Gummy Worms, Life, and the Little Red Oven

10 Jan

As a child, my parents swear they had to teach me how to chew.  An inherent ability in all homo sapiens, a skill with which we are born, a vital necessity we require in order to survive, it seems, wasn’t all that obvious to one O. Nelson.

It’s like you were just a big-mouthed baby bird, my mom says. You’d pop something in and try to swallow it whole. One of my favorite stories I loved to have my parents tell me about was the time during a picnic my old man looked over and I was blue in the face.  Realizing I was choking , my dad rushed over and after a quick inspection, pulled a giant blob of gummy worms out of my chubby cheeks. You had like twenty of them just crammed in your mouth, he says.  You just keep going and going – we had to physically show you how to take small bites and chew before you tried to swallow.  I don’t know why, I thought this was the funniest story ever growing up.  I shared it with everyone – heck, I’m still sharing it with everyone.  You think I’d be embarrassed, but for whatever reason it’s so the opposite. I loved to think of little me, going to town on some gummy worms, taking all I could handle and then some. It’s so ridiculous – who doesn’t know how to eat?  Get’s me every time!

But those early setbacks didn’t stop me, friends, no way. My love for food grew tenfold.  Once I actually knew how to eat (seriously, who doesn’t just know this??), one would be hard pressed to find a photo of me before the age of 13 that didn’t include Cheeto dust or frosting all over my apple head. Why I wasn’t a rolly polly giant I can only credit with a hell of a metabolism and incessant twitchiness.

I still love to eat. My ability to digest an entire family sized bag of snacks? Meh, not quite what it used to be, however.  At one Thanksgiving when I was maybe 15 or so, my older cousin glanced at my heaping plate and made a gagging sound. Wow Liv, she said, you are going to be so fat when you get older. Have fun eating now and good luck with that metabolism. 

I was so mad – how dare she insult food! Though she was right in some ways, I’m hoping I’m a little wiser than I once was. It’s taken me a long time, but I finally get what eating well and healthfully is all about. I’ve always had a weird relationship with food, and I think it took moving across the world to really show me what it means to give my body what it’s asking for. Yeah, I still might splurge and inhale an entire box of Dots in one sitting now and then, but I also know how much better I feel when I eat the right greens and slow down when I’m full and drink enough boiled-filtered-filtered-again water.  I still have a long way to go, but I finally feel like my love for food has changed into a love for life with food on the side.

I’m also insanely glad for having zero restaurants and fast food places.  I didn’t think I’d ever be one to say such foul words, as you know how much I obsess over a good Chinese take-out, but it’s created a love for cooking and preparing meals I never had before. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but since it is now infinitely more time consuming and involved and such a part of my daily routine, I’ve found a passion for mixing dishes I never knew I could have.

My little red oven – with zero temperature gauges and a strange hot-spot in the back left corner – has quickly become my new companion. He’s a temperamental little beast, but along with my crazy gas stove and hodgepodge of kitchen utensils, we’ve really been spoiled with some amazing meals in our little home.  I love finding new recipes and would take a meal cooked together with my partner at home nearly always over a pre-made, take home feast.

Unless we’re talking gummy worms, because seriously. Those things are always the best.


my little amigo

my little amigo

To see no possession but you may possess it, enjoying all without labor or purchase, abstracting the feast yet not abstracting one particle of it,
To take the best of the farmer’s farm and the rich man’s elegant villa, and the chaste blessings of the well-married couple, and the fruits of orchards and flowers of gardens.   – Walt Whitman

2 Responses to “Gummy Worms, Life, and the Little Red Oven”

  1. hjalmarjames January 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    Hello friend! Thank you for sharing your experiences on this blog. You are a fantastic writer and wonderful storyteller and it is always a pleasure to read how things are going for you in Azerbaijan. 🙂

  2. ruth krueger (@tromtt) January 10, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    chew your food, Liv. Your’e an animal!

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