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can we really blame eating habits on parents?

I don't eat meat, but when I did I liked it lightly cooked.
When we went out as a family when I was a a kid I liked my steak blue. If I could have had it raw I think I would have taken the option. But none of my family ate very rare meat,
If I ate a boiled egg I wanted it hard boiled. No-one in my immediate family ate eggs hard boiled.

So - what's with the 'everyone eats steak well done cos they were raised that way' etc stuff. Do people not have an opinion of their own?

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  1. I have 3 sisters, and though we have a few family favorites, we all have very different tastes in food. Some of us will eat anything, and others are picky eaters.
    My two sons, who are in their 20's, also have very different tastes in food. One eats everything, like me, and one won't touch fish or certain vegetables, or anything pureed. Who knows where that came from?
    Of course we are ALL very opinionated people, so maybe that's just a character trait.

    I have lived in several states from one end of the country to the other, landing 10 years ago in rural Georgia. I tell you what, they do eat the way they were raised here in the South! Beans and greens, cooked forever. Best biscuits on the planet. Mac and cheese with eggs in it.
    I found out that a 'veggie plate' in the Midwest, where I spent most of my life, is a whole different animal than the veggie plate in Georgia. To me, a veggie plate was raw carrots, broccoli, celery, etc. with some kind of dip in the middle.
    Here it's a big mess o'greens, some pintos, squash casserole - and guess what! macaroni and cheese is a vegetable here. (too bad I can't convince Weight Watchers of that)

    It's all in where you were raised, as much as how you were raised.

    31 Replies
    1. re: jmcarthur8

      Your family didn't eat very rare meat ? They seem quite normal to me.

      1. re: SteveRB

        My family cooked the heck out of cheap beef, and I am a "rare," to "med-rare" guy, with only the best cuts. Thinking back to those poor burnt, cheap steaks, I cringe now. Still, my parents enjoyed them, so who am I to diss their choices? Brother (13 years my junior) followed the parents, but I separated much more.


      2. re: jmcarthur8

        "and guess what! macaroni and cheese is a vegetable here. (too bad I can't convince Weight Watchers of that) "

        I know, this really cracks me up. Mac and cheese is a vegetable. Goodness gracious. And pizza is a vegetable, too. Gah!

        Over the summer, I was eating at a small diner in the Midwest, for a meet-up with a friend. The main dish special (meatloaf) came with a choice of 2 vegetables. I love a good meatloaf, so was planning to order it. The side options were: corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, or, yes, mac and cheese. Yep, a grain, a legume, a starch, and pasta. I just sat there with my mouth open for a second then said:

        "You consider those vegetables?"
        "What do you mean?", was the reply. (Forget it, I thought. Not worth the breath to explain.)
        "Well, can I just have a mixed salad instead?"
        "Sure... for a two dollar up-charge."
        "I'll just take the vegetable soup and salad instead. That soup does include things like carrots, onions, celery, squash and all, right?"
        "I'm not sure, I'll have to look on the package."
        "Okay, let's just make it a large chef's salad. Thanks."

        When it's normal to eat this way, with even simple foods being processed instead of made from scratch and things like grains and pastas being posed as vegetables, then I think kids *do* get their taste buds programmed to eat a certain way (lots of salt and sugar). So, if parents are feeding these types of things all the time, kids get addicted to it. Parents are addicted to this type of food, too, so kids are just following their lead. If you teach a kid that corn or mac and cheese or french fries are vegetables, then they won't try actual vegetables. However, if you expose your kids to a variety of healthy foods, various cooking techniques and diverse ethnic cuisines, they will find their own taste, but it will be *their* choice, not something taught to them. So, yes, I do think it's the parents.

        1. re: gardencook

          So basically they called their side choices 'vegetables' instead of 'sides'? What kind of vegetables do you expect to be offered at a restaurant serving meatloaf? Many "vegetables" are also "starches".

          1. re: julesrules

            Yes, jules, you got it....all the side dishes down here in Georgia are called vegetables. I've seen people say they just want a vegetable plate for lunch, and it usually has mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole loaded with brown sugar, squash casserole loaded with butter and bread crumbs, fried okra, fried green tomatoes, cornbread or corn pudding...
            Most of them were born vegetables, but with all the sugar and butter and frying, I'm not thinking health here.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Points up an issue from my youth. Mother loved her okra, but it came from a package, that was bought frozen. I hated it. Some years ago, we were at an inn, with a large garden. I got to taste several heirloom okras, and could not have been more surprised. Who knew that fresh okra could taste so good? I used to feel the same way about tomatoes, until Chef John Besh introduced me to REAL heirloom tomatoes. Not even close.


            1. re: julesrules

              Of course I realize there is starch in many vegetables. I just consider potatoes, in a balanced diet, not as vegetables, but as a starch. Any added benefit of potatoes is great, but I don't consider them as a serving of vegetables in my daily nutritional needs. Nor corn. And mac and cheese is just ridiculous.

              What kind of vegetables? My favorite restaurant "that serves meatloaf" near me offers: veg medley with carrots, broccoli, and squash or an asian blend that has broccoli, peppers, water chestnuts, and lima beans, roasted broccoli by itself, roasted brussel sprouts by themselves, asparagus (in season, for an up-charge), and then mashed potatoes, baked white or sweet potato, and yes, corn. I think at a minimum, one can expect at least one actual "botanical" vegetable available, whether it is called a "side" or a "vegetable". I just think it's funny that the menu stated, "Two vegetables included".

