Inheriting the gene of the finicky eater
by Matt Ryerson
Jun 25, 2014 | 389 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As a child, you might say I was a finicky eater. Well, you would probably say I was a straight up picky eater.

In fact, the joke in my family come Thanksgiving was that I only ate things that were white (think turkey, rolls and mashed potatoes ... no gravy, please). I have since expanded my diet to include some items that others might consider extreme (yes, please pass the raw octopus).

However, the stories of the lengths to which I would go to avoid eating something I didn’t like are now legendary in my family. For example, there was one occasion involving roast. Now, to say that roast didn’t make my “Top 10” list of favorites would be an understatement. An involuntary gag reflex could easily be triggered when I had a mouth full of the rubbery concoction.

I’ll take a moment here to defend my wonderful mother (on the off chance she reads this column) and say she was, and is, an outstanding cook. By all accounts, her roast was wonderful. Well, I guess not by ALL accounts, as my picky palate just couldn’t find satisfaction in the meat.

Nonetheless, my standing operating procedure regarding food I didn’t like was to delay, push the food I had identified as dreadful around my plate until everyone else had cleaned their plates, and then feed the remains to the dog or try and get it dumped into the trash. Unfortunately, I knew the trash left evidence that would be difficult to conceal and on this one particular evening ... well, we had not yet adopted the family dog. So I was on an island, an island of bad-tasting, food-dodging despair.

I had to get creative if I was going to avoid forcing down this torture and experiencing what I believed would be the inevitable consequences (namely, “losing my lunch” ... or, in this case, dinner). As any good Marine would say, I needed to improvise, adapt and overcome.

That is when I noticed my mother had done some nice redecorating around our kitchen table. In particular, she had placed a flower pot with a wonderful fern right next to my chair. I couldn’t help but notice its lush appearance and see it as an excellent opportunity to hide the evidence. Yes, as you might guess, I lifted the limbs of the flowing fern and dumped my entire plate of roast at its roots.

I promptly called to my mother and said, “I’m done!”

She walked into the kitchen and gave a surprised expression as she noted my clean plate, and happily excused her obedient son who had worked through his defiance.

It wasn’t until a few days later that she noticed a horrible smell and that the fern was slowly wilting. As she dug around the plant, she couldn’t help but find evidence of my deceit. I don’t recall the consequences of those actions, but they weren’t severe. Maybe my mom felt sympathy for me, or maybe she appreciated my ingenuity. Unfortunately, the consequences for the fern were much more dire, but I simply viewed the plant as collateral damage.

That being said, all things come back around. My son recently sat at the table refusing to eat his dinner. I made my stand, “You’ll sit here until you eat it!”

A few minutes later he calls out, “All done!”

Suspiciously, I scanned the room. No plants, no good hiding places ... then my eyes locked onto the dog. He had what was obviously the guilty look of a co-conspirator.

No consequences though. I mean, he comes by it honestly, right?


(Editor’s Note: Matt has a beautiful family: his wife, son, two daughters, Tucker the family dog, G.G. or T-Cat, the cuddly kitten, and five chickens; yes, two less than the last time they were mentioned. Don’t ask. “Father Time” is published in alternating Wednesday editions of the Cleveland Daily Banner.)