Growing up with Food

Growing up with FoodGrowing up with Food

To understand your current relationship with food, it’s helpful to think about how food fit in when you were growing up.  Back in the 1950s and 60s when I was growing up, I realize it was a time of transition food-wise. I think it’s important for us all to remember our past and revisit growing up with food.

Our family meals at home were of an English/northern European eating style. Our food was very traditional and, to be honest, not very interesting.  My mom was a fantastic baker though, and desserts were always the high point of the meal! There was some kind of meat at every dinner, and to me, meat was never appealing. Often, when I was older, I would take my portion of steak and would put it back in the pan and would cook it until it no longer resembled the meat the rest of my family was eating.  Meat, for me, was more about the corresponding condiment.  Mustard, ketchup and horse radish saved me from the flavor of the meat of the day.

My mom tried to feed us balanced meals for the time.  Protein was usually meat or chicken, while the carbohydrate was white potatoes or white rice with butter or salad dressing over it.  A vegetable, usually green beans, lima beans or peas were boiled until they were grey with all the color, texture and nutrients gone.

The crowning glory of the meal was dessert which was always amazing!  Always from scratch; no mixes allowed!  My mom could make it all; pies, cookies, cakes, puddings.  That meant lots of sugar, although things like soda, Hostess Twinkies and Cupcakes weren’t allowed.  It also meant lots of visits to the dentist and lots of cavities.

When I was little, there were no frozen TV dinners.  As I recall, they came along later, more toward my teenage years and gave my mom a much appreciated break from cooking dinner every night.  My favorite was the shrimp dinner which probably had tater tots and some kind of cobbler for dessert.  Nothing green on the plate at all though.

Looking back, growing up in the 1950s and 1960s we were on the cusp of the processed food era.  Boxes of fast, convenience dinner “helpers” were starting to emerge, and this meant we had less control over what we were eating.  Now we were at the mercy of the burgeoning processed food giants, and they had and have no mercy.  No care for our health or what their processed food is doing to our health to foster the chronic disease epidemics in our country of cancer, arthritis, obesity, depression, heart disease, diabetes and on and on…  It’s all about their profit at the cost of our health.

During the time I was growing up, dinner was still a time to be shared together at the kitchen table though, and for that, I am grateful.  The dinners we had and how we grew up with food I suspect depended to a certain extent upon our heritage and how far removed we were from our ancestors’ original homeland.  I know my husband’s first generation Italian mother cooked much more ethnically than my mother whose family had been here for many generations.  Italian cooking is more interesting that Dutch and Scottish no matter how long you have or haven’t been here…

Have you ever thought about growing up with food?  Did your parents manage your access to the latest cool food craze, or did you have unbridled access to whatever was advertised?  It’s interesting and helpful to think back and connect the dots between the food we ate growing up and our food choices now.

Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!

Cheryl A Major, CNWC

Cheryl A Major, CNWCCheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog   Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier.  Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor.  She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.

P.S.  Check out all the free recipes for great tasting healthy eating in the Recipe Section at




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