Parents no longer tell children reluctant to eat a certain food “Children in China are starving.”
My generation had to suffer through guilt at not eating, because somewhere in China a child was dying from lack of food. I am actually sure ,that when I was a young child, most of the children living under the rule of Chairman Mao were fed fairly well. My mother was simply repeating what she had heard as a child. Chinese children were better fed under communist rule. Godless but rice bowls filled, parents can no longer use Chinese children to get their American children to clean their plates.
I never believed, as many of my friends did, that eating everything on my plate made some child in China say “I feel much better, I don’t think I’ll die today!” Instead, I asked, more than once, if perhaps I could just mail my meatloaf to China. My problem wasn’t clearing my plate, my problem was my mother’s meatloaf.
I ate everything else with ease. I wasn’t fond of peas, but I could eat them if they were served with mashed potatoes. Mixed all together, it’s still the only way I eat peas.
But my mother’s meatloaf had something wrong with it. I could not choke it down. The rest of the family happily ate it. My mother would point out I could eat hamburgers, so why not her meatloaf. All I know is it had things in it. She wouldn’t just mold the ground beef, she had a recipe and would add things. I remember breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, celery and various spices. Something she added looked like insect legs after baking. Something else had a real crunch, perhaps it was a bit of egg shell or perhaps it was a dead beetle.
I was once spanked for not eating the meatloaf. Actually I had been informed I WOULD eat it. I tried, and threw up right onto my dinner plate after ingesting beetle parts. Or maybe a bit of eggshell. We’ll never know for sure.
After that the family gave up. The spanking reinforced my aversion to meatloaf.
When people ask if there is anything I can not eat, I’m sure they are a bit surprised when I say “Meatloaf.” I know they really want to know if I am a vegetarian or vegan, but it’s important they know I am a non meatloafarian. I won’t eat it. My problem is memories of guilt for starving Chinese children and that spanking. I also I have never made, nor will I ever make, meatloaf.
I’m sorry China.