Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mom was right... or was she?

I've conceded that on a handful of topics of debate from my childhood, my mom was right.

She wouldn't let me eat the turbo-sugar cereals (unless we were out somewhere; once in a while wasn't going to send me into kiddie diabetes) and actually had a grams-of-sugar-per-serving rule. Over 10 grams and no way was she buying it for us. We could whine all we wanted, but all she had to do was point to the nutritional info box and I knew I didn't have a prayer. Years later, I don't even like that crap. I can't even eat it. I can barely handle sweets in the morning, let a bowl of sugar-frosted Froot Loops. In the long AND short run (because really, the last thing I needed as a child was a sugar buzz), it served me well.

Same went with peanut butter, but to less of an extreme. My mom always bought the natural stuff, the kind you had to stir with a knife because it would seperate. She got that because that's what she liked and the only reason I ever asked for anything other than that was, like any good consumerist American child, commercials. I'd see the ads where the moms (wearing way too much makeup for breakfast) would spread a creamy dollop of Jif on a slice of spongy white Wonder Bread (another just victory on her part; I eat wheat bread now like I did back then). The pliant peanut butter looked so smooth unlike the tempermental all-natural, which if not treated with care was near liquid for the first half of the jar and damn near unspreadable at the end. Of course, now what sits in my fridge (yup, gotta refrigerate that stuff) but a jar of Trader Joe's unsweetened, salted natural PB. I could eat it by the spoonful, I love it so much. The stuff Matt buys tastes like frosting to me.

Now all of this is not to say that I don't like sweets. I just think my early upbringing did a lot to curb my sweet tooth and sugar tolerance.


I do recall a needless tidbit of info that was tossed my way "for my own good". I already mentioned the wheat bread, which I protested once the media taught me that the pretty TV children ate toast as white as snow. One other such society-driven request, inspired by picky kids at school, was to have my crusts cut off. It was my least favorite part of the bread and I saw plenty of my cohorts with neatly-edged sandwiches. My mother told me "no" (fair enough) but it was because "the crust is the healthiest part of the bread" and therefore she would not cut it off or permit me to leave it on the plate.

Now, I was a pretty rational kid. Had she told me, "No, because that wastes food," I think I would have accepted that. She raised me Catholic, so I knew all about guilt. Heck, guilt was her chief bargaining chip in getting me to do what she wanted.

The points here are:

If you don't start eating excessively sugary foods, you won't miss em...

Your mom was probably right about a lot of things...

But you should still look back and review the things she told you.
Just to be sure.

In closing, I would like to point out that my mother did slip in her vigilance as we got older. I recall coming home from college to find *GASP* Uncrustables, the disgusting little pre-made sandwiches filled with that frosting peanut butter and gooey grape sludge, made from white bread, cut into a circle with nary a crust in sight and *sigh* individually wrapped in plastic for further convenience. My sister's, she told me.

My sister always did like to fight the power.

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