Eating the Rainbow
As a kid, I had some unquestionably suspect food preferences. I went through a phase as a toddler where the only meat product I would eat where those canned Vienna sausages packed in gelatin. In elementary school, I always put salt on my bananas.
But most kids have weird hang-ups. One childhood friend had to apply ketchup to each individual French fry from those bright red squeeze bottles at Friendly’s. Another had carnation instant breakfast every morning of elementary school but called it “eggnog.” My own daughter loves charcuterie, grainy mustard and anything with vinegar, especially those expensive little cornichon pickles. She is always asking whether it is cocktail hour yet because she loves the fixings.
But I had one food-related habit as a kid that clearly should have been a sign of my propensity for OCD. I loved Lucky Charms and to this day, still believe them to be magically delicious. The whimsically shaped, lightly frosted oat bits are the perfect neutral backdrop for the brightly-colored, freeze dried marshmallows. I had a ritualistic manner of eating them that was quite time consuming. First, I would eat the oat pieces, one at a time. Occasionally a marshmallow would get stuck to the underside of the spoon, which needed to be removed before proceeding. When there were only the candy pieces left, I would organize them by color: pink hearts, orange stars, yellow moons, green clovers, blue diamonds and purple horseshoes. Then I would eat them in that order.
I have no idea why I did this. It didn’t make the cereal taste better and I recall it being a terribly frustrating experience. This was especially so once General Mills added the red balloons because something about that shape stuck to everything else, making my digestive segregation practices much more difficult to implement.
But I just had to do it.
Eventually, I switched to cereals that were singular in nature: Frosted Mini Wheats, Honey Nut Cheerios, Life.