I think we’ve already established that I have a…thing…about food. I often use food as a comfort, a reward, a tool for social interaction, or just something to help pass the time. I find it hard to refuse food when someone I love offers it to me, even when I’m not hungry at all. I sometimes find myself being a food pusher – trying to convince my friends or my kids to join me in eating (because that way, I can feel less guilty – like an alcoholic who finds it easier to drink with others rather than alone). Coming from a Mormon background, where having a year’s supply of food is highly encouraged, it was no wonder that I’ve always felt more comfortable with plenty of food on hand, just in case the apocalypse rolls around. What I didn’t realize is that I’ve ALWAYS had a thing about food – from the time I was just a tiny toddler – it just wasn’t the type of food you would imagine.
I was cleaning out my attic last weekend, trying to sort through 26-years of accumulated belongings and memories. I was making great progress – following the “Hoarders” method of purging, with large “keep,” “donate,” or “throw away piles.” Not that I’m a hoarder – but I do amass a lot of stuff – because I always plan to do something with it or worry that I might need it someday. Because what if the apocalypse hits and I don’t have Hmmmm…OK – I might have a teensy-weensy problem with hanging onto stuff.
Anyway, I was sorting through a huge “memories” box – you know what I’m talking about – the one where you keep all of your old yearbooks, every copy of class pictures that your children ever had taken, all of their school work (because they might like to show it to THEIR kids one day), your wedding dress and keepsakes, and old cards and letters. My kids were helping me and we had some great laughs as we looked at old pictures or read stories they had written in elementary school. I also shed quite a few tears when I found love letters from years gone by, given to me by Doc, telling me how much he loved me, how I was the one, and how he would be with me forever.
Finally, I came to a picture album I had forgotten I even owned – my mother must have made it for me years and years ago – all of my baby pictures assembled in one place – an handcrafted homage to ME, in all of my diapered glory. As I paged through the album, I came across the following picture, with the caption, “Jana helping the dogs eat their dinner.”
That picture immediately triggered a memory – not of my apparent dinner date with the dogs – but from a few years later, probably when I was four or five years old. I vividly remember sneaking into the kitchen when no one else was around and surreptitiously opening the cupboard door under the kitchen sink. There might have been dangerous household cleaners or a trash bin in there – but I only had one objective in mind…the box of dog biscuits.
I can’t tell you exactly why the dog biscuits were my secret passion – but I found them to be the perfect anytime snack! These were the multi-colored treats, and I especially loved the pink ones, although green would do in a pinch. I still can remember the somewhat meaty smell and, particularly, how they tasted – rather chalky and salty, but with a satisfying crunch. Maybe I was missing some vital nutrient that only dog biscuits could provide. Maybe my parents kept the people snack foods on a high shelf that I couldn’t reach. Maybe I’ve always had a mysterious animosity for little dogs and the attention they receive from their owners. Maybe, I had BEEN A DOG in a previous life! (Which could explain my early pattern of dog food dining). Regardless, I indulged my dog biscuit habit almost daily for quite a while. I never grew fur or a tail – and I hardly ever indulged in the temptation to bite someone – so I guess no harm was done.
What is your relationship with food? Have you ever had a craving for a strange food or non-food item? Have YOU ever bitten someone?