Are You Going To Eat Those Frog Legs?

*First published on May 31, 2007 at  

 Having always been somewhat of a picky eater, my time spent in the kitchen whipping up fabulous meals were few and far between. When I think back on the years I spent growing up at home, the only vivid memory of me in the kitchen with my Mom helping her cook is on Sunday mornings making cinnamon rolls. Pillsbury rolls, not homemade ones. This was not because my Mom can’t make homemade cinnamon rolls, but because it was Sunday morning and we were usually in a rush to get ready for church.My first year of college at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, I lived in a dorm like most freshmen and meals were "prepared" in the dining halls. I consumed more Count Chocula, Apple Jacks, and chocolate milk that semester than any one person should ingest in their entire life. That was also the first time I remember eating a steak.

That’s a scary thought if you think about it. My first steak was a well-done hockey puck slab of beef on All You Can Eat Steak Night. My dorm mates practically broke down the door to the Dining Hall at 5:00 PM every Tuesday just to be the first in line. Since I didn’t want to look like the little dorky freshman that wasn’t as excited as they were about steak night, I raced over with them. These guys were all beef and potato, corn-fed good ‘ol boys from the panhandle of Texas. If I didn’t seem interested in a dead cow I would probably have ended up in the fountain out in front of my dorm. I would consume my normal one steak with many sides to fill me up. My friends all went back for seconds, thirds, and yes, fourths. Sometimes in the dorm bathroom on Wednesday they would have a contest to see who could leave the biggest...

Never mind. That is just too gross to type.

College was the place where I learned to try foods that were not French fries or peanut butter and jelly. I started eating salad, turkey, ham, bacon, eggs, cheese that wasn’t Velveeta, chicken, pizza with meat on it, hamburgers, and more. I was never a meat eater growing up. With the exception of hot dogs, I’m not sure when it was that I stopped eating meat, but I was definitely under the age of ten. I remember when I was a senior in high school I ate beef again for the first time. It was Taco Bell tacos smothered in hot sauce to disguise the taste. I never really liked the consistency of meat when I was a kid. I would have been a vegetarian but the just hearing the word "vegetable" made me gag a little.

Throughout the years I branched out and tried new things. When I was twenty-one I tried alligator (one bite) and a raw oyster (the only one I’ve ever had) at a restaurant here in Austin. The alligator was chewy and tough and I didn’t bother taking a second bite since the first one lasted ten minutes. The raw oyster was slimy and almost came back out. I blocked its escape attempt by putting up a saltine cracker roadblock. I never really tasted the oyster and I’m okay with that.

I also tried frog legs once. I was glad that I could do it and wanted to be polite since it was at my wife's company dinner. The next time I can say "No thank you, I’m allergic" and I won’t be lying. It’s true. I’m allergic to the taste and it makes me sick. Why anybody would eat the skinny little legs of a frog is beyond me. I equate that to eating chocolate covered beetles. It’s considered a delicacy in some countries. Those countries should try peanut M&M’s. A bag of those and I am all set. The thought of eating a bag of chocolate covered bugs makes me want to vomit in said bag.

So while I still prefer only pepperoni pizza, I’ll eat slices with various toppings every now and them. I love a good filet mignon wrapped in bacon or a nice juicy slab of brisket. I’ll grill chicken once a week. A turkey or ham sandwich makes for a delicious lunch. Pork tenderloin is one of my favorites. I’m not a vegetarian by any means even though it would probably be better for my body. I do like broccoli, green beans, corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and other veggies. Fruit is always yummy, but like many people I surely don’t eat enough.

My son is the same picky eater I was as a kid. He loved veggies and meats as a baby but now mostly eats peanut butter, chocolate milk, peanut butter, apples, peanut butter, grapes, peanut butter, and waffles or pancakes. It concerns our pediatrician some but he sure is easy to cook for. Besides, I am living proof that you can survive on a single food group as a child and blossom into an adult that eats a variety of things!

Maybe when he is in high school we can go out for tacos one night and I can give him tips on how to choke down the dining hall hockey puck steak during his freshman year in college.