Saturday, August 26, 2006
Bye-bye Chef Boyardee
Growing up, I had stretches of time when I was a latchkey kid. During the summers it was up to me to figure out what to feed my younger sisters and myself, but because I didn’t know how to cook I relied heavily on Chef Boyardee. He continued to be my old dependable source of nourishment when I lived at the campus apartments and early in my marriage. Costco bought cans use to fill our shelves. Empty cans use to litter the top of the kitchen counter and table, spilling residue onto the tile and staining our bowls. Although he was replaced with other convenient forms of nourishment (Ramen, Hamburger Helper, etc.), I always knew that I would come back to him eventually. Recently, my in-laws gave us two cans of Spaghetti-O’s. Now I know they’re not Chef Boyardee, but to me they are of the same class--pasta in a can. Memories of childhood flooded back. I remembered the sweet, tangy taste of the sauce and how the pasta and meat melted in my mouth. And I wanted to have some. However the experience of eating it was not what I expected... Have you ever watched an old cartoon or movie that you saw when you were a kid that you remember absolutely adoring, recalling all the wonderful parts with affection, but when you finally see it again as an adult, it wasn’t as good as you thought? Well that’s what happened to me. It was exactly the way I remembered but not. I noticed details in the flavour and texture that I haven’t noticed before, a grimy residue aftertaste of food over-preserved. I then remembered that as a child, I had gotten tired of Chef Boyardee and that after a while I felt polluted by it. I didn't finish it. So much has happened since I last had pasta from a can. I learned to cook. I don’t need him anymore. And maybe like other things from childhood, Chef Boyardee can be left behind.
I fear no one’s opinion! I am knowledgeable, focused, and efficient. I make this priority and build from experience. I do this for my children and myself. Supported by love, I will persevere.