Friday night we went out for sushi and Chase was painfully undecided about his order. He was definitely hungry enough for three rolls, and had already selected a crunchy spicy tuna and a California roll, but he couldn’t settle on a third choice. I offered the obvious solution: Eel avocado.
Chase was uncertain.“Do you think I’ll like it?”
I was steadfast.“Of course you will like it. It is my favorite. You are my child. Therefore, it is your favorite. When it comes to food you take after me. I like oatmeal; you like oatmeal. I believe mashed potatoes are a gift from God; so do you. I am not afraid to embrace the role of meatloaf on our family dinner table and Gefilte fish on our Seder plate; you have demonstrated equal levels of bravery in that department. You WILL like eel avocado.”
As I waxed philosophic about genetics and taste buds, Chase stared back at me with skeptical amusement. Never one to let me enjoy myself for very long when it comes to theories, he had to weigh in:Mom. I really don’t like oatmeal that much anymore. And while I do like mashed potatoes, I don’t share your love for the baked potato at all. And don’t forget about the olives.
Damn. It was true that I hadn’t seen him eat oatmeal in a few years, but he LOVED it when he was in grammar school. And I know he complains about the baked potato, but I honestly believe that he really does LOVE them,and just doesn’t realize it yet. He did, however, have me at the olives.
From the time he was a toddler, Chase loved black olives. I hated black olives. And for a while, I would joke with him that he “wasn’t my son” because of said olive loving. His response was always, “You DO like black olives, Mommy! I remember that you do!” But there is no way he could recall something like that because I don’t think I ever let one near me. Yet, in recent years, I have made some attempts to not gag on black olives to marginal degrees of success. Because, if he is my son, I shall like black olives, too.
Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea whether food preferences are hereditary. A quick Google search shows that studies have been conducted that suggest that some level of taste is genetic. I don’t think anyone has done any extensive work in the area of “eel avocado roll” or “Mom’s meatloaf.” And, of course, there is the logical argument that food preferences are the result of “nurture” not “nature.”
None of this really matters. I want my kid to share my tastes in food because such circumstances would further support the undeniable fact that my son is the product of me – and his father. But mostly me. I need that validation because as Chase gets older, he is becoming more and more his own wonderful and unique person, giving us less and less to take credit for. After years of bragging — “he gets THAT from me” – we find ourselves more often than not shrugging our shoulders and wondering where he came from. But the food connection is a life line to his DNA. A legacy of sorts. And before my husband can weigh in a suggest that this is only an “Emmy issue”, I would ask that he examine his own need for our boys to love his grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe as much as he does.
So, when given the opportunity, I’ll take credit for my son’s palate which – like mine — is neither high class nor silver nor discerning. But it links me to him, and if that is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
Chase did order the eel avocado as his third roll – and devoured it in six exact bites. Just like his mother.