cottage Cheese & Strawberries - When I was a child, I had a very close friend (who shall remain nameless) with an incredibly weird palette. His house was my first exposure to tofu, brussell sprouts, and faux hot dogs and hamburgers (also appetizingly known as "Links" and "Grillers"). Needless to say, I left his house on many occasions really, really, really hungry. Sorry. Rice cakes are not the fillers you thought they were.
Anyway, after long afternoons of running wildly around the basement, we were sometimes offered PB & C as a snack. I was repulsed. Offended. As a sensitive impressionable child, I considered this abusive. As if I asked for a snack and in return, I was slapped across the face. To this day, I cannot eat this said snack because this said snack reminds me of the depravity of youth. The horror of candy denial.

This same family offered cottage cheese and strawberries for breakfast instead of the expected and always pleasing sugar cereals. We always had sugar cereals at home, I would think. I mean, Dad encouraged them. Have breakfast, he would say, start the day off sweet. And to this moment, I maintain a pretty strict diet of non-sugared foods but yet I cannot abandon the need for a good bowl of Cap'n Crunch. Giving that up would be like asking me to start speaking Japanese after relying on English for a quarter century plus. Where else would I get my morning sugar rush from? Does a bowl of cottage cheese provide that necessity? No. Sadly, it does not. So I went without my Toucan Sam or my Tony the Tiger (not even Snap, Crackle or Pop made the cut). None of them were invited to my friend's house. But in reality, they were lucky. They at least got decent snacks.

Pork, Lobster, Ham, Shrimp; i.e. Things That Crawl Or Roll In Mud - I observe the laws of Kashrut. Which means I only eat kosher which doesn't mean that a Rabbi has to bless my food. It's way more complex than that. I assure you that those complexities would bore you to death.


Chalk - My mother, being an educator, had educator-like things in the attic. She had a desk with papers, red pens, clips, markers, etc. But one of the items in the desk eventually and disturbingly became a delicacy to me. Every so often, I would sneak upstairs, as if I was taking a ultra-secret cigarette break, and I would open the top drawer slowly as to avoid any tattle-telling creaks, pull out a piece of chalk and bite into it.

I don't know what it was about the chalk that made me want to eat it. It didn't have much of a taste really. It actually just tasted really....chalky. Which come to think of it gives me the validity to don foods "chalky" and actually know what I'm talking about.

Eating the chalk, I guess, was my way of rebelling against educators. This was the one tool they had, the one instrument of educating that I could devour in the privacy of my own home. Chalk was also the potential source of embarrassment. When a teacher called you up to answer something on the board, chances were you didn't know the answer. Hence, the eating of the chalk. The big pumping fist of my childhood.

Or more realistically, none of this could have ever occurred to me. Perhaps I was just a very weird little boy.


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