As a kid growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, there was no escaping The Clean Plate Club. When I sat at the dinner table for a extraordinarily long time staring down the brussel sprouts, the liver or the lima beans on my plate, my parents were quick to remind me how lucky I was. They’d say, “Think of all the starving children in China.” Once in a while I’d mouth off and say, “Well, then, let’s mail it to them,” but that never really worked in my favor.
Then there was the dreaded bread board. Our house was built in 1956, and the kitchen came with a state-of-the-art feature – a wooden bread board that pulled out from underneath the kitchen counter top. If my brothers or I acted up at the dinner table we were punished by having to finish our dinner alone at the bread board. Mom or dad would pull it out, drag our chair and our plate over there and order us to sit down and finish our dinner. It was pretty humiliating because your back was turned to the rest of the family and you had to eat in silence by yourself. It worked and we didn’t end up there too often, but when we did we really hated it.
The rule in our house was no dessert unless you finished your dinner and, because I was an picky eater, I often found myself alone at the table long after everyone had left. The fact that we didn’t have a dog that I could sneak my brussel sprouts to made it a lot worse. Usually, I just ended up out lasting my mom and she’d let me go, albeit with no dessert.
Nowadays, I don’t have this problem and I have the body to prove it. It’s the best thing, being an adult. I can have ice cream for dinner, I never, ever have to eat anything I don’t like, and I’ll never have to eat alone at the bread board again. Hell, they don’t even make them anymore.
Written by Susan 6/21/18