Sunday, June 11, 2006

Memories of Liver and Onions

When I was a little kid we lived in Pittsburgh proper (that is, actually in the city) and I never really thought about whether any of our neighbors had more money than my family did. My family (mom, dad, older sister, and me) lived in a nine room house with three floors and an unfinished basement. We didn't have to share bedrooms and we had a separate living room and dining room. I had never actually been in any houses larger than ours, except for a neighbor whose house was extremely open on the inside (to the point that I couldn't actually tell how many rooms there were). So I didn't really have any reference points about whether we had any money or not.

However, I did have memories of the kind of food we ate. My mom is a good cook but she has a limited repertoire - and one thing we ate pretty often was something we referred to as "goop". It consisted of ground beef, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and egg noodles. I liked it enough to eat it, and I have memories of eating it fairly often. However, after a certain point in my childhood we hardly ever ate it anymore, and I realized later on that this corresponded to other factors in the household that indicated my parents were making more money. Hence, the cheap meals started disappearing, and since none of us were huge fans of the goop, we didn't really eat it again after I was about twelve. (Aside: in college, a friend of mine went to lengths to prepare dinner for me, and told me I would love his "poor man's beef stroganoff" - which, of course, was goop with more beef.)

I do however have EXTREMELY strong memories of eating liver and onions - another cheap food that's one of those foods kids hate because it's really good for you and very nutritious and all of that, because anything that is that good for you tastes like flavored toilet paper. I hated it with a passion.

Years later my parents and I were talking about food and I mentioned how much I hated liver and onions, and said that I must have eaten a lot of PB&J for dinner. (My parents had a policy that if we didn't like what was for dinner, we could make ourselves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but that was the only other option.) My mother gave me a strange look and told me that we had had liver and onions no more than three or four times over the course of my childhood. I guess the taste was so bad that it merely seemed to stay with me for YEARS.

Nowadays of course I have my own money and have not had to eat liver and onions ever again. Organ meats are just not my thing. Unfortunately, food has become the big thing that I splurge on - my boyfriend and I eat out way too often and have big grocery bills. Maybe all that liver and onions gave me a distaste for meals that cost less than $2 a person! Although for the sake of budgeting, I hope that can be overcome. =)

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