              It's not a big deal for those of us here, but there are a lot of people out there who do not think it through, both children and adults, and they think, "Hey, I had two servings of vegetables that came with my meatloaf lunch, I had my RDA of veg," when they actually had mac and cheese and corn. Call it "truth in advertising", I don't know, but it does bother me a little bit because it conditions people's attitude about how they approach food. The only way we're going to move America out of this obesity/diabetes/heart disease crisis is through education. I think it starts by calling a spade a spade... not calling mac and cheese a "vegetable", making sure people realize that corn is a grain and that it should be considered the same as rice or bulghur wheat or quinoa, etc.

              1. re: gardencook

                My mom was in the hospital recently and was ordering dinner. I asked her to order a vegetable with her meal, and so she ordered a baked potato. Huh.

            2. re: gardencook

              I think most people consider corn and green beans "vegetables" even if they are botanically something different.

              1. re: gardencook

                The pizza = vegetable thing was totally unknown. Back in my youth, it was considered "ethnic food," and was wonderously exotic. Heck, just the fumes from the colored candles in the fiaschi Chianti bottles was exotic, and I can still recall the aroma.

                That is the stuff that growing up in Mississippi can do for one.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  "Roughly 1 in 3 adult Americans is now obese. And ground zero for the nation's obesity battle is Mississippi — where 44 percent of kids are either overweight or obese. And 7 of 10 adults in the state are either overweight or obese."


                  1. re: Rmis32

                    I have not lived there in 40 years, so it is not my fault. Maybe point the finger at someone else?


              2. re: jmcarthur8

                Now, I am from Mississippi, where macaroni and cheese IS a vegetable, as is rice and gravy! Now, we DID have salads, and plenty of various greens, but mac-n-cheese was the base of our food pyramid, and then the major part, above, was rice and gravy.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    I wish I had a like button for this post :-)

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      LOL [Grin]

                      My poor, long-suffering wife (was going to be a nutritionist, before she decided to run hospitals), feels that I am still "warped," and after all these years.

                      I did the cooking the other night, as she was flying back from somewhere. I did a lovely beef tenderloin, a baked potato, some rice with a great beef gravy, and then mac-n-cheese. She just rolled her eyes at me. Now, I DID have a nice salad with fresh greens, with tons of Gorgonzola, and then a creamy bleu cheese dressing...


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Oh my. I thought my family was carb-centric, since we always had bread on the table in addition to potatoes/rice/noodles. You've got us beat, big-time.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          Obviously, you were NOT raised in Mississippi!!!!

                          Let's just say that they have their own "Food Pyramid."Starch, starch and then cheese on one of the starches! [Grin]


                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            I'm curious. Do you think that this diet produced people who were less healthy /more overweight than other Americans? Or did most folks get enough exercise in their daily lives that caloric intake didn't matter? (BTW, I love rice and gravy, but don't encounter it anywhere; have to make it myself. My mom and dad lived in a boardinghouse in Mississippi after WWII, when Dad was an instructor pilot. The lady proprietor taught Mom to make : biscuits, grits, fried chicken, collards, and rice and gravy. I wish I knew her name, because she passed her knowledge on to me.)

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              When these diets originated, yes, people worked -- the hard physical labor of an agrarian society -- from kin to caint (from before you kin see the sun til you caint see it no more) -- and in the South, the days are long, so that's a LOT of work.

                              They needed a lot of fuel to get through the day.

                              Historically, as well the majority of the folks in the South didn't have a whole lot of money for meat -- so the vegetables they raised and starch was all they had to work with.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                I believe there are several things that contributed to this sort of diet, which diet I don't believe is limited to the South. A lot of this sort of cooking I consider to be a kind of country cooking, although you might not encounter it in the far North.

                                If you had any money at all in the South, you had a black lady cooking for you. I imagine the spread of cooking styles had something to do with the ladies moving around in different kitchens, cooking for families.

                                For families who were not affluent, like my direct ancestors, carbs were cheap forms of energy. And yes, the men worked in the fields, oil fields, or mills. The women kept gardens (and so did some of the men) and preserved their garden fruits. The kids worked in the garden, cotton fields, or got odd jobs as they could. Cheap energy in the form of carbs powered their lives.

                                My father was born in the hill country of Arkansas. I once asked him what his family ate during the winter when there was no garden produce, and he said dried beans and cornbread.

                                Mr. Sueatmo's family is from rural IN, and he is very familiar with the same style of cooking. I don't know how certain things spread around, but apparently they did. As my family became more educated and suburbanized, the emphasis on starches did fall away somewhat. But a good starch is still comfort food to me.

                                And, my mother's seldom made any macaroni or noodle dish. But she adored Spanish Rice.

                                1. re: sueatmo

                                  the conversation was revolving around Bill Hunt, who grew up in Mississippi, so my comment was targeted on the South.

                                  But in the north, the days weren't as long, but the winters were long and cold -- and it takes extra fuel to keep warm when you don't have central heat.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    Yes, and a high starch diet seems to be pretty widespread, at least for earlier generations.

                              2. re: pikawicca

                                I do not know. Of all of my childhood friends, only one was even slightly overweight. It was not until I discovered foie gras, and Sauternes, that I began to go up in trouser size.

                                Now, I have no idea what the health situation would be, as I have only seen one of those friends, over the last 40 years.

                                I just cannot say.

                                As for the time in MS, was that Key Field, Gulfport Field, or Keesler Fiels? The latter two were on the Gulf Coast, and the former was in Meridian. All three were WWII flight-training facilities.


                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    Got you. Almost exactly 13 miles from where I grew up. Mother was at Gulfport Field, and father did flight training at Key, but then both were Civil Service at Keesler, but after WW II. Mother installed and set up one of the first UNIVAC computers in the US at Keesler.


