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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

faute de mieux

For lack of something better I have substituted many things, and most were ersatz indeed. The earliest of these makeshift actions usually pertained to something in the food family. Along about my early teens, when my normal appetite quickly evolved into something akin to that of a wild beast, anything edible was fair game.

There were six of us kids, but even with my two older siblings married and gone, that still left several young critters vying for the same available sustenance. The odd thing is that I don’t remember that we had any, or at least not much, junk food – maybe potato chips. There usually was some peanut butter and bread available, and if nothing else, pb&j was acceptable. On several of these forages for food, the absence of jelly was noted with horror, but being the resourceful person I was, my sandwich was studded with many raisons on those occasions – the peanut butter held them in place nicely. Even though, it was still a substitute.

The light inside the frig seemed to be of great fascination to us kids, for by it’s glow we would search the cool containers of leftover items to find something suitable to devour. This in spite of the fact that we had just performed a thorough investigation moments before – it’s a wonder we didn’t all have frostbitten faces. Finally we would eat the least obnoxious item just to sustain us until Mom got home. We seldom had leftovers stay long enough to grow fuzzy stuff on them. I don’t think I ever remember any leftover banana pudding back then. (Oops, I think I just flung a craving on myself.)

Now I’m not saying that I actually tried this, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind it seems there is something about making a sandwich with day-old butterbeans (limas) – the really large ones. In fact, that does not sound that bad to me right now – with the proper condiments. How vegetarian of me to even think of that.

It seems that I’ve always liked foods that others might consider somewhat odd. The foods in themselves were not that odd, but the combinations thereof. It used to really gross out both of my daughters when I would have a large dollop of peanut butter as well as cheese mixed and melted in with my chicken noodle soup. I guess the advantage of liking odd stuff is that nobody else eats it all up – maybe that was a defense mechanism from my youth.

I guess if I were living in Southern England, my delight in hot tea would not seem unusual at all. But here I am in the sweet iced tea drinking center of the whole world and I don’t even like sugar mixed in with mine – or ice – and I drink it all seasons, any time of the day. I wonder when the proper English tea times are anyway? And what are scones – really?

Substitute foods were sometimes bad enough, but I remember many years ago when I substituted doing wrong things for doing the right ones. It seemed that I had to find out for myself why these things were called wrong and why had I been taught not to do them. These “whys” are the reasons I carry some scars today, even though the wrongs have been forgiven. The scars are reminders not to go those ways again. This forgiveness is still available today - for anyone - my Friend says so, and He doesn’t lie. ec


Blogger Bonita said...

My kids loved 'bugs on a log' - celery with peanutbutter and raisens. And left-overs sustained all of us for years. Main thing, is good nutrition for the money, otherwise you are paying for poor health down the road.

4/27/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

peanut butter with sweet pickle. Peanut butter with potato chips - shame on us.

I think i've outgrown both (well maybe not the pickle).

My girls are at an age where they are beginning to suffer from regrigerator blindness, running up the utility bill in the process. I think it's universal.

4/27/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - Mom always saw to it that we got our veggies and decent food - but when she was at work, we foraged for whatever we could find.

granny - That refrigerator light was always a cheery sight but just a little cold. There was always the thought that maybe you missed some succulent morsel the last time you looked. :) ec

4/27/2006 11:30:00 PM  

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