Do you love your dear mother so much that you’d never admit that she’s the one responsible for all your little food phobias and quirks? That maybe your obsession with hygiene comes from when she’d obsessively clean your mouth while you were sitting in your high chair? That it’s her fault if any green-coloured food repulses you?
Of course, we’re exaggerating just a bit – blaming and criticising our mothers on the occasion of their own special holiday. But it’s useless to deny that the way our mothers fed us and our relationship with food while growing up helps shape our future eating habits. And one of the phrases a wife dreads the most is hearing her husband deem a particular dish, «Good, but my mother’s is better.»
We all know that the mother-child feeding bond begins with nursing. It’s when that bond breaks that problems can emerge. To even things out, let’s admit that our moments of serenity, of maternal warmth, of comfort and company where eating is concerned are often tied to the concept of family, of grandparents, of the wafting fragrance of homemade cake – maternal scents.
As the Belgian sociologist Leo Moulin states, «We don’t eat food, but our memories». Which means, for the most part, that what we like is what our mothers fed us.
Even the soldiers in the trenches, when they need to comfort themselves with reassuring thoughts, think about Sunday’s roast (well, first they think about their girlfriends). The magazine Psychological Science has reported an interesting study by the University of Buffalo, which demonstrates that people subjected to emotionally stressful situations found that talking about the foods their mothers cooked them helped lessen their feelings of solitude.
Mothers and children use food to communicate with one another and it becomes a way of asking for and giving attention. So mothers, take notice: if your first-born (or your partner) suddenly is no longer devouring your special spaghetti al ragu, he’s not refusing just the dish, but in some aspects, you. Ask yourself if there’s something that’s not quite right in your relationship.
Accepting or refusing food is the simplest, most effective form of getting revenge – little kids know this perfectly well, while mothers tend to forget. The majority of mothers consider cooking to be an act of love, but in some cases, food can also be used as a punishment. And of course, eating something cooked by somebody else is the greatest demonstration of trust that one person can show to another. Because through food, our mothers have brought us either to heaven or hell.
And where does your mother take you?