Remember that “things-I-don’t-like-that-I’m supposed-to-like” post that I wrote a few weeks ago?
Well, since I wrote that I have been even more fascinated with what people don’t eat and why they don’t eat it. I realised lately that a good many people have sensory issues when it comes to food.
This weekend I spoke to an old friend. I was telling him about my favourite “sinful” breakfast (peanut butter and apricot jam on warm white toast) and then he proceeded to tell me that he doesn’t eat ANY jam. Because it reminds him of living in abject poverty as a child.
Apparently that was all they ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner sometimes (they had it on government-issued brown bread) and he’s obviously formed an association between poverty and jam.
Now I personally don’t think that jam is “poor-peoples food”. Goodness me, jam has become very posh (and super expensive) with all those fancy marmalades and so on. But I can understand why my friend (based on his particular context) would make that association.
Growing up I always thought that we were VERY poor. I think it’s because (like a typical teenager) I wanted Nikes and Levi jeans and my Mother kept saying that she didn’t have money for things like that. I remember rolling my eyes a lot and I remember her ignoring my requests to NOT have my life ruined by my lack of Nikes and Levi jeans!
Now that I’m older and I have my own home and family, I can see that we DEFINITELY were not what one would consider to be poor. We weren’t super wealthy either – my parents were just extremely smart with their money and I think that they were completely debt-free by the time I reached high school. Our needs were adequately met, there was money for all of us to study after school and they took us on two (sometimes even three) holidays every single year. We always had medical aid and they were constantly working on improving the value of our house in the suburbs. I grew up on the Cape Flats but I honestly couldn’t see or hear gangsters or gunshots or police sirens from where I stayed.
I don’t actually know what I consider to be “poor peoples food” because food nowadays is VERY VERY expensive. Also, I think it depends on your context. About 18 months ago I watched a programme on fishing permits. Some struggling fishermen from the West Coast were interviewed and they ALL complained that they were so sick and tired of eating crayfish ALL THE TIME. Now, in my world, crayfish is a very expensive delicacy. In their worlds, it obviously isn’t!
I asked my DH what he considered to be “poor people food”.
He told me that he considered things like fish heads to be poor peoples food – I had no idea that people actually made food from fish heads but many of the poorer folk on the Cape Flats make “snoek head curry” and “snoek head soup” and “snoek head stew”. Whenever I buy fish at the market then the fishmonger always asks if I want the heads. I always wondered why they asked that – now I know.
My DH can’t stand it if I make food where there is no meat/chicken – because in his world when he was growing up, there often wasn’t much meat and they used to have to go without it. I always wondered why he refused to entertain my thoughts of going vegan or doing meat-free Monday. Now I know.
I actually have a post in drafts about how I HATE food wastage which I’ll finish up and publish next week. Seriously though, every single day when I look at the levels of poverty that surround me then I realise how SUPER WEALTHY I am.
But, over to you.
Do you have any bad food memories from your childhood? Is there any food type that you have formed a negative association with because of anything that happened when you were younger?
Do you think that there is such a thing as “poor peoples food?”