                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      Had lunch today with a displaced Southerner, and we had a long conversation about rice and gravy. Very strange that the rest of the country doesn't get this at all.

                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        My wife is from New Orleans, just a few miles away, and actually much closer to a rice-producing area, and she (plus her family), is not a big fan. Now, she has eaten grits (or a variation) around the globe, so she's not all bad... [Grin]


                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                          Grits are wonderful, but rice and gravy are holy.

                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            I could not agree more - though it DOES depend on the gravy!


                  2. The exception proves the rule.

                    But seriously, it is generally (stress "generally") true that young children follow the lead of their parents or mentors.

                    While that my not be true for you, it certainly doesn't disprove the notion that parents influence how and what their children eat ("blame" is really the wrong word here).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I must be the exception, I can recall my mother telling me that bleu cheese was something that I would never like - she was very wrong.; Same for white bread, which I still cannot stand. I used to sneak Roman Meal bread into the A&P shopping cart, as I loved it. She kept telling me that "brown bread" was what poor people ate, and "white bread" was more fitting for us. Since I did not grow up during the Great Depression, I could not relate, but knew what I liked. It was exactly the same for most other cheeses, in that I liked the "odd" ones, and turned my nose up at anything marked "American cheese." I still feel that way, and seek out imported cheeses, at my advanced age.

                      Yeah, guess that I am the exception. While my parents' food did sustain life, it left a lot to be desired, and with but a very few exceptions, I would never embrace almost any dish, that they loved.


                    2. I think kids naturally follow the lead of the parents in many aspects with respect to food and food choices. After all, they aren't doing the cooking. Then they reach a certain age where their personalities and preferences perhaps can become expressed more freely. Of course, some foods taste better to some people than it does to others and that can be expressed early on (try feeding a baby something they don't like LOL...good luck with it!) Adults can make choices, and often do, but old habits and patterns do die hard. Look at both threads on CH that involve "stuff you grew up with and miss" and "stuff my mom made that I hate". Our eating habits as youngsters/adults can be influenced by peer pressure, social group, economic group and personal choice. So while one may have been "raised on X", a person may choose "Y" either due to tastebud preference, desire to make a personal stand so to speak, or because they just want to.
                      I've never really heard anyone blame their tastes on their parents, as in "I'll only eat X because that's what I grew up with". Now the number on the scale? That is OFTEN blamed on the parents, with usually little to no recognition of the role of personal choice in lifestyle, as in "its not my fault, I was taught to clean my plate", or "its not my fault, I was raised on junk food"....just thinking out loud so to speak... :)

                      1. Yes and no. Offhand, I think general enjoyment of food (eat-to-live types vs picky eaters vs search-out-the-best types vs people who eat whatever's in front of em and love it) and some basic taste preferences are out of a parent's control. Many people have stories of siblings who have different preferences and outlooks toward food, despite being raised in the same environment.

                        But parents can control what a child is exposed to, which certainly does have some effect on preferences - you'll rarely meet an Indian person who claims to hate Indian food. Also, parents probably have an effect on the degree to which their offspring think others should go out of their way to indulge their preferences while cooking for em.

                        Your steak example was telling because though the rest of your family preferred more well done steaks, rare steak was still at least an option for you. If your family had reacted to your preference of rare steak with disgust and/or refusal, you might have a different preference now. Of course, you might still have come around to liking rare steak in your adulthood, but it would have been more of a hurdle. There are places where chicken is served rare - even adventurous American eaters would often have a hard time adjusting to that as adults who have always viewed undercooked chicken as disgusting and dangerous.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          My eating habits were not reacted to with 'disgust' - but I WAS made fun of relentlessly for eating differently. I guess my liking for food was stronger than my desire to fit in!

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            Agreed yes and no. I exposed my kids to a wide range of foods and cuisines and I have two of the most picky eaters. There's still hope. They are both in their early to mid 20s and so there is time for their taste to cultivate further.

                          2. Yes and no.

                            Of course, children are never exactly same as their parents, but that is really a moot point. My current eating habit is not exactly same as that of 1 years ago...

                            If you look at it objectively, then you will find there are more similarities than differences between parents and children. You should look at the big picture, not just the small differences. If a child is raised in an Japanese household and has been eating Japanese food for 15 years, then he may not prefer the exact Japanese foods as his parents, but he certainly has acquired a taste for Japanese cuisine. This is the same for Chinese, Indian, Mexicans...etc. This is the reason why we have Chinese supermarkets, Indian/Pakistan supermarkets...etc -- because a Chinese who ate Chinese in his/her childhood still prefer this food even though he may have been living in US for 20+ years. In fact, he/she could be a second or even a third generation Chinese-American, and still prefer Chinese style foods because the parental impact is that powerful.

                            How many Chinese you know hate Chinese foods? Almost all of my Chinese colleagues eat Chinese style foods at home. They certainly don't have to. In fact, it would be easier on them to do otherwise, but they don't. On the other hand, I know a few (very few) Chinese who were adopted and bought up in a Western household. Guess what? They don't cook Chinese food on a regular basis.

                            To answer your specific question, of course people can have their own opinions, and we don't eat exactly the same as our parents, but let's not underestimate their influence. Like you, I eat my meat more rare than my parents. I also cook my vegetables on the more crisper side, while my mom like the tender side, but these are small differences in the big picture. When I look closely what I have cooked in the last year, more than half of them are foods which I had when I was a kid.

                            At the end, parents have a great influence of their offspring.

