ODing as a kid

I seriously believe I OD’d (Over Did, as opposed to Over Dose) on two things as a kid. One being white rice, the other fish.

White rice was served with 99% of dinners my mom cooked. White rice was the Japanese version of a side of carbs, taking the place of bread, potatoes or stuffing, sopping up whatever leftover juices were left on our plates. I’m sure as a tot I gobbled down bowls of it, as pretty much every Asian kid does. I even remember white rice as a dessert that my dad fixed – a bowl of rice and milk, sprinkled with sugar Not that we didn’t have a “real” dessert available to us (he did own a chain of bakeries, afterall), but I think it was a form of comfort dessert to him, as he used to have that when he was a kid growing up during the depression. As simplistic as it sounds, I remember it being pretty good. But as I got older, the inner foodie in me (as much as I dislike that term), saw white rice as a bland, glutenous “filler,” serving the purpose of nothing more than to take up valuable real estate in my stomach. To me, it was akin to iceberg lettuce in a sandwich. Tasteless. Wasted space. Unnecessary.

Fish was another food I ate as a kid, but eventually disregarded. I remember eating bass that was caught during excursions to the Redondo Beach Pier, grilled catfish on camping trips, fish sticks on Friday at the school cafeteria and anchovies fried up and eaten like french fries at old school Italian restaurants. But I think it was the tuna that did me in. Tuna sandwiches were a staple in my lunch box every week. Chicken of the Sea, mixed with mayo, salt and pepper. Sometimes mustard. Sometimes relish. Although it wasn’t my favorite, it was lunch and I was hungry. But at some point during my teens, I gave up trying to like fish altogether. I think it must have coincided with the time I could actually buy my lunch at school.

I was the one Japanese who didn’t eat fish, didn’t eat rice. Go figure.

So with these two foods out of my diet for over 30 years, it’s a wonder how they have found their way back into it again, and with a vengeance. Though the food still remains the same, the delivery has changed. This in the form of sushi – vinegared rice topped with fish. I do admit my initiation back to my roots with this traditional cuisine was a slow one. First it was California rolls only, for a while. Then I graduated to unagi, where I stayed for a long time. But once I had a bite of the buttery toro (which I’m sure was sake induced), I was in love. Bring on the hamachi, maguro, saba and uni. At least once a week.

I often wonder if I’ll OD on white rice and fish again. There’s always that.

P.S.

I am hoping to apply my self-induced ODing theory to my latest addiction – Cheetos. I love Cheetos. The satisfaction of getting my fingers oranged up, digesting tons of fat and who knows what kinds of imitation cheeses, the crunch, the taste…I love love love it. I am hoping that if I eat enough bags of it, I’ll OD on them, only to pick it back up again in another 30 years.

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