The Best Beef Stew Ever

writing-101

Day Ten: Happy (Insert Special Occasion Here)!

Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

I cannot recall any favorite meal from my childhood, or how could I, when I was one of those difficult kids who didn’t like to eat a lot!

If I had been asked about my most hated medicines, I could write over thousand words. I wasn’t a healthy kid. My lungs were my weak spot, and I often had bronchitis. Besides, I developed a kidneys’ sickness. Perhaps because of it, I may have lost my appetite.

However my parents tried, I refused to eat. My mother was very sweet, patient and understanding, so I found ways to go around her. My father though had a more incisive way to approach what he called disobedience: no talk and orders.

His method was pretty simple. If I had not eaten what was on the plate, I could not leave the table until everything was over. I spent many hours looking at meals and not touching them. I would even sleep there, resting my head on the table. Eventually he would lose his temper and threaten to beat me, and that would serve as a wake up call. I would eat cold meals as fast as he wanted. I never won the battle against him but kept resisting his orders endlessly.

This pattern of behavior never really changed between us throughout adolescence and early adulthood. I don’t mean that I had an eating disorder, because that was not the case. It was more about the fact that he was an authoritarian man, who liked to be obeyed and never questioned.

Very early on I identified my disgust towards his ‘educational’ methods. I would strike back with questioning and confrontations, which were not ever welcome. His reactions only served to make me even more defying.

While I was afraid of my father, I wasn’t afraid of inquiring on the inefficiency and unfairness of his methods. Asking him logical and rational questions felt like safe. He didn’t agree on that and took my reasoning as a provocation, which needed correction.

I didn’t surrender to his will but to my self-convincing logic, that eating more would be good for my health. I certainly didn’t eat because he wanted me to, but because I became healthier and hungrier.

They might have become traumatized with my recurring health issues, because they were never satisfied with my weight and wanted me to eat more. If they hadn’t one, I perhaps had a trauma and aversion for too much food, for their insisting behavior. That put me off from food.

But all of sudden there was a turn of fate. When I was around thirteen, I joined my eldest brothers and friends in a full-day hike. They were ill prepared; they didn’t bring food and water. They may have thought I wouldn’t need it anyways and may have eaten it all by themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised as they could be mean to their little sister.

After a full day hiking, I was starving as I had never been before, up to that point in my life. I was eager to get home, and eat!  I rushed to the kitchen to check what was in the menu that evening. My brothers and parents looked at me in disbelief. They may have thought I was mocking them.

I had to shower first, what made me feel even weaker and hungrier. I was the first to sit at the dinner table. It was a lively evening, as my brothers invited their friends for dinner as well. I worried that they would eat too much and would not leave enough for me. To tackle this problem, and contrary to my usual behavior, I prepared a plate so big that could be measured in height and weight.

Everyone was staring at me as if I had come straight from Mars. It was a total shock when they realized that I ate very fast and left nothing on the plate to say the story of my food.

To this date, I can still remember that I had a simple beef stew with carrots and potatoes, as well as rice. Even now I can feel how delicious it tasted. It was the best food I have ever had.

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I still wonder if that was a plot between my parents and siblings!

33 thoughts on “The Best Beef Stew Ever

  1. It must have been very traumatic to be forced to eat those meals. It makes me sad to read about it. It was wonderful to learn that you did finally get your appetite back. Wonderful story!

    • Let’s say that I was not amused. Fortunately, I also understood that I was not healthy and needed to eat to be stronger and fight my illness.
      My father and I always have a good laugh remembering those times. He says that I had less of an issue with the food than with being forced to eat. I wanted to convince him, that was my goal. Apples don’t fall far from trees…
      Thank you so much for commenting. Good to have you here.
      Enjoy the weekend.
      Lucile

  2. I never had a problem eating! Lol! Still love to eat, and I love a good beef stew! I also hate you were forced to eat, and admire your will! 😃

    • Thank you for the support, Martie! You should have been there when I was a kid. Lol
      Thank you for visiting my dear! Always feels good to see you here!
      Have a good weekend.
      Lucile

  3. There is so much in this post… The trauma. The method of your father (with which probably nobody agrees… and which reminds me of a story my mom told us…), your struggles. But also the meal. The warmth of a stew, the comfort a meal can actually give. You’ve done it again… You’ve captured me with your writing.