                            So while you don't eat exactly the same as your parents, I am willing to guess that you eat a lot more like your parents than a random couples.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              good point, I DO cook other stuff but more often than not it's similar to theirs, just umm mine (and similar is a very key and vague word).

                              1. re: hill food

                                Same here, hill. I cook differently than my mom, but mostly similar to hers. It is like I try to improve upon her versions, but I am still cooking many of the same style of foods.

                                The parent-child relation is indeed a strange one indeed, isn't it? (not just about food)

                            2. "Do people not have an opinion of their own?"

                              Yes. And no.

                              Food choices, as with a number of other of life's choices, are influenced both by the family cuture in which we are raised and live, and the influences from outside the family.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Harters

                                Yes, it's the whole nature vs nurture argument.

                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                  :) Except your parents got a whole lot of control for both (nature and nurture).

                                  Your genetic makeup is much more closely resemble your parents than almost anyone

                                  Your parents likely to have much greater nurture impact on you than almost anyone.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Yes, but the argument of heredity vs. environment rages on in many other fields -- not just about food.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      :) You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy.....

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I agree, but is very difficult to do a control. Is it environment, or heredity? Tough question.

                                        Does the youth naturally rebel, based on their relationship to the parents, or have they made personal choices, bases on their personal tastes?

                                        Until we have labs of humans, and can do a real control, we can only offer an educated speculation on cause vs effect.

                                        I can only relate to my personal experiences, and then try to decipher those, based on history, plus personal preferences.


                                2. My parents had very different likes and dislikes when it came to food. My father grew up poor, German in St. Louis, so they ate organ meats, pork, cabbage and considered duck/goose and lamb (mutton) wonderful treats--and he liked his beef rare. My mother was raised in a middle-class English, New England family and, like her mother, didn't like organ meats, cabbage, duck or lamb and liked her beef well done The only thing they both loved was shellfish raw and cooked. She did the cooking so it was generally her choices; my father ordered the other items when he ate out. My brother would eat anything, my older sister adopted the same tastes as my mother (except for raw clams) and I was a very picky eater as a child but now eat most things including duck, lamb and raw clams. Just because someone adapts the same eating habits as their family doesn't mean they don't have their own opinion, it just turns out to be what they like.

                                  1. My friend Vinny: " I don't like chicken"
                                    Me: "everyone likes chicken. Why don't you like chicken?"
                                    Vinny: "I just don't"
                                    Me: "You don't like the taste?"
                                    Vinny: "My father didn't like chicken!"
                                    Me: "Your mother never made chicken?"
                                    Vinny: "No!"
                                    Me: "Have you ever had chicken?"
                                    Vinny: "No, my father didn't like chicken!"

                                    1. I work out and try to eat healthy, but love my cheeseburgers and fries, on occasion. My husband is the opposite. Meat and potatoes guy, and sometimes I come down in the morning to find evidence of bad snacking. :-) However, my 5 year old has a mix of our likes and dislikes. I feel this is simply his observing our habits. He eats very well for a kid his age, when we go to the grocery store I let him choose the veggies for the week and he chooses broccoli, carrots, and spinach mostly - I do try to teach him about healthy food. When he gets home from school he asks for an apple. However, he asks for dessert every night. One funny note: I do not like chocolate, he does not either. My husband says I ruined him for life, and people think we are weird.. To wrap up, I do believe it is mostly what you are around, and a bit of personal taste. Maybe there is no true answer but you try to teach your kids and hope for the best.

                                      1. Peg,

                                        I can only comment on personal observations.

                                        My parents liked beef steaks, but did not care about the quality - I do, and greatly.

                                        My parents liked frozen veggies (Bird's Eye had just gotten started), and I hate them, choosing fresh. Many that I experienced in the younger days, were horrible, and it was not until many decades later, that I discovered some of those fresh, and realized what I had missed.

                                        My parents ate a lot of canned veggies, and I hated most. See above on fresh.

                                        Many other dishes, that parents loved, I never warmed to, and still have not.

                                        Now, there ARE some items, that they exposed me to, that I still love today. Thinking about trout almondine, fried catfish, fried frog's legs and several other dishes here. OTOH, and in the same general vein of some of those, I never learned to enjoy stuffed flounders, or crabs, while both parents loved them. I want either the fried, broiled or sauteed versions, without the stuffings. Same for cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving. I have had some great pecan stuffings, but they are not even close.

                                        So, guess that I must say - it depends. Mostly "no," but with some exceptions.

                                        Sorry that I do not have a definitive answer for your question.


                                        1. One thing I never got is the trend of going to a fast food place for meals several times a week. A generation 'raised' on fast food. When did this become acceptable? Who decided it was ok? It's mind- boggling.

                                          When I was growing up, we went to a fast food place AS A TREAT.

                                          28 Replies
                                          1. re: pdxgastro

                                            oh yeah - it was seldom, it was exciting! can you imagine some kids thinking that today?

                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                              "When I was growing up, we went to a fast food place AS A TREAT."

                                              Man, you and I are probably from the same generation then.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  Us, too -- and now fast food is a last resort, by the willing choice of our offspring.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    same here, even though *I* did not regard it as a treat, haha

                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                        nope, far from it. We had it infrequently enough (about once a month) that my sisters thought it was a treat, but I hated it.

                                                      2. re: kubasd23

                                                        Ditto. In my small town, there was only one "fast-food" place, anyway, until after I left for college, when McD's came in. The sole fast-food place was Long John Silver's and I can still remember the grease coating my tongue from that food. It always did give me an upset stomach and pretty much turned me off of fast food for life. We ate it about once a month. It was actually considered "too expensive" to eat more often, believe it or not.

