I got mixed signals from my parents about food. My dad was a vocal member of The Clean Plate Club. My mother was a successful dieter who employed the strategy of not finishing all the food in front of her. Eat, don’t eat, eat, don’t eat. So what did I do? I ate (junk)… and didn’t eat (healthy food); not the best compromise.
I don’t remember hearing my dad invoke the classic line about children starving somewhere in the world. But I do remember him telling us about his childhood and how as a result he did not believe in food going to waste. He had a knack for getting every piece of flesh off a chicken bone! My mother, on the other hand, taught me that if you don’t want to eat too much of a meal you should sprinkle a huge amount of salt or pepper on top to render it unpalatable.
It is interesting for me to reflect on this because while my mom was clearly the stronger influence, since I am not a plate cleaning believer, she is consistently at a healthy weight and I am not. I learned from her to throw away food so I would not be tempted. And I do. But obviously not often enough. But then again, meals have never been my major weight contributor… it is the food between them.
Now I am married to a man who, like my father, hates to see food go to waste. And like my father, he will eat what his kids leave behind so that it is not just tossed in the trash. His upbringing also led him to the clean plate club. Sometimes that works well for me because DH will finish what I don’t… Jack Sprat and his wife, between us licking the plate clean. Not that I like the idea of wasting food either… I just don’t want to eat more than I want to eat. Or should eat.
I know the perfect solution is to only put on one’s plate what one will eat. But sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. (Okay, bad analogy… my stomach is wayyyy bigger in real life.) And quite honestly, I am not the best cook so sometimes I just don’t like what is on my plate. So my mother’s daughter would toss it, but my father’s daughter and husband’s wife would eat every last bite.
What about you?