One thing my mother did, was get me started in the wonderful world of food, both in the eating and the cooking department. My first food was chocolate. Mom couldn't resist my big brown eyes pleading with her for a taste of the 5¢ Hershey bar she was eating. She caved, and I still have a difficult time resisting sweets.
The family always sat down to dinner together and the meals were invariably well-balanced. Whether we liked what she was serving or not, my brother and I had to sit at the dinner table until we finished what we were given. We became bona-fide members of the Clean Plate Club. If we refused, we were reminded that children were starving in Europe. And if we finished, our reward was dessert. For me, having dessert was worth eating the baked halibut I always hated, along with the canned peas and carrots and the Rice-a-Roni or whatever Mom had prepared.
As a baby boomer growing up in the 50's, we experienced the evolution of the convenience food era. Processed foods were revered as being time savers for housewives. It was the casserole decade, meat and canned soup combos ended up in the oven and served for supper. Aluminum trays featuring TV dinners became popular and if we were lucky we'd set up a stand in front of the television and devour Swanson's idea of dinner. Powdered pudding and cake mixes became popular. An excess of sugar, salt and chemicals were added to our diets.
There were almost always sweets in the house. The bread drawer was one of my favorite places. I'd surreptitiously slide open the drawer, pull back the metal lid and forage for whatever was available, careful to make it look as though it hadn't been touched, taking off a sliver here and a wedge there. If confronted, I could always blame it on my younger brother.
I still am a member in good standing of the Clean Plate Club and don't feel satisfied unless I get dessert. Of course, my eating habits have changed, along with my food choices, but I still clean my plate!
Years of eating habits are hard to change. I try to stay away from processed foods and have cut down drastically on sugar and salt. Canned food has little or no place in my diet and desserts are, sadly, a thing of the past for now. Mom did establish a lot of good habits and I certainly can't blame my weight problem on her. For all the dieting that I've done in my life, my mother has always been slim and trim. Perhaps I have my father's genes and that side of the family's propensity to be overweight. Whatever the reason, it has been a lifelong struggle, but a battle that I am finally winning.
So this Mother's Day, I'd like to thank mothers everywhere, for all they have done for us. And for today's mothers for steering their children in healthy directions at the dinner table.
What about you? Has your mother made you what you are today when it comes to eating? Or did she instill good eating habits that you still maintain today?