                                                        So, while fast food was considered a treat 35-40 years ago where I lived, it's not a treat for us now and we don't eat fast food - dh grew up in Europe in the 50's and 60's where it just didn't exist, so he never became accustomed to it and as I said, it just doesn't sit well with me. Now that our kiddo is old enough to make her own decisions, she chooses not to, as well. She's had plenty of opportunity to eat fast food when with friends and on group outings (such as girl scouts). She says the smell is not appetizing and doesn't care to try it. She knows that the same foods that are served fast can be found of a better quality in an actual restaurant. We don't forbid fast food and have sent along cash for these outings in case she wants to eat it, but ultimately it's her choice now. I suppose you could "blame" it on us because when she was little we never ate fast food with her, so she's never wanted to try it. She has an amazing range of tastes, though, and is not picky at all, so exposing her to a variety of ethnic cuisines and cooking methods seems to have paid off. I'm not sad that she doesn't eat fast food. I would be sad if she didn't like Indian or Greek or good shellfish or sushi, etc. So again, yeah, I think parental influence is strong.

                                                      3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        I have you beat. There was no fast food in my life until I was out of elementary school. I remember eating at my first McDonalds up on North Lindbergh in St. Louis County. This might have been the early sixties. I also remember Village Inn and I thought their pizza was divine.

                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                          sue - Lindbergh near the airport, taking it to go so you could park in that one lot on Banshee road to watch the airplanes take off while munching the fries cooked in tallow? good times.

                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                            Well, yes on the watching the planes, although I didn't do that often. We did wander around the airport a couple ot times, although I don't know why. As I recall, kids riding in cars needed some place to go, and the airport was always open. I'd forgotten about Banshee Rod. You do know why the road was named Banshee, right?

                                                            After I wrote that note I remembered that I've had Steak and Shake meals and there was a Chuck a Burger on St. Charles Rock Road, and there was cruising. So, even though fast food was not even a small part of my total diet, it was available and I did partake. But the first McDonalds I can remember visiting was on N. Lindbergh land it had to have been in the very early sixties.

                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                              was Banshee a fighter plane? somehow it all tasted better at twilight with planes soaring across the field and hippies getting stoned in cars next to us. I'm sure my parents didn't pick up on what was going on. very exciting for an 8 YO.

                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                Yes! It was. Fifties vintage, I believe. This sounds like a good memory. Interesting how cheap entertainment is often the best for families. When I watched planes, it was with a pack of kids. And an order of MCD's fries was cheap and fun to eat and share.

                                                      4. re: pdxgastro

                                                        Now, what is considered "fast food," had not even been envisioned, in my youth. No such thing. Fast food did not appear, before I was in my early teens.

                                                        Maybe that is why I relate to a "dinner table," rather than something else, in this thread.


                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          "Fast food did not appear, before I was in my early teens"

                                                          That only means you don't belong to our generation. :D

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            Actually, it means a lot more. Before fast food, eating out was a treat for most people, and they chose from a range of local restaurants which served real food. Sorry that you feel that your generation is identified with crap food.

                                                            Saturday night.

                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                              "Sorry that you feel that your generation is identified with crap food."

                                                              That is certainly not what I said or I think....

                                                              Bill said fast food didn't appear before his teen years. Fast food has appeared during my childhood. So this means Bill and I are of different generations. It does not mean my generation is identified with crap foods.

                                                              Let me give you another example, electric cars did not appear when I was a kid, but they have for the later generatiosn. Does it mean this generation is more energy conserved than previous generation? I don't think so (not from a energy-per-capital view).

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  Heck, near the beginning of "my generation," STEAM cars were just going out of style!!!!

                                                                  I try to never denigrate a generation. They know, what they know. I grew up in seclusion, and maybe much of the rest of the US (and the World), already had things, that we did not. Still, when "fast food" arrived, my question was "Why?"


                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                    "I try to never denigrate a generation"

                                                                    I wasn't trying to make sure of your generation. It was just that originally I said to pdxgastro that he and I are of the same generation (read above). My comment to you is just a follow up. Please don't take it the wrong way. I wasn't denigrate your generation.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      "People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
                                                                      Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
                                                                      Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
                                                                      I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

                                                                      This is my generation
                                                                      This is my generation, baby

                                                                      Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
                                                                      And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
                                                                      I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
                                                                      I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation) "

                                                                      The Who - 1965

                                                                      1. re: Rmis32

                                                                        See, by the time that Pete Townsend wrote that song, I was already an "old man," so it was never quite the "anthem" to me, that it was to others.


                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        Oh no, I take no offense. On Chowhound, very few are from "my" generation, as there are not that many left. Things do change, and it is often generational. What we had, or lacked, would seem alien to most here, but that is life. What many would claim to be "ancient history" (from a culinary standpoint, or other), I easily remember as "current events." That is often how it is, when one gets older.


                                                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                                                    That was what I grew up with. Nothing was "fast," but the food was almost always good to great.


                                                                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Thank you for the welcome!

                                                                    Maybe it was my location (MS Gulf Coast), but what is considered "fast food" just did not exist. Same for any restaurant, that heated up a box of anything, even the tiny mom-n-pop places.

                                                                    I once (not THAT long ago) was in a popular tourist area, but one that should have had some "home-cooked" food. I asked our server about the "mashed potatoes," and asked if they were real. Her reply caught me off-guard, "Honey, you will not find real mashed potatoes anywhere in this valley. Nothing is real any more, so just get over it." OK, if that was how it was, but I still pined.


