Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Warning: If you are the least bit queasy, do not read this post. I am not responsible for any deleterious effects.

The topic today has been on my mind since Christmas and New Year's. My daughter woke up on New Year's day in Paris vomiting and other things because of the rich dinner she had had the night before. What she had eaten was this wonderful pork loin that melted in your mouth. My Mom had the same thing and did not get sick. We all tasted it and it was fabulous.

The unfortunate consequence is that my daughter since then has had no appetite for beef or pork though fish sounds great to her as does a little chicken---still a month later. I just finished talking to my son in France on the phone. He was sick a couple of days after New Year's with a virus, I am certain, though it also caused vomiting and diarrhea. Since then he hasn't been able to eat ham and cheese sandwiches or crepes with ham and cheese. So, now the staples of his French diet have been removed and he is at a loss as to what to eat. This concerns me since he is skinny to begin with.

We have been busy preparing vegetarian alternatives for our daughter if we are not having fish. I have been wondering how long this will last which has caused me to reminisce. This is not the first time members of my family have been made sick by some food or were sick with a stomach virus coincidentally after eating something. In either case, that food is forever banished. Certainly, we are not the only family this happens to.

I will start from the beginning--a very good place to start. One of my earliest memories is in the basement apartment in Helena in the 50's eating at our yellow formica and metal table. My mother made oyster stew. Though 4 or 5 years old at the time, I have a clear memory of the bowl in front of me. I do not know if I slurped a bit of it or only smelled it but the next thing I knew, I vomited right into the bowl of oyster stew making quite a gigantic mess. Actually, I got in trouble for not running to the bathroom which was right there. Never again do I remember my Mom serving me oyster stew. We live in one of the primo oyster areas in the world but I still am leery of anything oyster.

My family and my husband's family hunted as I have written before. Not only did we eat every type of wild animal but no part would be wasted. Montanans were like that then. I never liked deer liver though I would eat it. My Mom thought it was funny to cook deer or elk heart on Valetine's day and always, I enjoyed that. Dave's Mom was a fabulous liver chef so he loved liver---until we were first married. As a young wife, I tried to prepare deer liver. Needless to say, my husband got so sick....yep, the vomit and diarrhea thing again. Liver--banished from this family's menu forever. My children have never even tasted liver.

When we first moved to Seattle, one of our favorite activities along with clamming and crabbing was foraging for chanterelle mushrooms in the fall. They are easily identifiable and distinguishable from harmful varieties. After 4 or 5 years of this hobby, I got deathly sick and you guessed it: vomiting and diarrhea and at the same time which was interesting. I thought I would die. Two weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant (with Lucas). The following fall I figured it must have been the pregnancy so I was willing to eat the yummy mushrooms again. Big big mistake! That hobby went out the window. Hmmm! Now that I think about it, Kaley had Chanterelle mushroom bisque on New Year's Eve.

Corn dogs! My children cannot even say it anymore. When they were both less than 9 years old, on one of our annual trips to Montana, we stayed at Big Sky. Big Sky is a resort near Bozeman at about 8000 feet. After hiking and taking ski lifts up and up, we stopped in a sandwich place for lunch and the children each had a corn dog. To this day, I do not know if it was altitude sickness or the corn dogs. But my memory is driving through the streets of Bozeman and trying to find places to pull over so my babies could upchuck into the gutter. Neither child has eaten one since. In fact, to be mean to them all I have to do to this day is say, "Corn Dog!"

You wouldn't think there would be anything wrong with Ramen noodles. And there isn't. I cannot imagine any person being caused to throw up Ramen. The last time I served Ramen noodles to my family was before Kaley's memory so Lucas must have been about 4. He had troubles with ear infections and bloody noses due to allergies in his early days. This experience was similar to my oyster stew debacle. The tender little arteries in Lucas's darling nose burst forth one day as he was eating a bowl of Ramen noodles for lunch. I almost threw up as I removed the bowl of noodles swimming in blood from the table. Neither Lucas nor I have eaten Ramen noodles since that day. And every single time I pass the packages of Ramen in the grocery store, I think about it.

And finally, my Mom and mussels do not agree with one another. She never had eaten mussels until we introduced them to her after we moved to Seattle. And to protect her dignity, I'll say not another word except......

......I think we are even now over the oyster stew.

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We had the BEST mussels at this French Bistro in Blois (Loire Valley, France, 2003)