    • Momma, as a young mother, I reckon you can perfectly grasp what the struggle might have been. Not only for me as kid, but for my parents, trying to make all they could to get me back to being healthy. I spent a few years unwell, and that made them so concerned.
      My strong temper ( like my father) wasn’t helping them either.
      The best is that all turned well and I can not only write about it but laugh too. And yes, that meal is unforgettable.
      Heartfelt thanks for your kind comment.
      Have a beautiful weekend.

  4. My dad’s favorite, no, only expression: Do as I say, not as I do. Oh, yes I rebelled. In spite of all that, you still remembered the meal. Very nice.

    • Oh no, my dad used exactly the same when he got fed up with my questions! That was the end of the conversation! When we talk about that, we both laugh. We are the best friends, and like to remember our old fights sometimes.

  5. Bill always says, “Hunger is the best sauce,” and your story shows that clearly. We always had a first helping rule: you didn’t have to have much of anything, but if you wanted seconds or dessert, you had to finish your first helping. That worked well and introduced our girls to all sorts of food. Sometimes they didn’t like something initially but came to love it. Sometimes they decided dessert, if we were having it, wasn’t worth eating something. Their choice, which made all the difference.

    janet

  6. Hearty beef stew can be scrumptious especially after a long day! I know several people whose father’s were overly concerned about eating everything on their plates, including my hubbie’s German father. I wonder sometimes if this behavior didn’t lead to lifetime eating disorders? I like how you turned the potentially negative subject into a positive and endearing one!

    • I’m sure that your husband and I could write a book together about that! 😉
      It’s a good point! I can imagine this could lead to eating disorders as well. I’m glad I escaped that!
      I love food and even cooking, a newly developed passion!
      Thanks, Terri. Take care!! And regards to your hubby, now also my buddy!

  7. I had something of a similar relationship with my father. He tried to discipline me, but I was such a strong-willed child, that it was just a running battle between us. I have mixed feelings for him even now.

    I remember a few ears ago I was kept nil-by-mouth in hospital for an entire day, and when they finally let me eat, I had tuna sandwiches and a packet ready salted crisps. I don’t like salt But I ate them. And they were the best tuna sandwiches I have ever tasted. 🙂

  8. wow that must have been really hard. My youngest is a really fussy eater and skiiny so i worry about himbut this makes me think as i have been strict with him. I am glad you have no food issues now x

  9. I never much liked eating, still don’t. I used to say…give me a pill with all the nutrients needed to swallow instead of food. Eating seemed like wasting time. I’m still not a big eater. But I love a good bowl of chili con carne. And Haagen Dazs ice cream.

  10. Dearest Lucile,

    It’s amazing how from a prompt that asked about a favorite or memorable meal, you were able to go deep within you and share with us your feelings about your family, your health and your relationship with food. Thank you for this candid and honest recollection of your youth — it was such a vivid description…I could imagine being at the table with you —
    Thank you again for opening up to us…
    Much love,
    *Lia

    • Dearest Lia,
      I must say that I don’t like to open up so much here. I never intending to make blogging a personal journal.
      However, if the course challenges me to do so, I know how far I can go.
      I only did so because of my followers being people, who like you, are respectful and considerate.
      I’m not afraid to share that part of my life with you and am grateful for your support and acceptance.
      Much love.
      Lucile

  11. Love that. My father was authoritarian too. I was afraid of him. I would never have challenged him with questions. When he’d query me, I couldn’t answer except to say, “I don’t know.” I thought all kids were scared of their fathers and was amazed when they talked about loving them.

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