Another post in a series on Famous Family Sayings
My son brings back memories of when I was a teen when I see him eating a meal and an hour later being hungry again. There were times I felt like a bottomless pit when it came to food. I just couldn’t get enough. When you’re young, not only can you do extra meals, it’s almost required.
It wasn’t that we weren’t fed at my house when I was growing up. Somehow we always had plenty of food, at least as far as I can remember. It might not have been exactly what we wanted, but we never went without food on the table. In between meals, we had to ask Mom if we could have something to eat, and when we did the answer we got was usually the same: “You can have a piece of fruit, a piece of bread with butter, some saltines, or a glass of milk.” Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those choices, but I always hoping Mom would say something like, “You can have a handful of cookies, some brownies, a big piece of cake, or a big bowl of ice cream.” That never happened.
We had cookies or brownies for a snack after school sometimes, and we did have ice cream or cake for dessert after dinner sometimes, but those weren’t things we were allowed to have in that time between the after school snack and dinner, or on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. No, during those times when I was a growing boy and my stomach would rumble a half hour after eating, I could have “a piece of fruit, a piece of bread with butter, some saltines, or a glass of milk.” My older brothers also taught me to sprinkle some sugar on the bread and butter to liven it up a bit, and though the thought of eating that now gives me the shivers, it was great back then. I can imagine what nutritionists today would say about that – butter AND sugar together on a piece of white bread. Mom might get arrested for child abuse.
However, for years we got the same mantra, “You can have a piece of fruit, a piece of bread with butter, some saltines, or a glass of milk.” Throw a little peanut butter on some saltines, pair it with a glass of milk, and you have a great snack. I liked fruit, but when you’re a kid and you want some cookies or a brownie, a banana pales in comparison. Let’s face it, 99 out of 100 kids would choose cookies, brownies or cake and ice cream over apples, oranges and bananas any day. I don’t need to get a grant from the National Foundation for Eats to do a scientific study to figure that one out. None of my brothers or sisters - or me - ever said, “Yes, fruit! I love it! I’d take this over brownies any day!” That absolutely never happened. I can tell you, however, that we went through a lot of milk, bread, butter, peanut butter, saltines and fruit back then due to Mom's mantra on snacks.
Fast forward to when I had kids. When they asked for something to eat in between meals what did I tell them? They could have whatever they want? No, I told them, “You can have a piece of fruit, a piece of bread with butter, some yogurt, or a glass of milk.” Okay, so it’s not exactly the same, but it’s close enough. As for myself, I still eat a lot of fruit today and I love to have a piece of bread with butter when we make our own bread and it’s still warm, fresh out of the bread maker.
They say that old habits never die, and I think that was meant in a negative way for bad habits. However, sometimes good habits don't die either, like having "a piece of fruit, a piece of bread with butter, some saltines, or a glass of milk" for a snack. And as you can see, Famous Family Sayings never die either.