Food Feelings

Daughter has made some wonderful friends in Tacoma, and they all seem to have a shared interest in good food. Daughter tells me weekly what she is cooking, and has really expanded her cooking repertoire.

The other week, Daughter and a friend realized the extent of their food obsession when Friend and her husband went out to eat at a favorite restaurant and found that a beloved spinach artichoke dip with sun-dried tomatoes had been discontinued permanently. Her friend was horrified to find herself actually bursting into tears at the disappointment. Her grandfather had died quite recently, but Friend said that had nothing to do with her reaction to the loss of the dip. That dip was really special to her.

Daughter is always eager to point out when I haven’t been a perfect parent, and the spinach dip incident reminded her of the time she phoned me in tears because a friend had forgot to put a pan of enchiladas that Daughter had made in the fridge overnight, rendering them somehow spoiled. She admits she reacted to it like a 13 year old girl. Her takeaway from the phone call, though, was her hearing me say “You talk to her, Chris. I can’t deal with her right now.” Husband proceeded to say all the right things to her, about how this wasn’t about the enchiladas but about her disappointment that her friend had been careless. Dad 1, Mom 0.

What foods do you have an emotional reaction to? How did your parents differ in their ways of interacting with you? What is your favorite artichoke recipe?

31 thoughts on “Food Feelings”

  1. As you live longer, life gets more challenging, and it is hard to muster a lot of sympathy for the small calamities of life. Children can never appreciate this statement into they walk in our mocassins.

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  2. My father dealt with me by teasing. My mother was more tentative. Both Daughter and her friend realized that their food reactions were prerry silly.

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  3. There is a lot of excitement in our home every morning as our puppy anticipates receiving what we call the “Kong of Goodness”, which is a Kong filled with kibble and a small dollop of cream cheese.

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  4. Our son developed very strong feelings about savoy cabbage after he and I got into a power struggle when he was about 8 when I wouldn’t let him leave the table until he ate some of the homemade minestrone I had prepared for supper. That was really unnecessary on my part.

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    1. When YA was a toddler, she would often eat just a bit then abandon her meal. I required her to stay put for a bit with me and I often said “one more bite” or “two more bites” Then I had to tack on “and not mouse bites”. For some reaon she always thought this was hysterical and sometimes she eat a few more bites than I requested! Since my mother had been a “you can’t leave the table until…” parent, I was glad to find a way to get nourishment in YA without becoming my mother!

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  5. I learned to love artichokes because of one particular appetizer. Once a week I’d have 3 hours between my afternoon and evening class at St. Kate’s, so I’d go out to eat and caffeinate. The Green Mill on Grand Avenue used to have a deep-fried artichoke appetizer, served with ranch dipping sauce (I called the dish “vegetarian shrimp”), and they were SO good! I was devastated when they were taken off the menu. For years I got my artichoke fix with Pizza Luce’s vegan Pizza Athena, but now Parkway Pizza has vegan artichoke dip, yum!

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  6. Well, there’s the lefse, as related in the blog post I wrote about my late son Joel. (fair warning, between my story and all the stories in the comments, it’s a tear jerker)

    Last of the Lefse

    My dad would be pretty direct, but sort of matter-of-fact if he was disappointed in me. Mom might raise her voice, show more emotion, but ya know, I can’t remember very much of this… maybe some “I think you should(n’t)…” They both tried reasoning with me, I think. And I got mixed messages – from Dad: be normal; Mom told me to be different.

    I have an (baked) Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe from a friend that I haven’t tried making yet, but I highly recommend.

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    1. Thanks for re-sharing that story, Barb. It makes me think of when I took the last container of my mom’s bars out of the freezer to share with my grief group after her death. I think the group was touched. They were good bars, too–seven layer, IIRC.

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      1. Thanks, BiR, for revisiting this ten year old blog about Joel. It’s as poignant as ever. Reading it, and all of the responses to it, also serves as a stark reminder that nothing is static, things change, and we’re constantly called on to adjust, as best we can, to what’s happening around us.

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  7. I have lost interest in food. Just crank out what has veggies in it and low meat. Was on a salad streak. Now on streak of Vegetable soups of various kinds which I hardly taste. Trying to revive an interesting tea and coffee. I drink coffee with little real interest. Caribou dropped the coffees I like. The Seattle sludge company only makes one kind I like. Hard to get but did get some Monday. Yet to grind it. Wessex has me thinking, maybe I will buy bacon, but I feel like a pain in the rear buying 2 or 3 slices.
    My parents interactions makes a dull story. No drama, no comedy.
    Clyde

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    1. I just requested the Instant Pot for One from the library a couple of days ago… if it looks helpful, I might add a copy to my cookbook shelves. I gotta cook more for myself!

