Around 30 years ago, I went into training as an Earth-Mother. I began to bake my own bread, make my own granola, my own yogurt. I started an herb garden and made my own teas. I bought vegetarian cookbooks and shopped at health food stores, just then becoming more popular and carrying more items. “Meat” became a dirty word in my house. My husband, whose indulgent mother had let him continue his childish eating preferences way into adulthood, hated vegetables and refused to eat them. He liked hamburger, fried chicken, wienies, jello, and ice cream. He hated my natural food regime and began eating his biggest meal at lunch, where he could go to a restaurant and have as much fat and grease and additives as he liked.
I thought he was ridiculous and was determined to prove to him that he just thought he hated vegetables – it was all in his mind, not in his mouth. One day I found a recipe for spaghetti squash casserole. The recipe said that the squash both looked and tasted like spaghetti, especially if you poured marinara sauce over it and slathered it with cheese. I made this concoction and served it for dinner one night, telling my husband and 6-year old daughter that it was spaghetti. (It was a lie for their own good, you see.)
The recipe didn’t lie in one respect – it did look like spaghetti. My husband suspected nothing and took a big bite. But he didn’t swallow; his cheeks ballooned out, his eyes got huge, and he started making gagging sounds. He leaped from the table, heading for the bathroom, making retching noises all the way. In his haste he upset the table, and tomato sauce flew in all directions – on the walls, the windows, the ceiling, my shirt, our daughter’s hair.
Although she was charmed with the drama, naturally our daughter refused to eat the spaghetti squash casserole too. And I must admit, I didn’t like it either.
Being an Earth Mother is not that easy.