on eating like an adult

One of the things that can get Jared laughing the hardest is Baby Kelsey Storytime. These are the tales of Kelsey Bethune (formerly Kelsey Essmann) between the ages of 3-8, when I was a spazzy tomboy who had my parents wondering what-da-world-had-they-created as I rehearsed my spot-on impression of Lina Lamont, orchestrated bedtime pranks & decided that doing flips off our backyard swingset was something I could turn into a profession.

This very same (awesome) child was a picky little child. Don't judge too hard - I was a healthy eater, but just particular about what "healthy" items it was that I was eating. Everything from peanut butter to chicken noodle soup to pasta with tomato sauce was traumatic for me. Many an evening were spent sitting at the kitchen table long after the rest of the family had cleared out, staring at carrots, or meatloaf, or some other torturous food. My parents were somehow just & patient about it, all at the same time. My dad would tell me that eventually I'd grow up & like these foods - Squash, salmon, water chesnuts. With an exhaustive eye roll, I'd go back to the stare down I was having with my chicken pot pie, because Dad be cray, obvi.

This past week, I was making a really simple dinner before Jared went to class - Garden salad & TJ's goat cheese ravioli. Basic tasks: boil water, don't cut yourself while chopping veggies. (I've been put on a very short list of allowed kitchen tasks after the immersion blender episode.) As I CAREFULLY sliced my green pepper & tomatoes, I reflected on the wonder it was that I, Kelsey, was making a salad. On purpose. By choice. To EAT. I almost called my mother so she could rejoice that her work here is done.

To be clear, this isn't the first time I've made myself a salad for a meal. But it's been a process. As a child, lettuce was EW, GROSS. Salad was honestly a bad word to me. My senior year of high school, the cafeteria food went way downhill, & my lunch every day was a lettuce-less salad, comprised of ranch dressing, croutons, onions, tomato, sunflower seeds & cheddar cheese. Then I worked at Panera for four years, & after the paninis started to get old, I started eating the salads. The high calorie, loaded with cheese & dressing salads. Over the more recent years, my relationship with salad has been mostly  reduced to caesar salad, heavy on the caesar, with lettuce acting as an excuse to eat parmesan & croutons. Not really the veggie-filled, well-rounded bowl of nutrition that a salad is supposed to be - The fact that (within the last year) a garden salad with a vinegar/oil dressing has become my preference is huge.

In a lot of ways, Dad was cray. I still don't like pot pie *GASP* & I remain thoroughly convinced that carrots are developed by orcs in the fires of Mordor. I've recently tried salmon that Jared made for dinner & I'm just not a fan. (Although, am a huge fan of the chef...)

But he was mostly right, that father of mine. & with every year that passes, my children have a higher chance of receiving a well-balanced diet. Food is something that I'm only just beginning to love, & I think a lot of the reasoning for that is years spent as a dancer & soccer player, in which food was treated as a necessary evil that gives you just enough energy to get through rehearsal/practice. OR WORSE - you just didn't eat till after practice at 11:30 p.m., & then it was Taco Bell crunchwraps for daaaaays. It's like good food & I have known each other for years & are just now starting to realize that we may potentially like each other.

Jared loves food. Jared loves good food, & he knows more about healthy & good eating than anyone else I know. He's teaching me to drink beet-based juices, how to make kale chips, what foods to buy organic 100% of the time, how good fermenting can be, the powers kombucha & which fruits & veggies to eat when I feel a cold coming on. & in return, he gets ridiculous stories about Baby Kelsey for days upon days. I'm not kidding, people... Match. Made. In. Heaven.

My parents had their work cut out for them with my... sensitive palate? as a kid. But they have handed off the torch to a good, informed, hot teacher, who is successfully showing me how to eat like an adult. & there's lots of good news: I no longer consider Twizzlers to be an adequate meal. Our children have a 200% chance of inheriting their father's appreciation for every vegetable on earth. We both agree that water chesnuts have no place on our dinner table, & that the occasional crunchwrap is just fine.

So vegetables! Hurray! No vegetarian/vegan inclinations over here, though... Mostly because I love cheese to the point of having some feta buried with me. Glad that's in writing now. My work here is done.

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because lezz be frandz.