Growing up in the 70’s with a house full of siblings, money was sometimes tight. The DadCheese kept food on the table but from what I know as a mother, I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking. Did his parents feed him such horrible stuff as liver, brusselsprouts and sauerkraut as a child? Did he actually enjoy it? All parents have those odd dishes that the children roll their eyes at in secret, but can tolerate with modification. The tuna casserole that the kids pick the peas out of, the odd meatloaf or sauce that tastes better once the peppers are taken out, you get the idea. That’s standard fare in family dining rooms world-wide.
But to serve a child liver and onions is the epitome of gastronomic oblivion on a parent’s behalf. Flashback to one of several different evenings when I was a child, and you would find me and my sisters and brother sitting around the dining room table dreading what was to come. Liver. The DadCheese didn’t have the liver, no sir, he sat down with a big and juicy bacon cheeseburger while we salivated onto our plates, making them slightly more disgusting as if that were possible.
After a couple of horrid dinners, a plan was devised for future nasty dinners and I can’t believe DadCheese never caught on to us, though he didn’t buy it every time. A few minutes into the meal, our oldest SisterCheese would feign a female emergency or something that required an urgent trip to the local People’s Drug down the road and off they would go. One kid would yell “now!” while watching the car lights drive further from the house. We would scramble from the table, one kid victimizing the dog with their dinner, another flushing theirs down the toilet- praying it didn’t clog, yet another tearing theirs into pieces and throwing it out the back door.
When the female emergency story didn’t take and we were stuck sitting at the table until our plates were empty, I had a different tactic all my own. I would take little bites of that disgusting liver or putrid brussel sprouts and feign chewing movements. Then I would do the old Wipe the Mouth Trick with the napkin, spit the disgusting food into it and swiftly tear that chunk off and shove it into a little hole on the underside of our massive, beautiful antique dining room table. This went on for several years, with no one the wiser and no one cleaning out the underside of our massive, beautiful antique dining room table. When I was 13, we moved to California with the MomCheese and while we were faced with a couple questionable dishes, the food was mostly yummy and none of it required emergency visits to the local drug store.
Jump ahead to when I was 15 years old, I flew back to live with Dad & Stepmom Cheese, and lo and behold – there in the dining room sat that massive, beautiful antique dining room table. I approached it slowly at first, scared that critters dining on old bits of liver and brussel sprouts would come out of the underside, to greet me. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. I asked my dad if anyone ever cleaned out the table and told him what we used to do as kids, with all of those nasty liver dinners. He laughed until he cried. But I still don’t think he cleaned that table out. And I never sat at it again.