I do not belong in the peanut gallery.

“Are there peanuts in this?” I’d ask.

“Are you allergic?” they’d always respond. No way could someone just not like peanuts.

Everything about it offends me: the taste, the colour, the texture, and the smell. I can’t even watch the episodes of Good Mythical Morning in which they do stuff with peanut butter. Watching Rhett and Link drink something called spider milk, I can handle, but peanut butter is too much for me.

Cover of a book titled "Mr. Peanut's Guide to Entertaining". The cover features streamers, confetti, and the Mr. Peanut character aiming his cane at the book title.

To where is Mr. Peanut’s monocle chain attached?

My parents declared me a picky eater when I was a child. Here is a list of my parents’ no-go food:

  • cilantro (Dad)
  • mint (Dad)
  • pumpkin pie (both)
  • mollusks (Mom)
  • duck (both)
  • meat pie (Dad)
  • cheesecake (Dad)
  • Fish or shrimp, if the head is still attached (Mom)
  • pickled herrings (Mom)
  • cottage cheese (Dad)
  • Beer (Dad)
  • Soy milk (both)
  • chickpeas (Mom)
  • Tofu (Mom)

All the above are foods I enjoy(ed). It wasn’t that I was a picky eater: my tastebuds just conflicted with my parents’! I didn’t have the responsibility of feeding my parents, yet I was able to remember all the things they found to be inedible.

Yet, if you were to ask my dad to name one thing I don’t eat, he’d probably be like, “…onions, maybe?” Then I’d be like, “No! What the fuck, Dad? Onions are rad.”

My mom wouldn’t respond because she no longer exists, but she loved to remind me of the time I rejected their friends’ New Year’s Day egg and crawled over to the cats’ food bowl and started snacking on moist offal.

So, as an elementary schooler, I often had PB&J lunches with the accessory banana or red apple. My parents were not inspired enough to make me a healthy lunch, but Mom was at least cute enough to include a napkin, and write a message on it.

I tolerated it at first, but after a while, I thought, “I’d rather eat the napkin.” 

So, I confessed to my parents: “Yes, I am an anomaly: I am a 7-year-old who does not like peanut butter.” Then I was an 8-year-old. Then ten. I might’ve also been a nine-year-old, but 1993 was a blur. I don’t think I knew what the word anomaly meant.

I would trade the peanut-based Halloween candy with my brother for low-tier candies like Rockets and even those shitty lollies that cut up the roof of your mouth.

On occasion, my dad would try to be nice and surprise me with a treat form the corner store: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or a Snickers bar.

The peanut, for me, symbolizes years of my parents not listening to me.

I am envious of those who longingly talk about their parents’ home-cooked meals. I don’t miss microwaved frozen vegetables or Shake N’ Bake chicken. If they wanted to get fancy, we’d have Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce. Great, I didn’t even eat my school lunch, and now I’m not going to have dinner either!

Oh well, it could’ve been worse: I could have been allergic.

 

 

Note: I’m not trying to pass off this as a real hardship. I didn’t have parents who were barely able to afford food, just parents who didn’t care if I wouldn’t eat the food they provided me.

 

 

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