Wienies and Cheese For Lunch!: A Collage of Cuisine and Childhood

Food anecdotes, dinner stories, and eating narratives growing up Irish-Italian in Amish Country.


My sister Margaret gradually got bigger length-wise but stayed the same horizontally such that she stretched out nicely into an average sized little girl. Her girth was now the only thing normal about her, for those minor personality tweaks we noticed when she was a baby now were full-blown eccentricities. She developed obsessions with certain specific foods, refusing to eat anything but the food in question even if doing was making her sick. . "A picky eater," clucked other moms to Elaine. "She'll grow out of it." But they didn't understand Margaret wasn't just any other four-year-old who strongly preferred macaroni and cheese to green vegetables. Her resolve was that of a monk who had taken a vow of silence; nothing, not even offerings of hot dogs, grilled cheese, and bottomless bowls of ice cream could distract her from her chosen food. Three weeks straight, for example, she ate dried prunes for every meal and suffering predictable consequences three to four times a day. Our pediatrician advised Elaine to tell Margaret that prunes were no longer available at the supermarket, and though Elaine also didn't think it was healthy or convenient to be emptying one's bowels so often, she resisted lying to Margaret, who was sure to sense she was being fed a contrived excuse. You see, in a dark way it was enjoyable for Elaine and the rest of us to see just how much of one type of food monomaniacal Margaret could consume. And there were certainly worse foods with which she could be obsessed, like eggs, which she later took to eating by the dozen daily until her cholesterol roses to levels usually seen in sixty-year-old mid-western truckers.  

Grocery List Anthropological Study

In the age of digital media, the (hand) written word is used less and less, yet there remains an attachment to the self-penned shopping list. This study seeks to examine the cultural, socioeconomic, and culinary implications of the hand-written grocery list using a series of samples collected from various Houston supermarkets.