Monday, May 3, 2010

Gravy is not a beverage.

Growing up in a family of 10 meant lots of meals, and lots of food on the table. Mom had her work cut out for her when it came to making sure the four food groups were all represented at the table.

Mom was, and still is, very conscious of what she eats. As kids, she tried to make sure the snacks we ate were healthy. The type of snack she had on hand for us were always multi-grain, high fiber and low sugar. But with eight kids, how could she watch everything? We'd collect change from bottle deposits and fill our pockets with gum, Jolly Ranchers, and chocolate from the little market down the street. But back then, we were all very active. The neighborhood was alive with young kids our age, and no one ever sat around playing video games. It was all about the bikes, skateboards, stilts, unicycles, etc. If anything, I was less active than the rest. I was the youngest, and didn't quite fit into the older kids' groups. That's no excuse though. I loved the gravy just like my dad.
Dad had to have his gravy, and Mom always found a way to get it on the table with every meal. If she didn't make biscuits, then there was a stack of white bread slices to pass around. Everyone had their bread and gravy with dinner. And Dad was the one that would eat anything, regardless of what the latest doctor's reports said. Fat not good for you? Bullsh*t! Dad would be sitting at the head of the dinner table mumbling about how we didn't know what was good for us. "Pass that down here if you're not going to eat it!" The fat and gristle from steaks would go to his plate, and he'd enjoy every bite. The funny thing is, as he and Mom got older, her cholesterol went up, and his remained in a healthy range. She ate everything right, and fought her HDL/LDL levels, and he would have a 1/2 lb of bacon and his was just fine. Dad was also never overweight. He worked hard and stayed slim. Genetics, right?
So we, as kids, got a taste, so to speak, of both worlds. Mom ate right, and fed us all a balanced diet of Wheat Thins and Whole Wheat Fig Newtons. We also watched her, and sometimes joined in, as she followed Jack LaLanne on television. She bought the exercise equipment he sold, and kept herself fit. I think Mom was a size 3 most of her life. She's still in great shape, and she's coming up on her 80th birthday! Go Mom!
Dad, God rest his soul, was not big on health food. It took an act of God for Mom to be allowed to bring low-fat milk into the house. He wanted his whole milk, and his sour cream and gravy. When Mom went to the grocery store, she brought home fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. When Dad went to the store, he came home with Fun-Paks of chips for lunches, Ho-hos, Twinkies, Moon Pies, and "Astro Sticks"... (it was the late 60s).
Now, as an adult and mother, I can look back and compare my parent's different styles of eating. Mom was thinking of our health, and our future health. Dad ate what tasted good, and damn the consequences. I've got a little of both of their philosophies ingrained in me.


  1. This cracks me up, because it is so true. "pass it down here if you aren't going to eat it" "you don't know what's good for you." LOL and the differences in what they would each bring home from the grocery store was really telling. Scooter Pies! haha!

  2. But...Dad was overweight at one time. I remember Mom teasing about his "6 month tee shirts on his 18 month old belly." They didn't quite cover all the way to his belt for a while there...but not for long.
    I too, have his love of gravy. Thankfully, Perry doesn't have that same love or I'd be making gravy every night, too!
    Mom always had a green salad on the dinner table...and dad would drown his in Bleu Cheese Dressing! LOL

  3. That was very intertaining. You write so well.
    I remember sneaking scooter pies out of the cabinet. I wasn't inerested in those macaroons and fig bars when there were scooter pies ( moon pies now)