It was one of those rare occasions where all the Brenner siblings were in one room. We were at the hospital awaiting word on some emergency surgery my father was having. We started trading stories about some of Dad’s antics, especially his eating habits.
I’ve mentioned before how I inherited my binge eating addiction from family, and how a lot of it came from my father. I’ve also given examples of my own binges. Last night’s conversation was about some of Dad’s more colorful efforts to down massive quantities of junk.
The discussion started with my younger brother, Brian. He’s the professional chef in the family, and I’m always awed by his ability to not only explain how to cook something, but also how to tell you the history of certain dishes and how you harvest various things, like bananas. Shira, the youngest, started that line of talk because she’s done that one. She has traveled extensively, and has done all kinds of weird but awesome things.
From there, Brian said he had a lot of great memories of Dad and food. There was the freezer full of Hostess Snowballs (the pink ones), the frozen blueberry blintzes, the bags of chocolate-covered raisins. Stacey remembered the boxes of frozen pizza and I remembered the massive trays of stuffed cabbage, which my father could down in one sitting.
Brian never cared for the stuffed cabbage. Shira said it was good with ketchup. Brian then told us about the history of ketchup.
I often lament about how I inherited the eating problems from my parents. But the insidious behaviors have their amusing side. Last night was a time to celebrate that part.
The good news: The longer we discussed Dad’s eating habits, the more grossed out I became. My food program is pretty strict today. It has to be that way for my survival. No flour. No sugar. Everything I eat goes on the scale for portion control. And I control it with a 12-Step program, just like a drunk does AA.
When discussing Dad’s eating habits makes me feel sick instead of wanting to go binge, that’s progress.
Dad will never control his eating that way. He’s not the type. That’s partly why he’s in the dire straights he’s in.
But I’m not going to cuss about that. He’s a great guy, and last night we celebrated that.