I had a lovely dinner around at a friends house last night. We were talking about the anxiety and problems many people have around the simple act of eating an evening meal. I was telling my friend and his wife about my childhood of extreme food fussiness and how my parents dealt with it.
At meal times, my mum and dad, were very encouraging and made sure to praise me when I finished my plate, but not make a big deal of it if I did not want much food. There was always a big bowl of fruit to snack on if I was hungry.
It must have driven them mad as they love good food and I would sit there wanting no more than butter on my spaghetti, not even salt and pepper. One person asked me once if it was to do with control, and it could well have been, but I do remember absolutely hating the taste of many of the things I tried, from green peppers to pork chops.
Luckily I grown to love food and cooking. But my parents careful management of my fussiness is so ingrained that I still feel absurdly pleased with myself when I finish a plate of food. Even now; a warm sense of accomplishment radiates up from my full belly.
About a year ago after finishing a sumptuous meal with my parents, my dad said, Oh look you’ve finished your plate, well done. We looked at each other, the thirty year old grown up daughter and the sixty five year old kind hearted father, and had a laugh about it.
But when we were talking about it last night, it made me realise, how the messages we get when are are children are so important. This feeling is hard-wired into my brain, but what if that reassurance and praise had been criticism or indifference, how would that of affected me?
All I can say is thanks Ma and Pa.