Sunday, February 26, 2023

Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to be "crunchy"

I wrote on social media that I would be honoring my late mother on her birthday by eating tofu and sprouts (that I had cooked and grown myself, though I didn’t share that detail), which I was subjected to as a kid when all I really wanted in my lunchbox was a Fluffernutter.
For those of you who don't know, a Fluffernutter is Marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter (probably creamy Jif) on Wonder Bread.

I knew about these because kids in school ate them, and also because the recipe was on the jar of Fluff, alongside the recipe for "Never-Fail Fudge," which we made as gifts for the holidays (because you could source all the ingredients with food stamps, therefore it didn't cost anything other than the sacrifice of not eating the food we could have bought).

But we ate brown bread and natural peanut butter. We never had Fluff except at Christmas time when we were making our wreath-shaped fudge gifts, and there wasn't enough left over to make a Fluffernutter. (At most, we could enjoy the scrapings of the jar.)

I just wanted to be like other kids, to fit in. What kid doesn't?

(And when do we grow out of the desire to fit in, if ever?)

But this isn't really about fitting in (or not) or the fudge recipe (which I still use) or how crappy for us processed foods and animal products can be (and my lingering sugar addiction).

It's about reframing some experiences from my childhood that were super awkward and sometimes painful then, but are extremely valuable and useful today. Thank you, Mom.

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