                                                                2. re: pdxgastro

                                                                  Goodness yes! (Fast food as a treat)

                                                                  I can remember in middle school and high school I played sports. The BIGGEST DEAL EVER was when we played away games far enough from our school that the coaches allowed us to stop at McDonald's on the way home. We would look forward to it for weeks and spend the entire bus ride discussing what we would order.

                                                                  I grew up in a very rural area, the closest fast food was a more than 30 minute drive so geography restricted access as much as anything but also, most families that I knew simply would not have spent money on convenience food of any sort.

                                                                  I have a 6yo son and my mom does take him to McD once in a while. He considers it to be a big treat. Happy Meals delight him to no end. He is enchanted with the packaging as much as the toys.

                                                                  OT - just let me say that the concept of the Happy Meal is pure marketing gold. My son watches almost no tv. What he does watch isn't geared towards kids so he has had very little exposure to marketing. All it took was one happy meal for the McDs brand and signage to be burned into his little brain.

                                                                  1. re: cleobeach

                                                                    this is why, although they were selling hello kittys in the happy meal, I chose the plain cheeseburger instead for my 3yo when we were on a road trip. i got the same. unfortunately they were stale. i feel for you, I would not let my in-laws take her to McD's like that, but they do think I'm way too uptight.

                                                                3. You pose some good "food" for thought here. I grew up in a home where my dad worked and my mother stayed home. We always had three well-balanced meals. She firmly believed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and therefore, she made a hot breakfast for the five of us kids every day. We always brown-bagged it at lunchtime because our Catholic School did not have a hot cafeteria. We always had a sandwich, fruit, and a cookie or hostess something or other. Dinner was always meat, potatoes and a veg with a home-made dessert a couple of times a week. We were not allowed to snack as it would ruin our appetite. Soda was only consumed for birthday parties..no other time. If we didn't drink milk or water it was either Welch's grape juice or Hi-C and every now and then Hawian Punch.
                                                                  My mother was a wiz at a roast. To this day, I've never had a roast that could compare to my mother's--and I'm a very good cook, but her roasts ruled.
                                                                  We NEVER, EVER had our red meat well-done. It was always rare or medium rare.
                                                                  Even with my dad's crazy work schedule (He was a NYC police officer and worked rotated shifts), my mother made sure we all sat down to eat dinner together--even when he was working and not home.
                                                                  Thinking back--my mother had great eating habits set in place for us. So...what happened?
                                                                  I still love my red meat red--actually blue-red. My kids follow suit with the red meat being rare.
                                                                  My ex-husband's family had different eating habits. He had soda and chips all the time as a kid. Suffice it to say, during our marriage, there was a mix of eating habits. Soda (diet) was always in the house. More snacks were consumed. Our meal schedule was totally out of whack because of all the extra-cirricular activities and sports our kids were into when they were younger. I did make sure that they had healthier snacks though than my ex had.
                                                                  We did manage to have dinner as a family at least twice a week.
                                                                  Our lack of good eating habits when we became adults with our own families were due to scheduling and ultra busy lives. It's sad.
                                                                  Now that the kids are grown, I live for the times that they are home and I am in the kitchen cooking great feasts and we are sitting around the dining room table having great conversation and dining as an extended family.
                                                                  Kudos to my parents--my father has passed and my mother has no memory whatsoever. She doesn't even know who I am and has no idea of the fabulous job she did in ensuring we all had healthy eating habits.
                                                                  Thanks for making me remember all this!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jarona

                                                                    take comfort that you were able to extend the best of your mother's habits as best you could in this crazy modern world. (family dinner 2+ x a week? sadly that's almost unheard of in some homes)

                                                                  2. I think blaming the parents for pretty much anything is a great way of life.

                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      oh yeah, the sauce separated? Dad liked my sister more. the knife slipped and I cut myself? clearly Mom was a motivational hobbler.

                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                        My kids agree with you! -)

                                                                        But they have healthy eating habits so I don't care.

                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                          Hm-m, actually, I blame myself for most things, and feel that my parents did their best. Most of the bad choices were mine, and mine alone. Now, a very few of my good choices were also mine, or those of my lovely wife. Still, I take personal responsibility for all bad choices.


                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                            To me, the definition of a "grown-up" is someone who takes responsibility for their choices in life. When I was a kiddie, no one considered issues of sustainability or mindful animal husbandry. The choices you made in the past were based on what you knew then. Kudos to you if you've adapted to what we know now.

                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                              At my advanced age, life is little more than "adaptation."

                                                                              Back when I was a child, Hawaiian cuisine was a bad joke. In my lifetime, I have seen a group of chefs embrace the traditions, and also work with (to the point of funding some farmers) producers, to take things to a whole new level.

                                                                              Going even beyond that, walking the garden with the gleaner, the gardener and the seed historian, and then the chef, has opened my eyes greatly, plus my palate! I mean, who knew that real, fresh beets could taste so good? In my household, growing up, beets were either pickled in a jar, or a can, and tasted horrible. Then, I tasted them right out of the earth, and my impressions changed.


                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                My daughter swore that she hated zucchini until I cooked her some fresh from the farmers' market. It was an epiphany. Sadly, this is not an experience that most Americans have, so we don't eat our veggies.

                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                  I cannot complain, though the only use for the zucchini, that I have found is bread, as I was blown away, when the veggies (even okra) was fresh.


                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                    Fresh, small zucchini, sliced vertically and then fried to a golden brown in olive oil and served with a sprinkle of salt. If you don't think that is good, I have reason to wonder about your taste buds. :)

                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                        When I was a kid, we had almost all our vegetables fresh, but for some reason, my mother loved the canned zucchini w/ tomatoes. Until I was around, ohhh 11 or 12, that I hated zucchini. Then one summer weekend my grandfather served zucchini on the grill w/ a brush of balsamic vinegar on it. I about thought I died and went to heaven. To this day grilled zucchini with a bit of salt (with or without balsamic) is one of my favorite foods.