      The other day I was fantasizing about a “single cookers coop” kind of thing in which every week you bring in your leftover half onion and leftover half a pepper and trade it for two carrots and a couple cloves of garlic… but I’m thinking this might be beyond cat herding in its scope.

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  8. I’m not sure I have a strong emotional reaction to any kind of food, except maybe ice cream. I truly love ice cream and I never want to get to the bottom of the dish/bowl/carton. I really can’t have it in the house. Lefse always brings happy memories but I can’t say it’s a really emotional reaction – just happy memories. I really can’t have lefse in the house either. Carrot cake is another food that brings happy memories. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting makes me really happy. Can’t have that in the house either. So I guess I could say that foods make me happy and hungry and that makes me fairly normal, I think.

    My sister-in-law gave me a recipe for her baked artichoke – crab dip. There is no better recipe for that dip. I really can’t have that in the house either. That recipe makes me laugh because one year Maureen made it for a family gathering and she sliced the very tip of her finger off and the fingertip fell into the dip. She had to go to the ER and have them fix up her finger and she had to throw that dip away. Now it’s a family joke when there is artichoke dip. “No fingers in there, are there?”

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  9. Dad yelled, mom was less so… but I clearly remember her trying to swat me with a fly swatter because I was mouthing off and she was on the phone. With a cord so she was ‘tethered’ and I could run away. 🙂

    The cheese cake mom always made for my birthday is a good memory. And when my friend Gary bought me a case of grape pop and I pulled the last bottle out…that was bittersweet.

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  10. I like to keep a jar of marinated artichoke hearts around to add to pasta dishes or pasta salads when the spirit moves me and I like whole artichokes OK but I have never prepared them myself. Mostly a vehicle for melted butter, I’d say.

    I don’t recall ever relying on my parents for any sort of emotional support. I just never expected them to have any insight into my internal life, any more than I did in theirs. They were reasonably compatible—they were married for 60 years, my Dad dying on their 60th anniversary—but they had distinctly different spheres. That’s completely unlike the relationship Robin and I have.

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  11. I’ll address a common interaction between parent and child.
    Mom was a “spare the rod (belt in my case) spoil the child” person but it took a lot to make her reach that point. She usually (not always) handed off inflicting punishment to Dad who would explain why he needed to do this. I was always allowed to state my case, which was always very, very weak. All-in-all this made whipping with the belt very rare and of little physical consequence. I’ll quote this principle: “True, no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but it is painful; yet afterward, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
    Let me be clear. No rules. Inflicting a spanking should never happen out of anger. The parent has control and responsibility. It’s anecdotal but I do not believe I was harmed psychologically from having been spanked.

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    1. I was rarely spanked and only once with a belt. I remember the punishment clearly but I couldn’t begin to guess at this point what the offense was; all corporal punishment teaches you is about physical dominance. It’s not discipline if the punishment overrides the lesson.

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  12. My folks didn’t really have competing styles because they were an absolute united front where us kids were concerned. There was no such thing as “go as your mother/father”. My folks both came from some ugly abuse backgrounds and they determined when they married that they were not going to raise kids the way they had been raised. So except for two spankings I got (years apart actually), there was no spanking and no yelling. “Grounding” was my parents punishment choice; I’m not sure that this isn’t more punishnment for parents than it is for kids!

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  13. I didn’t even know what an artichoke was until I was an adult and up until I was about 40, they only artichoke exposure was the hot artichoke dip that you find at many holiday parties. YA love this kind of dip, so these days I serve it at my holiday party as well!

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  14. Not sure that I have an emotional reaction to any particular food, but there are certain foods, and food smells, that evoke memories of a certain time and place. Sipping freshly brewed coffee while the smell of frying bacon is wafting through the kitchen, takes me back to Saturday morning brunches with our favorite neighbors in Carbondale. What a sweet time that was.

    For a period of about fifteen years, our traditional New Year’s Eve menu for our annual celebration with our good friends Jon and Linda had at its centerpiece Garlic and Butter broiled Shrimp with Spring Green Risotto. The risotto featured leeks, fennel, artichoke hearts, and asparagus, and since it’s the only recipe with artichoke hearts that I have made repeatedly, I guess that makes it my favorite.

    Mom’s approach to dealing with my sister and me was relying heavily on threats and violence. She ruled with intimidation and fear. Dad appealed to our reason, sense of decency, and the expectation that we would generally try to do our best. In retrospect, I think that a lot of Mom’s violence was fear based. She lived in constant fear that something bad would happen to us, and she would be held accountable.

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  15. I think that is so relatable. I am so connected to food that I don’t even realize it. Sometimes I’ll look in the fridge and if we don’t have applesauce I really find myself getting actually sad.

    Also, my parents definitely differ in the way they interact with me. My mother tries to take a more of an emotional side while my father very awkwardly tries to comfort but doesn’t do well with emotions.

    I don’t think I have a favorite artichoke dip. I usually like all of the ones I taste.

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