Nature’s Truly Most Perfect Food

Since my wife and I don’t watch TV, I don’t know whether the dairy industry still touts milk as “Nature’s most perfect food.”

Nonetheless, I disagree. Not because I dislike milk. I don’t. I not only love it, I drink eight ounces of milk every morning. Skim, at that. And I have fond memories of drinking fresh milk at the dairy farm where I stayed many years ago on a mission trip to Wales.

No, maybe I’m exaggerating to say I disagree that milk is “Nature’s most perfect food.” I suppose it is.

But there is one food–and one only–that is “Nature’s truly most perfect food.” And that is PIZZA!

That’s me finishing up my half of the pizza we had for lunch last Sunday. Bacon on mine, pepperoni and mushrooms on hers.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always crazy about pizza. Not because I disliked it at all, but because I never had any until I was in the tenth or eleventh grade. My mother didn’t cook pizza, and those were the days before every corner that didn’t have a church on it had a pizza place.

Not that it would’ve mattered. We wouldn’t have gone there, and since I didn’t know what I was missing, I wouldn’t have bugged my parents about it.

Not that I would’ve bugged them, anyhow. They were fine people, but not very bug-able.

But then came that magic Sunday night when we were invited to somebody’s house for an after-church social. There I had my first pizza, and I fell in love with it. Unfortunately, that was probably also my father’s first pizza, and it made him SO sick. He’d never reacted to other food that way.

I couldn’t convince my parents that the problem was probably something specific to THAT pizza, not pizza in general. Alas, we continued never having it.

I don’t know when the one-eighty came. But definitely while I was in college. I have fond memories of walking the snowy streets of Frostburg, Md.–named after a family of Frosts, not the frigid weather that typified that area in winter–from where I was living off-campus (Frostburg State) to a place downtown where I’d buy two or three slices and eat them out of the box trudging back to my room through the snow and trying to keep from falling down and getting my pizza wet.

Once I was totally out on my own, pizza became a staple. Both with my ex-wife and Kathleen. We don’t splurge as much as we might enjoy, though. “Nature’s truly most perfect” still comes with a calorie-laden price tag.  At our age and stage, we can’t ignore that.

I don’t know what foods will be served in Heaven, but I assume pizza will be available at every meal. And that–Heaven being Heaven, and Heaven being perfect–I’ll not only never grow fat there, I’ll also never get tired of pizza.

What do you think? How about leaving a comment.

 

    

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Best regards,
Roger

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A Picky Eater

My wife, Kathleen, accuses me of being a picky eater. Other people do, too, and they’re probably right. I’m normally the only person at a picnic who doesn’t eat potato salad or coleslaw.

I get tickled at listening to parents talk about the trouble they have getting their kids to eat certain foods. Or even certain types of foods. Kathleen admits that she avoided veggies (which she now loves) and ate canned soup rather than her mom’s homemade pizza during her childhood and that her two girls went through a phase of eating only hot dogs and cheese.

I didn’t have the option of objecting to what I was served. Or of refusing to eat it. There were no hassles about it. No protests. No bargains or compromises. And with rare exceptions I had to eat all of it. I couldn’t tell you why I was so complacent about my eating except to say I was a complacent child in general.

Oh, the things I had to eat that I detested! Spinach and other leafy green vegetables, yellow squash, butter beans (lima beans were even worse). Even tomatoes. (At least until they started growing almost seedless ones.) And especially stewed tomatoes.

Mother never fixed regular grits, but I’ll never forget the one time she served hominy grits. Eating them made me think I was eating moth balls! I don’t think she cared for them, either, since she never fixed them again.

Some things I enjoyed eating, though.

I was crazy about most meats. We seldom had steak, but we did eat roast beef and veal fairly often. We were more apt to have lamb chops than pork chops. We ate bacon, though, and my mother made the best bacon waffles. I’m not sure how the bacon cooked adequately in the waffle iron, but I believe she laid raw bacon in the batter when it started cooking.

