I remember my childhood days, when I sat at the dinner table with my parents and siblings. We had soup every day. Thick, savory, appetizing, healthy soup, made by my Mom. There were things floating in it. Green, orange, red and brown, sometimes white. And weird worm-like creatures, called vermicelli. Or white grains, that were supposed to be rice, but looked like tiny maggots. At that age, one could get suspicious about the ingredients. Seems I never grew up, though I learned to love rice – but the dry one. I don’t like my food to swim in liquid.
In those days, soup was eaten from a soup plate. Not a fancy bowl, with a touch of cream in the middle, no. Just a plain deep plate: the food was important, not the casing. Well, in one particular case the casing was important, for on special occasions – the special occasion for my mother probably being a lack of time – after soup we’d eat pancakes! For us youngsters, pancakes were a treat. And the absolute fun part was that during these meals, we were allowed to turn the plate upside down and eat the pancakes from the bottom! YES!
We used to scrape the plate as clean as possible, perhaps even lick it – only to save Mom the cleaning, mind you – flip the plate and then sit with knife and fork in hand, ready to attack. Only to put them down again, since we had to add sugar to the pancake first. Not sweeteners or Stevia. The real stuff. The stuff that would slowly break your teeth apart, but tasted heavenly. Who cared about the table getting dirty. A sweep with a cloth and the formica would be shiny and new.
This brings back other memories too. My brother never had to help with doing the dishes. Just leave him be, we will finish sooner without him anyway. And my sister who miraculously disappeared to the toilet whenever the hot water was running. I really had to go, if you want proof, then come and take a good sniff. Which I didn’t, of course. My nose is too valuable for that.
When I grew older, I became a vegetarian. My mother continued to make soup. And she knew the soup love of her daughter. The shrewd lady combined her concerns over my vegetarian diet in a special soup, which she blended into a smooth green tasty broth. One could no longer see the separate ingredients… As if I didn’t know that she added lots of ground beef, to ease her conscience. Everyone needs meat!, was her motto. And I let her, because her love was dipped deeply into this brew.
Over the years things changed. With the arrival of dish washers, clean tableware no longer is scarce. No need to use both sides of a plate. And I’m no longer a vegetarian, for the men in my life always demanded meat. And I don’t have time to prepare two, at times even three different meals a day. So tomorrow I’ll make soup and pancakes. And teach my eldest son how to eat them properly. I have neglected this for far too long.
—Did your family have an unusual eating habit too when you were younger?
I wrote this for Writing 101: Happy Memories: “Today, be inspired by a favorite childhood meal. For the twist, focus on infusing the post with your unique voice — even if that makes you a little nervous.”
I’d love to get feedback.