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March 01, 2010


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Ronda Ballew

Green beens. The smell still makes me gag and my "incident" happened 44 years ago when I was six year old. My family (four kids, mom, dad and dog & cat) ate together every night at the dinner table. One night my mom served green been casserole, the one with the dried, fried onions. I tried to eat it but I couldn't. In my family, you HAD to eat everything on your plate. So, when dinner was finished and I hadn't eaten my green beens, they set the buzzer (on the timer) for five minutes. If I didn't eat them in five minutes, I was to get a spanking. Then the buzzer was reset to five minutes and the drill was repeated. After a few spankings, I tried as hard as I could to swallow the darn things, but I couldn't get them past my gag reflex. They would come back up and land on my plate whereupon I would have to "finish everything on my plate". I don't remember much more about that night except I remember getting caught in the bathroom with my green beens well hidden (I thought anyway) in a napkin. I was taken back to the table and the napkin was emptied onto my plate. I don't remember what happen next. I was clueless that this night would be forever burned into my memory and that I would never be able to eat green beens. No, none. Not even my brother-in-law's green beens. He makes them fresh and apparently very well - la Alice Waters at Che Panisse. Delicious, I'm sure, but not for me. It immediately brings up bad memories...the same thing happened to me around that age but with coleslaw. To this day, I can eat cooked cabbage, but the smell of raw cabbage and that dressing - awful gag reflexes still.

That is my story of bad food not shaken from memory.


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