Memory Day: Food
Because my dad got home from work three hours earlier than my mom, he was always in charge of weekday dinners. A typical meal for my sister and I consisted of boiled hot dogs, green beans, and a tall glass of milk, which we would eat at the dining room table while reading cartoon and kids' books.My favourite meal as a kid was two Celeste Pizza-for-One's, cooked on the microwave crisper disc that never actually made the crust crisp. When I was sick of these, the favourite meal became Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, with the powdered cheese that resembled the aftereffects of sanding down a giant statue of Big Bird.Cookie Crisp was the favoured breakfast cereal, followed by Corn Chex, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Rice Krispies.Our favourite foods always went in cycles -- we would find something we loved, my parents would stock up on it via coupons and sales, the last eight months' supply would go stale, and we would get sick of eating the stale leftovers during the next eight months.Every couple weeks, we would order pizza from Pizza Hut for a family movie night. My parents always tipped the delivery guy whatever it took to round up to the nearest dollar, although my sister and I would secretly add a dollar or two when we could afford it as we grew older and recognized the worth of the greenback.The only other place we ordered food from was the local Chinese restaurant -- my meal of choice was wanton soup, shrimp chips, and some sweet and sour chicken (also known as Really Expensive Chicken McNuggets).When we ate out, we would always go somewhere with an all-you-can-eat-buffet because a mortal man's meal was not big enough for my 6'7" dad. At the Chesapeake Bay Seafood house, we would always start out with Hush Puppies. I hated Hush Puppies but apparently I was supposed to love them so I pretended to. Creamed corn is the worst.One year, there was a sale on corn, but we ended up with a million cans of creamed corn instead of regular corn. We limped through three or four cans before donating the entire lot to charity. Those Cub Scouts leaving donation bags on our doorknob never knew what hit them.My parents ate a lot of Mexican TV dinners when I was growing up, and the smell of the cheap refried beans and processed guacamole would linger in the house for hours like a recently evicted out-of-town college friend. Even today, I cannot smell some Mexican food smells without feeling nauseous.I drank a glass of milk every day until I went to college, where I promptly became lactose intolerant.
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