What does it take to get a place at the Meek table? Manners. Put your napkin on your lap, do not slurp up the last of the milk in your cereal bowl, and whatever you do, do not ever put your elbows on the table.
The worst memories are those that consist of lots of tears and time spent at the table because I broke rule #1: I didn’t finish all of the food on my plate. No doubt, I would be wailing for hours… Especially on the nights when my mother served green beans.
I loathed those stringy legumes so much that to this day I can still taste the soggy, cold strings and I would prefer to have memories of eating my tears for dinner. My relationship with my parents suffered due to this ludicrous rule and every time they would mutter the words “a child in Africa is starving…” I wanted to use all of the money in my piggy bank to send my cold green beans to Ethiopia.
Now I can save my stamps and thank them for the nightmares at the dinner table. It is seldom to hear the word “no” escape my mouth regarding conversations centered around food. It’s all thanks to the late nights upheaving cold green beans and forcing gulps of 1% milk down my throat— thanks mom and dad.
There is an exception: It’s a firm NO that I am not a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, or avoid cheese of any kind. I want to be realistic and question if we can seriously have good sex in our lives without good cheese? Biting into that aged piece of smoky gouda is equivalent to 10 macro orgasms and I pity every vegan. Not to say I don’t support the lifestyle, I just wouldn’t engage in any sort of post vegan-dinner-romp-sesh with one of the followers.
My decision to eat meat full-time and to never dabble in the vegetarian world came to me when I purchased tofurkey in high school. God, it was awful and tasted like rubbery sand paper. I feel like vegetarians who eat this weird meat substitute must really hate themselves. Needless to say, I gave up all my dietary restrictions before I turned 21 and invested in a full-time commitment to never letting a gluten-free muffin touch my lips ever again.
Sometimes it can be hard keeping my commitment while living in a progressive town that caters to these lifestyles. Every day, a new gluten-free muffin is showcased at my favorite coffee shop. My taste buds die a little bit every time I see a trendy individual mistaking gluten-free as a healthy food option. I am deeply saddened by decisions that involve choosing the dry, gluten-free pumpkin seed muffin over the deliciously moist lemon poppy seed. What are they thinking? I have to keep reminding myself to be accepting of all lifestyles regardless of how much flavor and deliciously erotic textures they are missing out on. Sometimes I also have to hold myself back from going up to them and crushing their gluten-free muffin and watching it instantly crumble to the floor.
Because that shit is so dry.
I try to keep everything in balance and work on my relationship with food because it is the only relationship that will stay with me after I’ve eaten too much garlic. I like to purchase food that is abundantly healthy with a wide array of colors so I can showcase to my friends how trendy I am. Trendy, that is, before I inevitably destroy any recipe and that doesn’t involve making salad—but please don’t get that confused with veganism.
Alas, I am a terrible chef but I continue to persevere because I am a trial candidate of the “anyone can cook” myth. With lots practice in my own life and actions, I have successfully turned a lot of people onto the joy of salad making-hopefully not straight shooting their path to veganism- but I am proud of all the small influences I have made on people and their consequent relationship with food.
Perhaps one of my fondest memories is a compliment that I received from my Uncle Kirk on my salad making abilities. It kind of shocked me to even watch him put vegetables in his mouth when his most famous saying has always been: “Anyone who ever ate a carrot died.”
All of my memories of growing up as a kid in Idaho always involved some sort of food or drink. Michael Luckey and I would spend hours playing and walking around the neighborhood picking Honeysuckles off the side of the road to feast on their nectar. In the big winter of 1996, my dad built the biggest igloo with my older sister Katie and I. We sat in there after it was finished and we sipped on hot cocoa made special by Dad.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it’s the only time out of the year that my Mother’s slightly redneck and strongly conservative family gather at our house to pass on my father’s homebrew Pale Ale in favor of Keystone Light. This is the only time out of the year I get to eat my Aunt Cathy’s famous clam dip served with wavy Ruffles. Goddamn, it’s so good. I try to pace myself, but I can’t. I know I won’t get another chance to eat the heavenly processed bowl of farmed clams and bottomless sour cream for a year.
You can epically describe someone based on the food that they drink and consume. My mother loves her wine. When I think about my mother and her movements I can describe her like I would a bottle of wine: bold in her quirkiness and full in her passions. Whenever she makes me her signature burritos, I can taste her personality—she’s a hidden kind of spice. She is quick with her recipes and will do anything to please her company’s taste buds for the night. But what I love most about my mother is the way her eyes light up when she talks about food. It’s the kind of passion you read about again and again. It’s the ultimate love affair and she has shown me what it means to be in love with edible creations.
Clearly, I am in love with food. But more importantly, I am in love with the memories that involve food and drink.
They are simply the best.
So I thank you, dear reader, for taking the time to consume my thoughts. I hope they nourish you like they nourish me.