In my family food was very important. My dad always said that all one ever needed in life to be happy was “family and good food”. For me food symbolized Love. You ate all your food because it was prepared with love and to not eat it was wasteful and hurtful.
I remember a time when my middle sister did not want to eat her cheese sandwich. My parents were always worried about her weight and not because she was too heavy. Quite the opposite. They always thought she was too thin. They tried all kinds of approaches to get her to eat more. I vividly remember one evening when she wasn’t allowed to leave the dinner table until the sandwich was consumed. I’m not sure why I sat with her but I do remember trying to coax her to eat that sandwich. She absolutely refused. In the end I think she won out but the battle was far from over. My parents were so desperate that they sent her away to a farm for a week to fatten her up ( on the advice of our family doctor ). Nothing seemed to help. I think this constant battle convinced me that I needed to eat anything put in front of me in order to be the “good daughter”.
Don’t get me wrong, my middle sister was dearly loved by my parents and at times I was jealous of the constant attention they gave her. She was always the “cute one and the needy one”. I found other ways to get attention. Early on I was given lots of responsibility; one of the downsides of being the oldest child. I learned to cook when I was 8 years old and fondly remember my very first cookbook. It was the Carnation Milk Cookbook for Kids. I’m not sure if that was the exact title but I think I made every recipe in that book. It was my go to book. Years later my sister and I figured out that she was probably lactose intolerant and that’s why she wouldn’t eat that cheese sandwich. Nobody knew about those things back then. My poor sister had to suffer through all my milk laden recipes. Years later when my sister hit her teens she seemed to overcome her intolerance for milk products and started to enjoy cheeses and whipped cream. She however remained the “skinny sister” and even today my younger sister and I call her the “skinny one”.
I can’t believe I found a picture of my favourite cookbook as a child. I did get the title wrong, as you can see. WOW!