Food memories : Childhood

Jen at A2eatwrite was looking back at some of her food experiences and immediately a whole bunch of food related memories came back to me as well. Food plays such an important role in our life so unmistakingly it also is linked to so many memories, events, emotions, activities, ...
Here's some out of my childhood.

  1. I am a slow eater. And that has always been the case. When I was a toddler, my parents got me dressed in the morning and then I was put at the breakfast table with 2-3 slices of bread and a cup of milk. I nibbled tiny bite after tiny bit but never managed to finish in time. That's why my parents often needed to ship me in the car with the remainder of my breakfast in my little hands only to hope that I had finished by the time we arrived at school. (*)

  2. We all ate a warm meal at lunchtime at school. Up to grade 5 we ate the questionable food from a caterer. Together with the kids that brought sandwiches to school we were seated in a big hall with very long tables and red and green thick plastic table sheets that just wanted to get pinched with our forks. We just loved the little decorative holes grouped by four.

    In kindergarden the hall emptied steadily until I was the only one wobbling my feet back and forth at the long tables with only the cleaning lady whome I befriended, to keep an eye on me. On some rare occasions the teachers had to come and get me there when the lunch break was over and I was still sitting in the kantine.

    Staying until the last was a strategy that would remain handy until I went to high school: teachers were always attending in the kantine and instructing us to finish our meal and empty our plate...but they never had the patience to stay for those very last 2-3 slow eaters. As soon as they left, we could throw away whatever we did not want to finish. Usually we left right behind the teachers :p.
    There was reason to not finish our meal though: I volunteered with some friends in the winter to stay behind and help with the dishes. So we could stay inside the warm kitchen and gooff around without much supervision and we usually ended up playing volleyball with balls made from wet towels. We also could keep an eye on the overdue glass containers with peas and apple sauce etc that the nuns kept in the pantry and which sometimes disappeared depending on the caterer's menu. Eeeek. The nuns never checked the limited consumption periods anyway and thanked us for our work with very gross soggy potato chips. Eeeeek again.

    In grade 5 and 6 we could eat in the "big kantine" of the neighbouring high school. Those meals were cooked by the high school students in the cooking/horeca department and were of good quality. Nevertheless I could be a picky eater and felt big enough not to be told anymore what to eat and how much to eat. Tough luck since we still were supervised by our teachers. But as soon as the big kids started coming in (their lunch break started later), we became invisible islands on the filled tables and we weren't checked anymore....just what I needed. Even my mom usually left after I had assured her that I'd eat everything. Yeah right, very credible. They sure knew but were happy to leave on their own break.

  3. When I was about 3 years old (?) the older kids in the neighbourhood were mocking me for still riding my tricicle and asked me whether I had no bigger bike to ride. My answer was positive but I explained them that my father still needed to attach some smaller supporting wheels before I could use them. 5 minutes later they were sitting down on our driveway with tools and a bit later I had a little red bike with 2 big and 2 tiny tires to ride. Yeaaah. As a thank you they received all my easter chocolate eggs that were still waiting in the fridge for a friend who'd eat them. Yep, I have disliked chocolate as long as I can remember.

  4. Every summer we left on vacation and when we were back, we went a few times to the beach. Every single time my mom would make the same salad. A salad that she'd never make at another occasion except for the beach or for that first lunch on our long drives to the south of Europe. We always ate it in colurful tupperware containers and it always held exactly the same 4 ingredients. No changes ever and we all loved it. Seriously there's nothing better on the beach or on a parking bench than cold potatoes, thick pieces of dried salty ham, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Man man, I tell you, we loved it so much! Haute cuisine for the summer time.

  5. When I was 11, I went on a Kazou (CM) camp to Domaine the Massembre in Heer-Sur-Meuse. Camps aren't usually the places where you make culinary discoveries. Yet it was there that I learned that corn flakes were a great alternative to slices of bread for breakfast. Poured in a big bowl and soaked in cold milk until they were half crunchy half soft, I let them melt in my mouth. From then on there had to be a box of corn flakes in the cupboards at home! And they are still a welcoming change in my breakfast routines!

(*) Kindergarden starts at the age of 2.5 in Belgium and my mom was a teacher in the same school I attended.


Lilacspecs said…
Those are some good memories. I'm the opposite,a fast eater who was often finished before everyone else. The only person I know who eats faster than me is CB.
Shan said…
Wow, that seems so young to start school. Loved reading this post.
Wonderful memories, Goofball - I loved this post!
Goofball said…
@Shan: yes it is not mandatory to go to school before grade 1, but kindergardens start at 2.5 years (they must be potty trained though) and almost all children have 3-4 years of kindergarden.

It's pretty handy: cheaper than child care- trained educational teachers take care of your children, yet it is still an extremely playfull safe environment.

Almost all children go to school at that age. Stay at home mothers are rare too.

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