My mom is a nut—a health nut, that is. This made childhood difficult for me, as I discovered early on that I have a distinct affinity for red dye #40, yellow #5, and partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil. This was devastating news to my poor mother, for as a product of the hippie generation, she prided herself feeding me what she liked to call a "sensible" diet.
Brown rice and tempeh were frequent guests at our dining room table, along with tofu dogs, and mystery melange à la crock pot. She finally crossed the line when I horrifically discovered a carob Easter bunny had invaded my Easter basket—the pain was almost too much to bear. I responded by turning my allowance into a charity fund which financed my gummy worm dependency—sweet relief that would slither past my lips as soon as the house lights dimmed.
My beloved Jewish grandmother also aided my cause: Granny’s kitchen housed a bonanza of smartly packaged, over-processed culinary delights—no pictures of freshly harvested vegetables and wheat fields on these packages! Piquant rounds of sliced salami geometrically placed on soft white bread offered solace to my gastronomical woes, along with marshmallow-laden breakfast cereals and cheese puff balls, which shone brilliantly like miniature orbs of sunlight from their cellophane bag.
Looking back, my mother tends to think it was the organ meats she fed me that truly “nourished” my soul and motivated me to attend the Natural Gourmet Institute. I’m not so sure chopped liver is the answer.
My mother may have known all along about the worms hidden under my covers, but she kept quiet, somehow having faith that her “sensible” diet wouldn’t just nourish my body, but my mind and spirit, too.
Having been trained as a chef in health-supportive cuisine, I now feel my body hum with pleasure after consuming a wholesome meal—a different type of vibration than what 50 lemon drops might produce. I fervently believe that our well being is directly related to what we put into our bodies—even if that means an occasional peppermint patty now and again.