                                                                                        1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                          it's an epiphany moment when one discovers grilled vegetables isn't it? (I swath them in olive oil and kosher or sea salt before the heat and finish with balsamic vinegar)

                                                                                          the Mother usu eats her zucchini raw or boiled into mush, but now she requests it if I have the coals going.

                                                                                      2. re: escondido123

                                                                                        Have not encountered that prep. As I have had to eat some of my words (several examples in this thread), I will keep my mind open, until I have tried the dish, with fresh zucchini. Heck, I would never have thought that raw okra, right off the vine, would taste so good.



                                                                          2. There is a genetic component to food likes/dislikes based upon taste. I'm one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like soap, the same was true for my mom but not my dad and none of my siblings have the problem. Since we really can't be sure what the same food tastes like to other people, we can't know if we like or dislike the same taste. So I assume nature plays some part.

                                                                            1. I am the youngest of 5 children. They could only afford 3. Suffered from depression and morbid obesity all my life. Hundreds of thousands spent on therapy. Now functional,happy and recognize that food replaced healthy relationships. Still love to eat but refuse all contact with parents. Who else to blame as a child deprived of love and food the neighbors?

                                                                              1. This is an interesting thread. I think Peg's question is based on her personal experience. It is hard to make an accurate rule that applies to most people based on one's singular personal experience. I do admit that I have done so, but that doesn't mean my rules are correct!

                                                                                I tried to cook balanced and flavorful meals for my family, and they think of me as a good cook. My adult kids cook to a greater or lesser extent. I accept that their tastes have evolved, and that they have become more adventurous than I. I have no idea if I influenced them, but I know their dad did. I could put almost anything in front of Mr. Sueatmo, and he would eat it. He modeled accepting behavior for them, and they gave me very little problems with eating power struggles.

                                                                                I hated my mother's cooking and we fussed about it when I was an adult. She of course would never change, and of course I would always be right, so we fussed. I wish now we had not, but I learned that way to communicate with her, by her.

                                                                                I do think family behaviors influence one. You may think you are different, but you might be unaware of just how similar you are in other ways, cooking and eating included. On the other hand we do have free will. So, you can change yourself, or you can choose not to.

                                                                                1. my daughter has been cultivated on all the great food available, both in and outside of the home-now she's starting to be less open to new things as she becomes more independent. but she still has her core likes: pomegranate seeds, yoghurt, avocados, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, blue cheese, salmon and yellowtail sashimi...soo I think she's picky now because she generally won't try new things, but I'm pretty sure she eats what she does based on how hard I've worked and how intensely seriously I've pursued good food for her. I don't push but I certainly have offered her a very healthy variety since she started solid foods.
                                                                                  oh, she goes nuts for broccoli and will also eat other greens, beets, etc. If she stays "picky" forever, I'll be ok with it.

                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: fara

                                                                                    if that's 'picky' for a kid, I'd be happy with how she's turning out. you say "since she started solid foods" so I'm guessing a member of the <5 set and bet there is a lot of evolution and change ahead.

                                                                                    FFW 10 years "MOM! we're out of tamarind paste and fish sauce AGAIN! how am I supposed to make my LUNCH? and this tofu is STALE. I hate you!"

                                                                                    "you call this risotto? I'd say congee, jeez what grain rice did you USE? you're ruining my life!""

                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                      lol, yes that's my dream. i'll take it!

                                                                                    2. re: fara

                                                                                      she's starting to be less open to new things as she becomes more independent

                                                                                      My son went through a similar phase. Just keep putting stuff in front of her and she will swing back around.

                                                                                      If you are a reader - Child of Mine, Feeding with Love and Good Sense is a fantastic book. (I can't remember the author's name) The author explains how kids, because of physical and mental development, will go through phases of trying everything and eating almost nothing. I am not kidding, it completely changed the way my husband and I thought about feeding kids. We would have fallen into the mac n cheese, cooking special meals trap.

                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                        I have two kids - first kid ate everything, loved it - then at middle school age he rebelled, and turned into a fast food, frozen food junkie. He's in college now, and last night he ate hot pockets instead of the lamb chops I made for dinner. Child 2 - was picky from birth, lived on mac and cheese for a whole year I think - is 18 now, and eats everything. Hasn't met a vegetable she doesn't love. Struggled mightily with dorm food last year. I would not have predicted either one's eating habits 15 years ago.

                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                          Interesting. This is the type of thing Mr. CB and I talk about a lot - how will our son ultimately turn out?

                                                                                          I ask the following out of genuine curiousity and not to poke at your parenting/food practices - do you provide hot pockets for him? What would happen if he had no junk food choices in the house? Would he choose not to eat for that meal?

                                                                                          For reference, my DH would stock the freezer with what junk our son wanted if son threatened a hunger strike. I "think" I would not allow that stuff in the house but check back with me in 10 years!