For whatever reason, with rare exceptions (like the bacon waffles) breakfast was always toast, bacon, and scrambled eggs. We didn’t normally eat loaf bread at other meals. On occasion, however, Mother baked homemade cinnamon rolls. I salivate at the memory even now.

My mother baked some really good cakes, and I’ll never forget her homemade gingerbread, topped with a white topping I remember only as “hard sauce.” She also baked caramel cakes, but I didn’t care very much for them. Good thing I wasn’t forced to eat desserts, huh?

I look back at the wonderful foods I enjoy now and marvel that my mother never fixed them. I never had pizza until I was in high school and that was at someone else’s house. I don’t think I had ever ate spaghetti or any other pasta dish (except maybe mac ‘n’ cheese) until I was at college.  Sloppy Joes? College, also.

Once I got out on my own, I rebelled at eating foods I hated. I still detest most vegetables; that’s what vitamin pills take the place of, right? I’m not an adventurous eater, although I successfully tried several Cajun dishes on a job-related visit to New Orleans. Including alligator-on-a-stick.

I honestly don’t know whether parents are doing the right thing in just working hard to get their kids to eat–period. But force-feeding kids foods they don’t like has its drawbacks.

What about you? Did you have to eat what was served or did your parents work with you on the basis of your individual tastes? Are there any particular foods you avoid now because of an unhappy experience with them when you were younger? Or is there anything else you’d like to share about eating as a kid or as an adult? Please leave a comment.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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Best regards,
Roger

Snow & Pizza

SnowAndPizza 001     SnowAndPizza 002

Some things never change, no matter how old I get. Like having pizza when we have snow.

That’s a tradition that started when I was in college. I attended Frostburg State College (now University) and lived in a rooming house a block or two from campus. The town and consequently the college were named after a family named Frost.

But—with the kind of winter weather we had there—the name really fit. While it’s hard to remember many details about my time at Frostburg—I told you I’m aging gracelessly—I remember snow being on the ground on a regular basis.

I didn’t have a car yet. In fact, I didn’t get my license till late summer after graduation and my first car three or four months later. So I had to walk if I needed anything from Frostburg’s modest “downtown.”

But the only thing I ever really “needed” from the main drag was a couple of slices of pizza. I could’ve eaten more, but I couldn’t afford it.

So it wasn’t unusual for me to trudge out while the last little bit of daylight remained and slip and slide up and down a few hills to reach my pizza place.

My intentions were always good: to wait until I got back to the house before eating.

Have you ever carried a box of fresh, hot pizza at chest level? Hard to ignore that delicious aroma, isn’t it? Especially if every part of you but your hands is freezing.

So I inevitably started nibbling on my treat while slipping and sliding my way back to the house. I was careful, though. As careful as possible considering what I was doing. But I don’t question that—had I fallen down—protecting the pizza would’ve taken priority over protecting myself.

After all, broken bones would mend–eventually. But I couldn’t afford to go back and replace any lost pizza.

That started a tradition for me. One that continued with my first wife and has continued with Kathleen. Whenever it snows, we have to have pizza. And we don’t order and have it delivered. One of us goes out to pick it up.

We do NOT walk, however. Neither do we eat in the car on the way home. We have to be practical. Texting and driving isn’t safe, and driving and eating pizza is even more dangerous.

This winter has broken our tradition, though. Or at least thrown it off kilter a little. We’ve had so much more snow than usual that we would look like a pair of Pillsbury Dough Boys if we’d indulged with each snowfall we’ve had.

But talking about it brings back those same fond memories, and I hope I never get too old to enjoy pizza when we have our first snowfall of the season—and periodically thereafter. Living without that would be graceless indeed.

Do you have any quirky traditions? How about sharing them with us?

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. Please join me then. Better yet, go to the top right hand section of this screen and click to follow this blog by email. That way you’ll never miss a post.

Best regards,
Roger