                                                                                          I find the whole "picky" thing to be quite fasinating. My father was a war refugee who picked garbage to survive so it goes without saying that "picky" was not allowed in our house. (yes, there were other food issues)

                                                                                          My grandparents were children during the depression and later in life were baffled by seeing their friends' picky eating grandchildren. (picky was not allowed on mom's side of the family either)

                                                                                          Was there "picky" 60-70 years ago? (I am not talking about people with legit sensory or developmental issues)

                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                            I admit to enabling the hot pocket eating, by keeping them in the freezer. But if I didn't, he still wouldn't have eaten my good dinner - he would have headed out to pick up a pizza or something off of McDonald's dollar menu. Or, he wouldn't have eaten at all, which is worst of all, because it makes him really grouchy. He's 20 years old, 6'5, and 180 lbs, so he has no weight issues at all, and his BP and cholesterol are fine (for now!). I keep thinking he'll get sick of junk food, but so far, no luck. And between his work and school now, I am lucky to see him for maybe 3 meals a week. I don't know if you picked up on it, or are just intuitive, but he has other issues, too - OCD and anxiety issues, so probably his fast food thing is somehow linked. But, we can't blame the OCD etc on his poor food choices, he's been OCD since birth.

                                                                                            My opinion of picky people - I think they have always existed - I have an uncle who was raised in the 40's who hates anything with grapes, nuts, mayonnaise, or gravy on it. And my mom always mocks him at Thanksgiving, because he was like this as a child.

                                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                              And between his work and school now, I am lucky to see him for maybe 3 meals a week.
                                                                                              You know, if hot pockets were the bridge to a nice mealtime with a my child at that age, I would buy them too.

                                                                                              I made the statement about sensory or developmental problems because I know parents who have children with legit eating problems like not being able to chew or swallow many items that I am really sensitive that some people need limited diets for medical reasons.

                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                Peers can be awfully good at breaking the 'picky' & fast food habit. But then again, it depends on the peers. My niece was the *worst* eater. Then she fell into a crowd in college who loved to go to places like Indian restaurants. She either joined them or ate alone. She's a great eater now.

                                                                                          2. re: cleobeach

                                                                                            Oh, my...my son went from eating only grocery store samples from toothpicks to stealing liver pate from the appetizer table!!!

                                                                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                              thanks for the rec, but she has gone through these phases before - she may even be out of it now, not sure. Last night she turned down boxed Texas Toast at my in-laws which I have to say I was pretty (secretly) proud of.

                                                                                          3. I definitely agree that parents do have some influence on a child's eating habits....Heck, I'm 42 now and I STILL rush thru my meal & don't speak at the table - all because my dad didn't allow talking at the table & your meal had to be eaten in less than 10 minutes. Why? Who knows, but to this day, I still catch myself doing this. I also have a hard time eating brussels sprouts because my mom boiled the heck out the canned product & it was awful!! I got over the boiled canned asparagus, but can't seem to get over the brussels sprouts.

                                                                                            That being said, I guess I have to credit my parents mostly terrible cooking with inspiring me to want to learn to cook & teaching myself. I'll never forget the first thing I made (chicken w/citrus in a foil packet with SPICES!! - They didn't use ANY spices) and they looked at me like I was from Mars.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                              I know that look. I hate that look.

                                                                                              1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                My parents were (and she still is) stuck on each type of food being prepared only in one way and served only with certain other foods. Pork roast always with applesauce, fried eggplant only with sliced tomatoes, ham and beans only with cornbread, etc.

                                                                                              2. Wow. If I was a psychotherapist, I would definitely place an ad on this web page.

                                                                                                1. My eating habits are largely pretty different from my parents. They grew up in the midwest, raised me in a different state in the Midwest, a lot of the Midwestern standards, meat every dinner, pot roast on Sundays with overcooked vegetables. Very little ethnic food in the home or outside of it, because there weren't really any ethnic or fast food restaurants around. BUT what they did bequeath to me was an interest in trying new foods. I can remember my dad always encouraging us to try new foods, especially when we were on vacation in our 3- or 4-week driving trips around the U.S. My mom, while more conservative in her food tastes, went through an interest in French cooking during my early teens, so I think I learned from that about some different foods and other cooking methods.

                                                                                                  I never really liked meat much; I like it more now, but as an adult, we have some sort of meat for dinner only about one night a week. I think my parents gave up trying to get me to eat meat sometime late in my high school years; I just ate a lot of everything else.

                                                                                                  Now, with teen-aged kids of my own, we eat primarily ethnic, especially if you call Italian and Mexican ethnic. Rarely meat, seafood or fish for dinner. We eat a much bigger variety of dishes and foods than my parents, and that's what we feed our kids. I do make a few of the foods I had growing up, I would think. But what comes to mind are the special Holiday desserts that my mom made, that I make as well. But other than that, there's not much similarity in what I eat now compared to what I was raised eating.

                                                                                                  My husband's parents are Indian, and he was raised with a combination of Indian dishes and "American" food. While we occasionally make Indian food, it's not much like what his mom made, because we're too lazy (and not good enough Indian cooks) to make chapatis from scratch. He probably makes some of the American food his mom made, but only if they were dishes he likes.

                                                                                                  Our kids primarily eat what we make, though our son's a vegetarian. Their habits are ok; they don't eat junk food, because we don't have much at home (baked chips is the junkiest); we have too many treats, primarily because our daughter hoards her candy and then doesn't eat it. And they don't like fast food, so they don't tend to eat it when out with friends. So I think their habits are more like our eating habits than mine are to my parents.

                                                                                                  1. Um, I guess so I mean everything I've eaten in my life came from my parents, like how to eat things properly. I was eating chicken drumsticks with a fork and a knife the other day a my mom started to freak out for some reason. I'm just used to eating cleanly.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: mastercooker

                                                                                                      it's never wrong (capital W) to use utensils, but sometimes it is quite OK to use fingers if you wish.

                                                                                                      that's the only distinction.

                                                                                                      a drumstick with K+F? that's gotta be awkward.

                                                                                                      now eating casserole with fingers would be different.